I love realistic fiction just as much as the next girl- as long as there’s not too much romance. I like reading about teens with real problems, and with sometimes even the same problems as myself. I mean, sure, just because you have bronchitis and feel like you’ll never breathe again doesn’t make you the same as Hazel Grace, but it is nice to have a level of relativity.
My read this time was a book by Brodi Ashton, one of the coauthors of My Lady Jane, a fantastic book that I reviewed earlier on the site. This book retains all of the hilarity and biting wit of Jane, if less of an ingenious plot. Its female lead wasn’t quite as amazingly likeable as Miss Jane Grey, but then again, who could possibly beat a historical figure with magical powers?
Piper Baird’s family is struggling big-time, living the simple life in Washington, D.C. Surprising everyone in the middle of October, a scholarship arrives for Piper to D.C.’s most prestigious academy, Chiswick- notorious for hosting the children of foreign dignitaries from around the world. Normally, Piper wouldn’t be so excited about going to some snooty school, but this one is special. Chiswick Academy offers the scholarship of her dreams. For previously editor-in-chief Piper, the Bennington should be easy to scoop. All she needs? The perfect story.
The perfect story, in this case, presents itself on nearly her first day. After an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction leads to a meeting with the Spanish diplomat’s son, and they journey mistakenly into a forbidden corridor (unfortunately lacking in three-headed dogs), she gets detention while he slips out of trouble. Maybe it’s unfair, but it’s the first of many similar occurrences in her new world.
Piper decides that this, the study of diplomatic immunity, will be her perfect article. She decides to go full-on Nellie Bly and immerse herself in the culture of the immune and the elite. Soon, she discovers that getting out of detention is the most mundane of the troubles that these privileged teens can get out of. Evading the law, sneaking into restricted areas, and driving twice the speed limit are just a few of the escapades that these entitled kids manage to pull off.
After a month or two, Piper has everything she needs to write the scathing exposé that will earn her the Bennington prize- but in her time at the school, she’s gotten attached to some of her subjects. What will the consequences be of spreading this story?
The overall plot of the story was somewhat predictable. I wasn’t a giant fan of the fact that the love story took the wheel halfway through, sending the infiltration-in-the-name-of-journalism thing to rest on the back burner before a snap return to the heat. What I did love, however, was the best friend character, Charlotte. She was loyal and honest to our protagonist throughout the entire book. There was never a moment of ‘I refuse to speak to you’, never a breach in being there for Piper.
Another thing I appreciated was the realistic portrayal of people on the autism spectrum. Both Piper’s little brother and the brother of a character (who shall remain nameless for the integrity of the story) have autism, and while it does not feature heavily in the plot, when it does, it is absolutely spot on.
In short: This is an entertaining read that you could take down in two hours or so of free time. The kids in this book may have diplomatic immunity, but you certainly won’t be immune to the charms of this book.