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The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

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So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks. One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks. One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why. As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.


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So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks. One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks. One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why. As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.

30 review for The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

  1. 4 out of 5

    Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies

    Why doesn't Goodreads allow me to give negative stars? “Because you’re different from the rest of us,” he says. “Yeah, well, I was different from everyone back home, too, but.” “There are different ways to be different, Anne.” “I don’t suppose you know all that much about being different, Ben," I say, careful to sound as indifferent. “I’d say I know a lot about a lot, including being different,” he replies. Kill. Me. Now. This book is incomprehensibly, horrifyingly, fantastically bad. This might be Why doesn't Goodreads allow me to give negative stars? “Because you’re different from the rest of us,” he says. “Yeah, well, I was different from everyone back home, too, but.” “There are different ways to be different, Anne.” “I don’t suppose you know all that much about being different, Ben," I say, careful to sound as indifferent. “I’d say I know a lot about a lot, including being different,” he replies. Kill. Me. Now. This book is incomprehensibly, horrifyingly, fantastically bad. This might be one of the worst books I have ever read in my life. This is so terrible that it might fit into the category of "so bad that it's good." This book is about the race for "The Big V." When I hear "The Big V," I think Virginity. I was wrong. The V is for Valedictorian. It is a race to be Valedictorian. In most schools, to be Valedictorian, you simply have to have the best grades, not so in The Education of Anne Merchant. You see, in this very specialized, prestigious, ultra-selective school, being Valedictorian could depend on something else...something within a person's aura...something like... “I have seen your PT. You have in your aura a tendency toward—” Teddy hesitates, standing in the midst of a great, long, exaggerated pause “—seduction.” I am not fucking kidding. The Summary: Anne Merchant has always been different from everyone else. She is 5'10, "hardly a Hobbit," a crooked tooth, and hair that is so frizzy and blonde that it is practically an Afro. Yeah, you heard me, a blond Afro. The cover of the book so perfectly depicts Anne's hair. Because clearly, that is what a blonde Afro looks like. Her mother is dead, her father is a mortician, and Anne has long since been the outcast at her school, because she is the only poor kid in her school. For some fucking reason, we meet Anne as she is starting her new year at the new school of Cania Christy. Damned if we know how some poor kid ended up there in the first place. It is a super, super selective school. To be Valedictorian is to win the ultimate prize. Despite the fact that everyone there is supposed to be education-oriented, there are still slutty chicks at school whoring it around all over the fucking place. The very first time Anne sees the Mean Girl clique, she brands them as skanks. Like four slightly oversexed dolls, they stand at arm’s length from me, thrusting out their cleavage, tossing their straightened silky hair over their shoulders, and pursing their pouty, glossy lips. So much for being accepting of others, since you were an outcast herserlf, right, Anne? Anne learns that The Big V race is very competitive, EEEEEEEEE'RYONE in school wants the prestige of being the valedictorian. This prestigious, highly educational school's curriculum is so hard, so competitive that we hardly see the inside of a classroom besides that of art. I mean, fuck English, Social Studies, Math, Science, all that good shit right? Because Art class is all that's needed to be Valedictorian. Anne attends art class. Anne attends more art classes. She draws a professor in the nude. “Feast your eyes,” our model Trey exclaims, drawing his hand down his body. He’s a member of the faculty, though you wouldn’t know it to look at him. He’s nowhere near as hard on the eyes as most of the teachers here. “I am man. Hear me roar.” There is something strange going on in the island. The students are forbidden to talk to the villagers...the villagers themselves are tribalistic! They worship idols! They cremate figures! They have strange rituals! “This is the final ceremony in the Festival of Fire and Life,” Mr. Watso bellows, “a tradition unique to the Abenaki of this island they call Wormwood, this island that is Ndakinna to our great ancestors. It is a tradition that is just decades old but more meaningful than any ritual we have ever performed.” Right. Very meaningful. Since the race to be Valedictorian is so crucial to Anne, she snoops around, she gets involved in a love triangle, she dances her heart out! Anne gets her twerkin' on! I pull out my California street-dancing swagger, which is insanely tough in this dress and heels, but I can’t help myself. This song is begging for some boom-pop, and I am all over that. But damn, girl, no, that ain't all. “You ready to take this on?” she asks. Not asks. Demands. “Take what on?” “This!” She runs her hands up and down her body. “Right here. Right now.” “Wait. Are you saying what I think you’re saying?” She wants to battle. She wants a