Thursday, July 7, 2011

The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer

Booklist Description: "Angela Cardenas discovers that blindfolds are not the only odd things about Hidden Oak boarding school. Supposedly a last-stop chance for rehabilitating “dangerous” girls, the school has an agenda that is not necessarily what it advertises. After having their possessions and clothing taken from them and uniforms issued, the freshmen spend the first month isolated from the rest of campus. As the month draws to a close, girls start to disappear one by one. Those who are redeemable are sorted into the gold thread; the others, Angela later learns, are sorted into the purple thread and are living a “Lord of the Flies” existence with little adult intervention. In an effort to save her friends, Angela decides to be really bad in hopes of getting moved to purple thread. Teens might behave dangerously themselves to get their hands on this page-turner with its commentary on education."

My Review: I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I found it kind of weird---and not in a good way. Schrefer writes about a school with something more sinister than just the girls themselves going on...yet Angela's narrative is oddly flat and emotionless. She TALKS about having emotions, but she never really displays them; she has a face of impassiveness the whole time. The book is also very random. I never knew what was coming next, and not really in a good way. I was just kind of along for a strange, bumpy, and slightly uncoordinated ride, which made me a little irritated, because I don't like too much randomness in a book. However...on the other hand...the book DID keep me turning the pages in interest (a slightly irritated interest, but oh well...) and the cruelty and neglect of the "dangerous girls" was very realistically and creepily displayed by Schrefer. I found myself shivering at parts, wondering what I would do if I was stuck in a hellhole like that. The book also made me VERY curious to see how the book ended; it definitely raised some questions in mind, about the book and about the education system in general, so it was good in that aspect. All in all, a strange---yet strangely-compelling---read.

Cover: The cover is not much to look at. It's a basic portrait of a schoolgirl's torso---and not even a very dangerous-looking schoolgirl at that. The colors are dull and dinghy, and the font of the book is oddly gothic (at odds with the cold and realistic and modern tone of the book). The name of the book also irritates me---it's not very creative at all.

Overall Grade: C-

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