You guys, there are SO MANY DEALS today!
As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
Miss Mabel’s School for Girls by Katie Cross
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Blackmail Boyfriend by Chris Cannon
Brave Leadership: Unleash Your Most Confident, Powerful, and Authentic Self to Get the Results You Need by Kimberly Davis
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The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman
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The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
Maledicte by Lane Robins
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
March by Geraldine Brooks
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
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The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures foreword by Carla Hayden
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The Locksmith’s Daughter by Karen Brooks
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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Because I Was a Girl: True Stories for Girls of All Ages edited by Melissa de la Cruz
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What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
Angelfall by Susan Ee
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Bianca needs to get into Miss Mabel’s school and once she does, she also must win the yearly competition to study directly by Miss Mabel’s side. Usually only third years are allowed to compete, but a loophole allows Bianca and another underclassman to compete as well. A lot of Bianca’s classmates thinks she’s just competing to show off, but they don’t know that for Bianca this is a matter of life and death. Literally. Her grandmother was cursed when she was Bianca’s age and Bianca has inherited it. Winning the competition doesn’t guarantee Bianca’s survival, but losing would mean certain death.
I really thought this book was going to be a great cross between Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series and Kathleen Baldwin’s Stranje House series and I was really looking forward to it (love both those series’). Unfortunately this book read more like a (rough) rough draft of Harry Potter with only girls. There were so many things that were reminiscent of Harry Potter. The forbidden woods, the dining hall, the competition…just too much and not done nearly as well as Harry Potter (obviously).
That being said, I thought that the characters were alright. There were a couple that I found particularly interesting, but the requisite “mean girl” was flat, boring, and not compelling. Bianca herself also rubbed me the wrong way a few times. The main character that I felt was more than just a piece of cardboard was Miss Mabel. She was SO evil. Delightfully evil. I was kept wondering what foul thing she would do or have Bianca do next. At the same time, she had like…no purpose. Her motivations were not made clear at all so she’s basically just being evil for no reason the whole time. Towards the end of the book we get some sense of her motivations, but it doesn’t feel like they come from the person, more like they come from the situation… Does that even make sense?
The plot itself was also pretty weak. I understand Bianca’s overall plotline, but the competition feels kind of pointless and all the pages about Bianca’s struggles studying really weighed the book down. One thing it did have going for it is that there was no romance. I mean, I love romance in books (especially YA books) but it’s just so rare to read a book without even a hint of romance. Overall, I thought this book was just okay. I’m mostly just disappointed because I had such high hopes in the first place.
Overall Rating: 3
Sexual Content: None
Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.