Back on my BOTM grind…you know what I mean. I’ve never read a Katherine Center book before but now I GET what people mean when they say “women’s fiction.” I always push back against categorizing like Jodi Picoult books in that category, because her books are SO fleshed out and well researched they could be text books with a plot, but this…this book was WOMEN”S FICTION. Nothing wrong with that, I just finally “got” what the genre felt like on the page haha. I primarily picked this out because one of the characters was a school librarian, but this book was just okay for me–a three star read, though I did cry a bit at the end with the whale stuff. But who wouldn’t?
Sam is the school librarian at the Kempner School on Galveston Island, one of those “hippie lite” schools that is in a renovated older building, encourages student creativity, was run by the founders, does lots of local field trips, etc. Sam loves it there and she loves the school’s founders–Babette and Max–who are like parents to her. But then, one night, Max dies in front of her and there’s a new principal–Duncan, the guy from her last school who she had a major crush on. But fun Duncan isn’t so fun anymore…he walks in one day one ready to turn their fun, light-hearted school into a police state, and it’s up to Sam and her friends to save the school, and maybe Duncan too.
Overall, this book was fine. I liked the concept well enough, but I found the pacing and overall…goals weird. I won’t reveal Duncan’s secret, but knowing it…just kind of doesn’t matter at the end? Because he forgives and forgets? Which is…unlikely, I’ll say. And Sam’s epilepsy kind of feels forced–not in that she can’t just have a disability to have one–but like it only exists in the book for the final chapters. It’s like it’s obviously something she deals with, but it only really BURGEONS at the plot point necessary, which is…eh. I liked the parts about Babette and Clay and her time with the teachers, but there’s just so little actual SCHOOL in the book. The pacing is weird–we just merrily skip through some things and then spend 7 pages on one six minute dance?
The ending is sweet—we love a good happy ending, the whale stuff was cute, but…yeah. A 3 star read for me.