dance-off. Oh snap!!!! Do you feel that? THAT'S RIGHT. IT'S A DANCE-OFF! Shit's gettin' REAL, yo! I start it off, beginning by sliding into and out of an exaggerated S-shape formed by sitting deep in my right hip, rolling up to my left, arching my back, and smoothly busting out my chest. To warm things up. I pause for good measure, making deep eye contact with guys in the crowd, who clap when I do. Finally, I wave my hand like you stink—steeped in swagger. Kill. Me. Now. The Big V: In most schools, it's simple to be valedictorian. It takes a lot of hard work, sure, but all it takes is the top grade in school, and that's it! Not so at Cania Christy. There are 3 steps involved in the process, one of which is completely fucking random. You see, you get to choose the standards that you wish to set for yourself. “Suppose,” Teddy offers, “your PT is to…be selfish to succeed in life.” “I would grade your actions over the course of the next two years against that PT. I would expect you to skip to the front of every line, fail to share, sabotage the efforts of your peers, especially those who are most desperate, and—” “Steal money from a beggar’s bowl,” I suggest. “Precisely!” Villicus and Teddy exclaim. WHAT THE FUCK?! So if you choose to slut around for the next two years and do it well, you could be Valedictorian?! I was kidding. This book wasn't. Dropping my arms to my side and letting my hand hover at the hem of my pajama shirt. Holding my breath, I lift it slowly. Take it off. And blush at my reflection. Because my body is so unrecognizable to me, it’s almost pornographic. “Not bad,” I whisper, looking at myself as I never really have before. Something inside me stirs—not because I’m attracted to myself. It’s something else. It’s realizing, for the first time ever, that I may possess a teensy tiny bit of sexual power. The premise isn't even well-executed. Everyone gets a Guardian to grade him or her based on this premise, but Anne's skeevy Guardian is pretty much the only one ever around. The idea is stupid, ludicrous, utterly laughable. I Know You're From Uzbekistan Just By Looking At You: A person's nationality shouldn't be obvious from the very first glance. Somehow that just totally skips over Anne. She automatically labels a person with their nationality just by looking at them. They don't even need to open their mouth. Her followers—a Thai girl, an Indian girl, and a stark blonde—glare at me. A woman is "Japanese," a dark-skinned man is "Indian," somehow she knows a woman is from Quebec just by looking at her. And then there's the Mandarin. Wait, what? Behind me, a Mandarin guy... WAIT, WHAT? Ok, let's get one thing straight. Mandarin is a language. Mandarin is an orange. You do NOT refer to a Chinese guy as a Mandarin unless he is a time traveler from 18th century who is a Chinese official. Fuck me. Slut Shaming: This book not only takes the Mean Girl high school trope and make horrible missionary-style sex to it, it ramps up the ante on slut shaming a thousandfold. The very first moment Anne meets the Mean Girl clique (oh, so very fucking original---not) at her new school, she labels them as tramps based on the way they dress. And then proceeds to accuse them of being whores. "But I’m sure you know all about getting around.” "Gang o' skanks," "skanky cows," "coiffed skanks," "skanky awards." FUCK YOU, ANNE. FUCK YOU!!!!! Anne goes out of her way to highlight the slutty clothes that the girls wear. Their matching red bras busting out of their cleavage. Their sex-kitten hair. Every day, they replace their standard-issue boots with whatever ultra-expensive, ultra-hooker shoes they have; today, it’s Manolo Blahnik spiky boots. She accuses them of going down on faculty in order to earn their grades. Anne implies that they walk like they belong in the "red-light district." Fuck slut shaming, fuck Anne, fuck this book. You Want A Piece Of Me?: Everyone finds Anne attractive. Everyone wants to get into her pants. There is a love triangle between Anne and two guys her own age, but from adult men, too. They leer at her, they make lascivious gestures at her. Everything is hyper-sexualized in this book. From the lecherous Headmaster (German, naturally, fuck you, stereotypes) who calls her a nubile fraulein. To a skeevy old Senator with a school uniform fetish. To her Guardian (who is hideously ugly). “I could rate you very favorably,” he says, his soft voice sending shivers up my spine, “if you could be so obliging.” Then he lowers his hands to his pants and undoes the top button. My mouth drops open, but not in the way he wants it to. “You’re disgusting.” “I’m your meal ticket.” The Writing: Atrocious. Clothing is "as wrinkled as the cloak of a dead Franciscan friar." A French accent sounds like "eating peanut butter while fighting a head cold." A thought is drawn out into a paragraph. The one thought I have hasn’t quite reached me yet. It moves through the darkness of my room slowly, deliberately, like the Grim Reaper wading through a sludgy pond to reach me, like he’s been wading toward me for days, has jerked his way up the stairs, and is finally here, his slender, long arms extending toward me. I want to back away from him, from my one unavoidable thought, but he keeps approaching, nearer and nearer until I’m in his cold, wet grasp. If you still insist on reading this book, I have some recommended prerequisites. One simply does not walk into Mordor read this book unprepared. Ready? Here's what you need to do. 1. Get a group of friends together 2. Buy a lot of alcohol 3. Read this book out loud All done? Good. Sit down, pour yourself a drink (or 5), and get ready to have the laugh of your life. I had the misfortune of reading this book alone, without alcohol. Fuck this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Morgannah

