I love a good graphic novel, and one set at a boarding school….yes please! I discovered Faith Erin Hicks when she collaborated with Rainbow Rowell on Pumpkinheads, which was adorable, so I was very excited to get an advanced review copy of One Year at Ellsmere. From what I understand, she kind of “redid” and “fancied up” this comic from when she published it before, and I definitely think it looks nicer, though I’ll be interested to compare it to the original as well!
Juniper arrives at Ellsmere Academy for Girls and immediately ends up dealing with the social scene that is a new school, girls who think highly of themselves, and adapting to a new environment. I expected this to be a lot more magical than it was–and I’m really not sure why. Maybe it’s just the cover that made me feel more whimsical? There’s a little bit of intrigue in the forest, but this is far from Hogwarts. It’s got serious Mean Girls vibes going on–there’s the nice roommate who has her own issues, the mean girl who thinks she’s uber smart and deserves it all, and Juniper, the scholarship kid–so you know what that means. I’m pretty sure this was originally titled “The War at Ellsmere” so I’m interested to see where future books in the series go.
This book is pretty low-stakes, but it’s a cute read. I like boarding school settings, and Juniper is a cool character, so I’ll probably pick up the next book in the series, but I am just simply curious about where this plot will take us.
One Year at Ellsmere is on sale everywhere July 7, 2020.