Friday, July 23, 2010

VIOLA IN REEL LIFE by Adriana Trigiani

VIOLA IN REEL LIFE tells the story of a year in a boarding school in South Bend, Indiana. 

Viola is used to New York City living.  Her parents are documentary film makers, and she plans to follow in their film footsteps.  Usually if her parents' work takes them away from home for any extended period, she would be placed in the care of her grandmother, but since her actress grandmother has a previous commitment, this time different plans are made for the young teen.

The idea of leaving New York and heading to the Midwest for a year at an all-girl boarding school has Viola steaming mad.  How could they?  They keep telling her things like how her mother spent a year at The Perfect Academy for Young Women, and that it will be a year she'll remember for a lifetime.  Who cares?  Viola doesn't want to leave her friends behind, and she certainly doesn't want to miss her freshmen year of high school at LaGuardia Arts. 

No matter how much she objects, Viola finds herself being driven halfway across the country and moved in with three other freshmen roommates.  She is feeling just like her bland, beige bedspread as she watches the rest of the girls settle in.  Sure that none the others are here against their will, she reluctantly embarks on what she believes will be the worst year of her life.

Much to Viola's surprise, loneliness drives her to rely on her roommates and gradually open up to them.  Her interest in film making earns her the respect of her classmates when she is volunteered to create the video scenery for the annual Founders' Day celebration.  Once she experiences success, she becomes determined to make her mark at The Perfect Academy.

Author Adriana Trigiani is well-known for her adult novels.  In VIOLA IN REEL LIFE, she uses her talent as a fresh new voice in young adult fiction.  Trigiani takes readers into Viola's life as she learns to adjust to life away from home and family.  Her plot includes Viola's interest in film, the problems her roommates are facing, a touch of romance, and even an interesting ghostly presence.  Though this novel is rather tame in comparison to some of the latest teen offerings, it should capture readers and perhaps have them wanting to hear more from Viola in the future.

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