    4.25 Stars What a lovely surprise this book turned out to be! The mysterious story had more twists and turns than I ever expected. Sure, there were some tropes and some cheese but the story was so compelling and accurately paced that I easily overlooked some common flaws. I will definately be continuing on with book 2!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Giselle

    This is a bit too.. umm.. cheesy? for me. Some girl goes to a boarding school on a secluded creepy island and then she learns that at that school they're graded after what your "guardian" says is your strength - so basically if he says your strength is being selfish, the more selfish you are during high school the better you will grade... Wait there's more. So this "guardian" who happens to be a creepy ugly guy with white crust on his lips (ewww) takes her hand and bobs his head a few times until This is a bit too.. umm.. cheesy? for me. Some girl goes to a boarding school on a secluded creepy island and then she learns that at that school they're graded after what your "guardian" says is your strength - so basically if he says your strength is being selfish, the more selfish you are during high school the better you will grade... Wait there's more. So this "guardian" who happens to be a creepy ugly guy with white crust on his lips (ewww) takes her hand and bobs his head a few times until she feels as if his soul is touching her soul (duh) and he says that her strength is... *drumroll*... seduction! In his words: "her spirit does, in fact, lean toward a hyper-sexualized state.." So basically this means the more seductive (or sexual?) she is for the next 3 years of high school, the better chance she will win valedictorian - for real! I have to DNF this.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sama

    Disclaimer: I was pre-approved an ARC of this book from NetGalley Oh boy. Ok well let me just start this review by saying that I really did want to like this book. I mean, the premise seemed pretty neat, and when I first started reading, Anne seemed like a decent narrator! Self-depreciating, a little sassy--these are all good things. Then we get introduced to Pilot, who is also sassy and sarcastic. I was excited, folks, because I was hoping that he would be the love interest, and that this book Disclaimer: I was pre-approved an ARC of this book from NetGalley Oh boy. Ok well let me just start this review by saying that I really did want to like this book. I mean, the premise seemed pretty neat, and when I first started reading, Anne seemed like a decent narrator! Self-depreciating, a little sassy--these are all good things. Then we get introduced to Pilot, who is also sassy and sarcastic. I was excited, folks, because I was hoping that he would be the love interest, and that this book would turn into a fabulous snarkfest, chock full of banter and shenanigans. Alas, it was not to be. Because shortly thereafter, we are introduced to Ben Zin. My biggest problem with Ben Zin: he is described as having mint green eyes. Yes, MINT GREEN. Isn't mint...light green? I'm pretty sure regular humans do not have mint green eyes, Anne. Unless you are referring to like, mint leaves, but if so why mint? There are so many other leaves to choose from. Personally, I just pictured eyes the colour of mint chocolate ice cream which weirded me out. You're supposed to be an artist, Anne. LEARN YOUR COLOURS. Ben's eyes aside, I would have been ok with him if it wasn't for the fact that he is POSSIBLY THE MOST BORING CHARACTER EVER. Like yeah, he and Anne had like one art debate that was kinda sexy in a history nerd kind of way, but every other interaction was literally Then we have Cania Christy Academy, which is one freaking weird school. If the other aspects of the book were less ragequit-inducing, I would have put up with this book if only to figure out what the F*** was going on. Like ok, students have to pick a PT, which is some sort of weird life motto determined by a creepy guardian after they (wait for it) LOOK INTO YOUR SOUL. And then, you are graded by said creepy guardian on how well you live your motto. Like, say your guardian decided that your PT was to be selfish...they basically stalk you and grade you on how selfishly you act in your everyday life. Weird right? Also all the students are crazy competitive because everyone wants the Big V (yes, valedictorian at Cania Christy is called the Big V). So, basically every other interaction Anne has with the resident mean girls (who are also, conveniently, gajillionaire supermodels) is this (Yes I just wanted an excuse to use that gif, sue me). Molly, a random villager, is the only person that Anne has a semi normal relationship with. I can't. Ah, and then my personal favourite thing about the book. So Anne's guardian looks into her soul to determine her PT. Guess what it is, guys. SEDUCTION. HER GIFT IS SEDUCTION Does that mean Anne has a slutty soul? Let's debate. According to her guardian, she's supposed to use the boobs and good looks she magically develops upon arriving at Cania Christy to get ahead. Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's called prostitution in the real world (unless PT is secretly short for ProstiTute...hmm). Also, there's the fun little part where her guardian, Teddy, is basically THE CREEPIEST PEDO-PERV EVER and LITERALLY SUGGESTED THAT ANNE HAVE SEX WITH HIM FOR A BETTER GRADE. When he unbuttons his pants I was just like Despite all this, I forged ahead because hey, I genuinely wanted to know what the hell was going on at this weird-ass school. There was some interesting info dropped about demons and grimoires that I was hoping to find out more about. Alas, then we had the school dance. Usually, I'm all for dances and balls and such. However, this one was spoiled for me by the fact that, in the middle of it, Anne has a dance battle. Yes. A dance battle. She out sexy-dances the resident queen bee-yotch and then said bee-yotch breaks her hair clips. Boo hoo, Anne. Also, her guy friend comes up to her and basically tells her that her dancing caused all the guys to, and I quote, "pitch tents" At which point I was like Sorry, Anne. It's been real. I might try to finish this one up later, just for the heck of it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol [Goodreads Addict]

