Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy by Diane Stanley

Franny and her friends change dramatically once they start at the exclusive Allbright Academy: former gloomy Cal becomes cheery and upbeat; funky Brooklyn cuts off his dreadlocks, gives up writing poetry and changes his name to the more mainstream Brook; and Franny finds studying easy and becomes a neat freak. In fact, all of the students at Allbright Academy are near perfect, and act more like adults than children. The story pulls you in right away, and while it's not a surprise that there is something not right at the school, the plot is by no means predictable. Franny narrates and speaks directly to the reader. Her voice is natural, yet not exactly realistic for an 8th grader. In fact, I thought that this book might have been better if the characters were high-school aged: it would be more believable that they could do some of the things they do in the story. But these slight faults do not in any way detract from the enjoyment of the book, which is fun, sophisticated, and un-put-downable. Review by Katie Corrigan

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