Publisher: Picadilly Press
Publication Date: February 2015
Source: Copy in exchange for honest review
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An outrageous plot of villainy starring seven brilliant young girls.
At Prickwillow Place, Disgraceful Mary Jane, Smooth Kitty and their fellow students are keeping a deadly secret.
When the headmistress of St Etheldreda's School for Young Ladies drops dead at Sunday dinner, her seven pupils agree on a clever scheme: to bury their teacher in the vegetable garden, dress up Stout Alice in her place, and educate themselves. This is tricky enough in a small Victorian community, but when the girls deduce that their teacher was poisoned - (it was the veal!) - they realise there is also a murderer on the prowl . . .
Thank you to those at Picadilly Press for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
I love love love the adorable cover of this novel! It is so cute. It's definitely one of the prettiest books I've read in a while and if you pick this book up it can add some serious book shelf candy to your shelves.
Onto the review! This book was fun, quick and a good read. I didn't love this book but I also didn't hate it. Although the book was not perfect for me, I could see this book being enjoyed by many.
The novel introduces us to a whole host of seven high spirited young girls who are attending the (insert head mistress' name here)'s finishing school for young ladies. These girls have no interest in being proper young ladies and strive to be their true independent selves. These girls are fun to read about and I loved the photo page at the beginning of the novel which shows you an illustration of what each girl looks like. Although for me, a few of the girls were extremely similar and I often confused them, a few really stood out, such as Dour Elinor, Smooth Kitty, Disgraceful Mary Jane and Stout Alice.
The novels plot was enjoyable but not wholly gripping. I found that it took me a good 120 pages to get into the novels plot and enjoy the pacing of the novel. The novels pacing is somewhat slow but that may be enjoyable to some readers who do not like fast paced novels. The antic of the characters did add to the plot and make me laugh at times but overall I found the plot to be a little unexciting and I was incredibly disappointed when the murderer was revealed that I had guessed it was them from the beginning.
The writing style was good. I enjoyed the vivid setting, the historical and period setting was really enjoyable as I love watching period drama's at home. There were moments of humor mixed with moments of suspense and all showcased Julie Berry's writing skills. There was a romantic aspect towards the end of the novel that I thought was written extremely well and showed a realistic friendship / relationship in a younger YA setting.
Overall this novel has some unusual characters that will stay in your mind, a murder mystery element and I wholly recommend it to slightly younger YA readers (13+) as an easy introduction to YA period novels and murder mystery.