    Wow, where do I start with this book?! The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is book one of The V Trilogy by Joanna Wiebe. I can honestly say that I might not have read this if I knew going into it what it was going to be like. For me, it had a real Dean Koontz feel. By that I mean that it was seriously creepy. This coming from a grown (well past middle age) woman that reads non-stop about vampires, werewolves, gargoyles, and other such creatures. My ratings fluctuated throughout the book. At Wow, where do I start with this book?! The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is book one of The V Trilogy by Joanna Wiebe. I can honestly say that I might not have read this if I knew going into it what it was going to be like. For me, it had a real Dean Koontz feel. By that I mean that it was seriously creepy. This coming from a grown (well past middle age) woman that reads non-stop about vampires, werewolves, gargoyles, and other such creatures. My ratings fluctuated throughout the book. At 50% I was at 4 stars. At 75% when things were really being revealed and the creep factor was getting to me, I went down to 3 stars. But then, OH MY GOSH, the crazy edge of your seat ending that shot it back to 4 stars. Anne Merchant is the daughter of a funeral director. They live in the midst of the rich and famous in California but they definitely are not rich. Anne suffers ridicule at school by her peers but she has learned to deal with it. Her mother is mentally ill and commits suicide and Anne is the one that found her. She is not dealing well with the death of her Mom and two years after it happened, her Dad sends her to Cania Christy which is where this story begins. It is a boarding school for the richest of rich. It is on Wormwood Island up in Maine but life there is certainly not what one might expect. First of all, all juniors and seniors are assigned a guardian. This guardian literally follows their EVERY move. You are graded on every single thing you do 24 hours a day. And the guardian Anne receives, Teddy, is the worst of the worst. Every junior and senior is also required to declare a PT which is the platform which you plan to use in order to win the big V which is Valedictorian. This is the goal of every student, their reason for existing, and they will go to any length to achieve it. Every student’s parents are said to have given up vast fortunes to get their children admitted to Cania Christy. But she is the daughter of a funeral director. How could her father ever have afforded to send her here? There is, of course, the romance factor which comes in the handsome senior, Ben. Ben keeps her on a roller coaster, nice to her one minute and cold and rude the next. And why is he so darn cryptic? She has so many questions and no one will help her. Things just don’t seem right here so she will just have to figure it out on her own. As each answer is revealed, more questions arise. And who can she trust? She is betrayed time and time again but our little Anne does not give up. All students live in the dorms except she and Ben who lives next door to her. Why won’t they allow her to live in the dorms? What is the line that divides the island village from the campus and why is she not allowed to speak to anyone in the village? There are so many secrets and the author keeps you guessing throughout much of the book before she starts revealing anything. Parts of the book bothered me somewhat, namely what the girls were willing to do to achieve their goals. And you are kept guessing constantly as to who is good and who is bad. But if you read this book, hold on to your hat. The last, perhaps 10-15% is a crazy whirlwind. I certainly gasped a few times and left a few indentations in the case of my e-reader from gripping it too tightly. So…if you think you would enjoy this type of book, then I say go for it. Will I read the next book when it comes out? Yes, I will. After the crazy ending, I will have to find out what comes next for Anne Merchant. Thank you to NetGalley, Joanna