Judged by Mireille • find her on Goodreads
Today’s pairing is a weird one: one book is a contemporary middle school story, and the other a regency fantasy YA. They do have one thing in common: an awesome friendship between two girls. Still, it is no big surprise that my personal tastes in genre influenced my choice; though I can recognize that Sorcery and Cecelia has many qualities, The School Story won my heart.
Even though I almost never read stories aimed at children, I found The School Story delightful. The description of the main character and how she learned to read was relatable to the extreme – I could just imagine reading this at that age and saying yes, that! that’s it! The caper movie adventures sprinkled throughout the story make the book a page-turner.
The School Story also has lovely family relationships – and a missing father that made me cry, an awesome teacher who’s a very positive influence on her students, and a wonderful friendship between a reader and a talker. There are double identities and “big reveals” but never stupid misunderstandings. The writing style is very simple but that’s what makes it so eminently readable. Of course, an adult needs to suspend disbelief when so many people are ecstatic over a book written by a twelve-year-old, but that would be the dream when reading it as a twelve-year-old, wouldn’t it?
I took a long time to warm up to Sorcery and Cecelia. The epistolary format makes for a meandering beginning, as Kate and Cecily trade gossip more than talk about an eventual plot. I did like how the first hint of magic is spoken of very casually – the girls aren’t particularly involved in it and find nothing out of the ordinary about a little magic here and there. The romances for both ladies were also interesting, but how both plots were resolved was a little too similar to my taste. The authors’ technique for writing this book – “the Letter game,” where you exchange letters written in-character – seems to be a fun writing exercise but it does make for a slower book.
Like Cait, I am a little scared of releasing The School Story to Round 2 – Sorcery, with its romances! sorcery! regency era!, is certainly more flashy than my simple School Story. But since it’s not even a competition in my heart, The School Story is my choice to advance, and I wish it good luck!
Congratulations to The School Story, which moves on to Round 2!