Monday, 6 January 2014

Book Review: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe.


Product details:
Publisher: BenBella Books.
Hardcover, 272 pages.
Release date: January 14th 2013.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks.

One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why.

As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.



A deliciously dark debut brimming with unexpected twists and startling revelations, The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe pits unconditional love with ruthless ambition and ponders the age old question: How far would you go to save the one you love?
                                                             
When, two years after her mother’s death, Anne Merchant finds herself the new girl at Cania Christy – an exclusive boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens – she feels immediately out of place and far, far out of her comfort zone.  She also finds herself instantly crushing on Ebenezer ‘Thank God he can shorten it to Ben’ Zin, a minty-eyed hottie whose complete indifference towards Anne occasionally goes so far as to border on rude. Whatever. Anne’s not the kind of girl to get sidetracked by a boy who’ll barely give her the time of day no matter how cute he may be.  In any case, her Cania Christy schedule is far too jam-packed to spend a whole lot of time fixated on boys. Assigned a creepy (and deeply unattractive) guardian who watches her every move and assesses her every action in the race for the ‘Big V’ Anne soon realizes that Cania Christy is no ordinary boarding school. Instead, it’s one with its own particular and very peculiar set of customs and traditions. And, the ‘Big V’ – that’s the race to become valedictorian – an honor that all but one of the Cania students –Anne’s charmer-of-a-friend Pilot - would do just about anything to win.

Anne doesn’t really understand why being crowned valedictorian is so important. Hell, she doesn’t understand a whole lot at all about the mysterious ways of Cania Christy, but she does know one thing: she’ll do anything she can to be valedictorian and make her dad proud. After all, she’s no millionaire’s daughter and she knows her funeral director dad must have sacrificed a lot to win her a coveted place at Cania Christy.  But there’s something else too; something about Cania Christy that just doesn’t seem quite right.  Anne is smart and snarky, but she’s also highly inquisitive, and it’s this questioning nature that leads her to the assumption that Cania Christy is not all that it seems: something tells her that not only is this a school full of secrets, it’s also a school full of lies.

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is as ambitious as it is original and intriguing. This first book in the series has a whole lot going on, and while its myriad plot threads take a while to cohere and connect, the journey to enlightenment is a fun guessing game that throws up quite a few shocks and a whole lot of surprises.  Anne Merchant is a boarding school paranormal, yes, but in a market somewhat saturated with books of the type, it offers something different. This is not your usual paranormal fare, that’s for sure. And, I should add, that Anne herself is no typical wishy-washy paranormal heroine. In a word, she’s fierce. She’s also funny. And she can poke fun at herself too, which is always refreshing to see.

While The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant isn’t flawless, it is an entertaining read that kept me hooked from start to finish. I liked that Joanna Wiebe dared to be different with this book, and I also liked the twist right at the end that got my mind working overtime and ensured that I would return for more tales from Anne’s crazy world.

Perfect for fans of Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus and Night School by C.J. Daugherty.


Check back on Wednesday when Joanna Weibe will be visiting the blog to talk about her inspiration for The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant and you could win a copy of the book!
 

28 comments :

  1. This is on my 'books I must read' list but after reading your comparison to Night School and Shadow Hills I am now DESPERATE to read it, I love those books so I think its a given I'll like this.

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  2. The storyline is a bit different here -it's a mystery so I can't give too much away! - but I think if you enjoyed both of those books, you'll definitely have fun with this one! :)

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  3. All Our Yesterdays & The Elite are two of the ones that I see that look super good!

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  4. A few books I'm dying to read are Into the Still Blue, Ruin and Rising, Ignite Me, City of Heavenly Fire, The Winners Curse, and Lair of Dreams (off the top of my head!)

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  5. I would love to read All our yesterdays and The Elite!
    Since I barely had time to read at all last year, I am not caught on on all my series that I've started/want to start :P But I'm really excited for After the End by Amy Plum!
    What are you looking forward to in 2014? :D

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  6. Happy New year to you too! Arclight, Survive, Slide - all sounds great! And as for a preorder? I want them all! ;)

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  7. Elise-Maria Barton12 January 2014 at 21:55

    Most of the books listed are new to me, the authors as well. I'd be happy to win any one of these because I love to be surprised!