Wiebe and BenBella Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Genre* YA, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal *Rating* 2.5-3 *My Thoughts* *Summation* SIXTEEN year old Anne Merchant is the daughter of a mortician who lives in the most exclusive zip code in the country. She's lived with being called nicknames like Wednesday Addams, and Death Chic and it doesn't phase her much. She also has major goals for her life in mind which includes becoming a world renowned artist, and attending Brown University. TWO years after her mothers death, Anne is sent to Wormwood Island, *Genre* YA, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal *Rating* 2.5-3 *My Thoughts* *Summation* SIXTEEN year old Anne Merchant is the daughter of a mortician who lives in the most exclusive zip code in the country. She's lived with being called nicknames like Wednesday Addams, and Death Chic and it doesn't phase her much. She also has major goals for her life in mind which includes becoming a world renowned artist, and attending Brown University. TWO years after her mothers death, Anne is sent to Wormwood Island, Maine to attend an exclusive preparatory school for the world’s wealthiest teens called Cania Christy. Upon arrival, Anne learns that not everything is exactly as she seems and there is a price for her attendance which includes a backstabbing race to become Valedictorian of her graduating class, a creepy Guardian who will follow her around and grade her every move, and a PT which students choose in order to try to outgun the rest of their classmates. *IE Seduction, Backstabbing, Inquisitiveness In a dog EAT dog world where parents will do almost anything to get their kids into Cania where only 200 students attend, Anne is more of an outcast than she really knows not only because she's poor, but because her being on Cania is as mysterious as it is dangerous. It will take courage, and determination, and searching high and low for answers in order to survive until graduation day. Can she truly trust anyone? *Rants/Raves* Upon finishing this story, I immediately languished about the fact that there is a cliffhanger ending and thus I find myself embroiled in yet another trilogy, duology, or series which could have easily been just a standalone. It especially bothered me because Anne fights really hard to prove herself and uncover the secrets of the Island and it's Headmaster. But, alas, we don't always get what we want out of life and of course, the creepy factor of the Guardians plans for Anne and the school remain a mystery. I'm not sure how Anne is expected to trust anyone and survive to see graduation especially when that someone TRIED TO KILL HER already!! This story is entirely on the strange and bizarre side with elements of horror, mystery, and the supernatural. Although supposedly a smart person and a thriving would be artist, the protagonist belongs to clueless class when it comes to understanding things right in front of her face. She's not a heroine in the any sense of the word. She's given hints after hints by her romantic interest yet refuses to dig DEEPER. Once again we are forced into dealing with bullying, mean girls, and downright backstabbing at the highest levels in order to win the coveted Valedictorian position which comes with a caveat. I would beg YA authors to please cease with the mean girls. Not everyone has been bullied, and not everyone is a mean girl, and YES, I do realize this is Fantasy and therefore we need to put aside realistic thoughts. I could not find any character I could write positive things about except perhaps Molly who might have been a bit careless in her thinking, and that includes being around our protagonist Anne. The story IS an interesting concept, but it's not a new one. At this moment in time, I am not positive that I will continue reading this series but there is plenty of time for me to rethink that and perhaps watch what others say about the sequel. *Recvd 12/06/2013 via NetGalley* Expected publication: January 14th 2014 by BenBella Books

