First Term at Silver Spires (School Friends) by Ann Bryant
|First Term at Silver Spires (School Friends) by Ann Bryant|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A heart-warming story of life for six friends in a boarding school. Aimed at the 9+ age group it will be a firm favourite without being great literature. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 154||Date: August 2008|
|Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd|
On Katy's first day at Silver Spires Boarding School she meets the girls who are to share her dorm. There's Mia, who's interested in music, Grace, the very sporty one, Georgie who wants to be an actress, Jess the artist and Naomi who is an African princess. Lydia is in another dorm but wants to be closer to Naomi – Silver Spires is upmarket but there are not that many princesses around – and she's prepared to do anything to break up the growing friendship between Naomi and Katy.
As soon as I started reading First Term at Silver Spires I was taken back to my childhood when I read Enid Blyton's books about Malory Towers, the fictional school in the Cornish countryside. Gone are the pranks played on staff, to be replaced by mobile phones and the internet, but there's the same eclectic mixture of girls away from home and thrown into each other's company to make friends and enemies.
It's a good story which is sure to hold the attention of the older confident reader. The girls are all new to the school and it's a pleasure to see how the friendships between the Year Sevens cautiously develop, how the girls all have their own aims and ambitions. This is the first in a series of six books but each can be read as a stand-alone and there are no annoying cliff-hangers to force a parent into buying the next in the series just so that the child can find out what happens.
There's a strong moral thread running through the story. Honesty is always the best policy and even small untruths can mean that others distrust you when their trust is important. Balanced against that is the delicacy of keeping a secret – your own or someone else's – as Naomi struggles to be known for herself rather than as a princess. Katy is in an even more delicate situation as her mother is a soap star and she's aware that if this became known there would be problems. Lydia wouldn't hate her any longer, but it would be for all the wrong reasons.
The book's well written and it's obvious that it comes from someone who knows and understands children with all their worries and insecurities. Some of the characters are a little two dimensional from the adult perspective – Lydia has little in the way of redeeming features – but this isn't going to worry the target age-group with whom I think this book will become a firm favourite.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
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