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  8. Oh my gosh, so many good books. I'm most interested in The Elite,Unbreakable, All Our Yesterdays, Slide, or Survive. I'm looking forward to Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead and Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi :)

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  9. I would love to win All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill and Arclight by Josin L. McQuee.
    Super excited for Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor, Into The Still Blue by Veronica Rossi, Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, 3rd book in The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken, After the End by Amy Plum, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski..
    Thanks for a giveaway! :)

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  10. I'm looking up the books as I go don the list.
    All Our Yesterdays - Not gonna lie, this looks amazing. *o* I really hope it doesn't disappoint, because I have high expectations for this one!
    Survive - Thought it looked really good at first glance, but after reading the reviews, not so convinced. Might look for it at a local library if I have the chance, but I don't think I'll be going out of my way to find this one (like I probably will for All Our Yesterays bc OHMYGOD it looks brilliant!)
    Dead Silence - I looked up the first one in this series, and The Body Finder looks like another good read.
    Cruel Summer - uwaaaa, I need to get my hands on this! It's up there with All Our Yesterdays; definitely want to read it asap.
    Slide - Looks awesome. Love the premise a lot.
    Finding It - Sounds like an adorable series. Might check it out soon!
    The Killing Woods - Sounds like a great read. Again, need to get my hands on this one!
    Soulmates - Haha! Got this from the library a few days ago, actually.
    Brooklyn Girls - Awh, seems like the perfect book to cuddle up with on Friday nights. I'll keep an eye out for this one.
    When You Were Mine - sounds really interesting.

    As for what books I wanna read this year... Oooh, how could I even begin with this? ^-^ I've got my heart set on re-reading all my old favourites, as well as finishing the bajillion series I've started and left hanging, and I also want to get most of the best mainstream YA under my belt. It's gonna be a busy year. :')

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  11. Vyki @ On The Shelf13 January 2014 at 21:55

    I think I would like to win All Our Yesterdays, Arclight, and Cress as my preorder (DYING for this one!). I can't even begin to tell you which books I am dying for this year. Especially the trilogy enders I am waiting for! Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  12. would absolutely LOVE to win All Our Yesterdays and Brooklyn Girlss <3 thanks so much for this awesome giveaway!

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  13. Tilly @ Hardcore Heroines16 January 2014 at 18:37

    This year I can't wait to read THe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer! It looks so awesooom :D

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  14. this, this right here is why i want to read this book:

    "The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is as ambitious as it is original and intriguing. This first book in the series has a whole lot going on, and while its myriad plot threads take a while to cohere and connect, the journey to enlightenment is a fun guessing game that throws up quite a few shocks and a whole lot of surprises. Anne Merchant is a boarding school paranormal, yes, but in a market somewhat saturated with books of the type, it offers something different. This is not your usual paranormal fare, that’s for sure. And, I should add, that Anne herself is no typical wishy-washy paranormal heroine. In a word, she’s fierce. She’s also funny. And she can poke fun at herself too, which is always refreshing to see."



    THAT is what matters to me these days--originality, great characters and good writing.


    Great review, Leanna!

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  15. Thanks, Heather! I definitely pump for originality in YA too. There are just so many books out there that don't really offer anything new. This one isn't perfect, but the author is not afraid to take risks and try something new!

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  16. I would like to read All Our Yesterdays and The Elite. The 2014 I really am looking forward to is The Crimson Campaign! ;)

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  17. omg that is a hard question....i see a lot on your list i would love to read like; All Our Yesterdays, The Elite, Unbreakable. Thoes 3 are my like top 3 i been wanting to read.

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  18. Happy New Year! I've been waiting to read All Our Yesterdays for a long time! It sounds so interesting. There are way too many books that I need to read this year. I am patiently waiting for Unhinged and Cress from my library. :)

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  19. This is an awesome giveaway! Happy New Year!

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  20. Samantha Wallace22 January 2014 at 19:53

    I would pick The Elite and it's a tough choice between Unbreakable and Dead Silence.

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  21. I've been meaning to get All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill! I've read nothing but glowiing reviews. :D

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  22. I would love to have When You Were Mine,The Elite,The Killing Woods,The Vincent Boys :D
    I'm most excited for Scream For Me and Burn For Me by Cynthia Eden :)

    All the best in the new year :)

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  23. I'm excited to read The Elite. The Selection was amazing and The One comes out later this year!

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  24. I would love All Our Yesterdays and Twinmaker or Unbreakable. Oh man this year is going to be filled with some amazing books! I can't wait for City of Heavenly Fire, The One, Ignite Me, Of Neptune, Blood of Olympus,Cress and Prince of Shadows...too name few ;)

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  25. I'd love to win Angelfall, All Our Yesterdays, and The Edge of Never. :] Thanks so much for the giveaway!!!

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  26. I hope I'll be able to get a copy of Isla and The Happily Ever After! I'm a big fan of the series.

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  27. " WOW! Bookworm Central book
    fairs
    must be WAY different than ours. The books that we get at our
    Bookworm
    Central
    Book fair quite varied & we had many positive comments
    from both faculty & parents. I can't speak for your school, but as far as
    our school is concerned, Bookworm Central prices are very comparable to other
    book fair companies. Bookworm Central has an unmatched business model in the
    book fair industry”

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'd love to try my luck for All Our Yesterdays. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete

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