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship

    So...um... to finish or not to finish? I didn't even get through the first day of school. Three minutes in, she's already been confronted by the ridiculous and mean popular girls, called them skanks and also confessed proudly that she isn't a public bus for anyone to ride- unlike, of course, the aforementioned girls who are pretty and have rich daddies(seriously bitch?). The plot isn't something I care about anymore. I had my sister try it and at least she got through the first day. So what side So...um... to finish or not to finish? I didn't even get through the first day of school. Three minutes in, she's already been confronted by the ridiculous and mean popular girls, called them skanks and also confessed proudly that she isn't a public bus for anyone to ride- unlike, of course, the aforementioned girls who are pretty and have rich daddies(seriously bitch?). The plot isn't something I care about anymore. I had my sister try it and at least she got through the first day. So what side does the argument favor? Hmmm...methinks not to finish.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Giselle

    A finished copy was provided by the publisher for review. I heard from a couple of people that this was a scary read, but after finishing it, I'm glad to report, it wasn't. The first thing I want to say about this was that it starts off like cliche high school movie. The main character is completely annoying and every time she would say something judgmental, I felt like throwing the book at the wall. Though the main character was irritating to me, that was just my personal preference. Main A finished copy was provided by the publisher for review. I heard from a couple of people that this was a scary read, but after finishing it, I'm glad to report, it wasn't. The first thing I want to say about this was that it starts off like cliche high school movie. The main character is completely annoying and every time she would say something judgmental, I felt like throwing the book at the wall. Though the main character was irritating to me, that was just my personal preference. Main character was unlikable for me..I thought it was pretty upsetting that we had a character who had potential, but hopefully she changes for the better. The beginning of this book is somewhat like Mean Girls and Gossip Girl (on steroids) rolled into one and nothing about the mystery of the school she has gotten herself into. But it finally picks up around the middle and the end, (though I had to wait long for it) and it was a rather convoluted mystery that had me picking my brain time and time again. And at one point I stopped caring because I got distracted by another book *sighs* The pacing was slow in the beginning and it better in the end. Though it finally reached a point where I just didn't care what was happening to Anne Merchant and it was a bit predictable to what was going on, I had so much trouble connecting with her. One other nagging point in the story was there was a dark and deadly demon that resembled a poodle. I just couldn't picture a poodle being deadly..Dogs are love IMO. And I had to devote an entire paragraph to the romance. This is instant love at its finest. If I remember correctly, she fell in love with our main protagonist within a two week time frame? Seriously? I would have loved this when I was younger, would have gobbled it up and hugged and told everyone to read it..BUT, I'm older, wiser (in the love department) and know that it's not very realistic. Definitely more for romance fans! Overall, I'm still interested in this series, and would like to know more about it. I would give this a chance, but if you're looking for a more straight forward mystery, don't look for it in this one. RATING 2/5 QUOTES "No one knows anything about you, which means you can rewrite your history." (2) "Nothing can prepare you for the suddenness of a constant source of love and support vanishing so quickly. And so permanently." (5) "Rich guys are always bored so quickly. That's what happens when you've had everything handed to you and have perfectly easy access to more of it at any time." (22) "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." (53) "You should want to look beyond the surface. Find the greater truth. Look at all the layers and reject them, one by one." (163) "Most people would give anything for one more day with someone they love." (230) "There's nothing wrong with safe. Safe's good. If you want your boyfriend to be there for you, you choose a safe guy to be your boyfriend. Or am I going to be one of those dimwit girls who falls for the risky, elusive, unattainable guy in the hopes that she'll be able to change him?" (238) "What's wrong is never getting the chance to tell someone you love how deeply you love them. What's wrong is having someone you were born to protect ripped from your life." (274) "If I'm not smart, I'll be dead before I know it." (293)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa | Swept Away By Books

    You guys, this book was unreal. From the first pages of the spooky and eerie setting I was hooked. I was guessing right up until the very end of the book what might happen and Wiebe's writing was crazy! Full review to come closer to the release date!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Yzabel Ginsberg

