Review The Académie by Susanne Dunlap
When Eliza Monroe – daughter of the future president of the United States – discovers that her mother is sending her to boarding school outside of Paris, she is devestated. But Eliza is quickly reconciled to the idea when she discovers who her fellow pupils will be: Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Josephine Bonaparte; and Caroline Bonaparte, youngest sister of the famous French general. It doesn’t take long for Eliza to figure out that the two French girls are mortal enemies – and that she’s about to get caught in the middle of their schemes.
As a fan of the journals of josephine novels, I’ve really loved reading about the finishing schools of the day and the opulence prior to and right after the French revolution and seeing these 3 privileged girls before they were women get involved in their nefarious plots as teens, and as they began to grow, change and how their experiences together may have influenced them in their later years, especially given that the general outlines of this book were true, these women did go to the same finishing school, they were friends, and they remained friends through their lives.
What I didn’t like or didn’t care for was the abundance of just crap that was piled on top of what could have been a great historical YA novel. And by crap i mean the rotating narrative, it switches person tense from character to character, the unnecessary focus on their love lives and these random unimportant boyfriends and such in the novel, the selfish nature of these girls, which while in keeping with the times, was still extraordinarily irritating and annoying, their constant narratives about the food and what they thought about parties and boys, and yet no focus on what they really knew about, and what they thought about their lives and their circumstances. The entire book was very superficial and it was unfortunate because it seemed this could have been one of those transcendental novels that really changed the way that people feel about historical characters they’ve only heard about briefly in history class.
Overall Rating: C