Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer

Angela is a dangerous girl. She lives the fast life, stealing money from her parents, hanging out with much older guys...and her grandfather's death...that's another horrible story. Her parents have tried everything they can, and what they discovered is Hidden Oak.

Hidden Oak is not just another prep school. It's designed specifically for dangerous girls, i.e. girls who haven't lived up to parental expectations; girls who have rebelled and continue to live a destructive lifestyle; girls who can't or wont life up to their parents social reputations; and girls who have problems, either psychological or emotional, that their parents can't handle. It's a four year school and there are two tracks for students - one is academic, the other is to fight for your life.

Angela makes it to orientation with a chip on her shoulder and plans to leave. But things don't turn out the way she thought. Stripped of all personal belongings, she realizes quickly that Hidden Oak isn't a typical school. You can't talk about what brought you here, you are pitted against other students, the facilities are moldy and falling apart, and your every move is recorded. And that's just the first month.

Angela makes it through orientation and is put into the elit gold group, but she can't quite shake the feeling of dread when it comes to the girls she met during orientation. What happened to Juin, a self-leader and big rebel, or Riley a follower and not to be trusted? She soon finds out when she is demoted into the purple faction and sees the truth for what it is....Now in a life or death situation where everyone is an enemy, Angela realizes that she must maintain her dangerousness in order to survive.

Sober, enthralling, mysterious...those are only a few words that qualify this book for YA readers. They will become engrossed in the lives of all the characters, from students to teachers, and wonder what the outcomes will be and how each girl will be impacted. Strong characterizations and situations will draw readers in, and although the ending doesn't live up to the denouement, this book will fly off shelves, and is an excellent companion book to Todd Strasser's Boot Camp.

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