    (I received an ebook copy from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.) Such a weird, weird book. I have no idea if I found it just average, or if I didn't like it. Probably both. It's one of those "good ideas, but..." novels for me. Intriguing blurb, a theme (revealed later) that normally fascinates me... I could've liked it, but. All right, let's start with the facepalming, to get it out of the way: * Nothing remarkable about the writing style. I've seen worse, but I've also seen much better. (I received an ebook copy from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.) Such a weird, weird book. I have no idea if I found it just average, or if I didn't like it. Probably both. It's one of those "good ideas, but..." novels for me. Intriguing blurb, a theme (revealed later) that normally fascinates me... I could've liked it, but. All right, let's start with the facepalming, to get it out of the way: * Nothing remarkable about the writing style. I've seen worse, but I've also seen much better. * Several "what the hell" and "head, meet desk" moments. The almost-constant lechery undermining the narrative. It's set in a school, the characters are all pupils, yet some have it with teachers, and Anne's Guardian is just one seriously disturbed creep. (His role is to determine Anne's "quality" in life, and grade her on whether she lives up to it or not for the next two years. He determines her quality is "seduction", and then proceeds—twice—to unzip his pants and suggest they have sex in exchange for good grades. * Some plot holes. For instance, the aforementioned Guardians: every pupil is supposed to have one, but we only see Teddy? Where are the others? Also, what classes? The only class Anne ever goes to is Art; we never see her study anything else. * Slut shaming. The cliché beautiful-yet-mean-girls quartet, immediately hostile to Anne, immediately judged and described by the latter as sluts and skanks. Most girls in the story seem to be that; the ones who aren't vanish before the middle of the book. Not only does this particular cliché annoy me, slut shaming in general makes me want to slap someone. * The dance off. No. Just... no. * Anne is of the Too Stupid To Live breed (yes, considering what the novel's really about, this is quite the irony). She's supposed to be smart, but doesn't piece obvious things together before it's too late. She gives up on looking for something that, if found by anyone else, will cause serious trouble to herself and another person (view spoiler)[(a shoe with that other person's name inside) (hide spoiler)] . A couple of characters wave huge "hint here!" signs at her by totally changing behaviours, or giving her items, yet she doesn't bother to check said items. I was surprised she actually guessed what the Big V meant all by herself. * I didn't really get the romance part. I understand the connection, but it doesn't justify romance to me. It felt like some unwanted cherry plopped on sauerkraut. * Languages and nationality: the description of a French accent didn't sit with me (trust me, I know what French sounds like, I've spoken it all my life, and we don't "drawl"). Also, it was weird how Anne could immediately exactly pick who was Thai, Indian, Canadian, etc. However, I did find a couple of redeeming qualities to this novel. It gave off a Silent Hill-esque vibe, and I'm totally partial to anything SH-related. (It's not a SH rip-off; it simply left me with similar impressions—whether that was intended, or a complete coincidence.) (view spoiler)[When Anne realises everybody's dead, and she must be as well, Cania Christy, the island, the village, suddenly take on a whole other meaning, with that claustrophobic feeling of being locked inside a nightmare world from which you can't get out just by wishing it. I wasn't too keen on the Big Reveal about the villain behind it all, nor about the sudden heel-face-turn coming from a character who had been creepy from beginning to end, but its deeper aspects, the power play, the way parents were so to speak forced to bow and kneel down for one fickle piece of fleeting hope... Now that was, in a way, cruelly enjoyable, as well as frightening—because who can honestly say "I'd never do it, I'd never sell my soul for a few more years with my deceased child"? (hide spoiler)] The last 30% of the book sort of made up for some of its previous facepalm-inducing moments. Not enough for me to give it 2 stars, but at least 1.5. I can't say I totally disliked this novel.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robin (Bridge Four)

    3.5 Stars rounded up to 4 for the possibilities for the rest of the series. This Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant starts out like the life of an ordinary girl put into extraordinary circumstances but everything is not what it seems. The further along you get and the more the mystery unfurls the weirder and more fantastic things become. By the end I really couldn’t wait to see what happened next. It’s High School with a supernatural twist but for once to my amazement it was done without 3.5 Stars rounded up to 4 for the possibilities for the rest of the series. This Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant starts out like the life of an ordinary girl put into extraordinary circumstances but everything is not what it seems. The further along you get and the more the mystery unfurls the weirder and more fantastic things become. By the end I really couldn’t wait to see what happened next. It’s High School with a supernatural twist but for once to my amazement it was done without werewolves and vampires. This was an interesting take on PNR and even though it took a while to get to the PN part of it I was happily guessing along with Anne as to the true nature of the School. Anne has always been the strange girl, hard not to be when you are the mortician’s daughter in a rich neighborhood. Not only is she an outcast because she is poor she also works with dead people putting her even more on the weird side. After the horrible death of her mother Anne’s father wants to give her a chance at a better life. But to do so she must go to an Exclusive Boarding School on an Island that is completely cut off from the rest of the world. Anne can tell right away that this might not be just an upper class school. Everyone at the school is obsessed with the race to be the Valedictorian of their class and each one seems to be in on a secret that only Anne doesn’t know. Every time Anne thinks she has figured out a mystery of the school she ends up being wrong. She feels a connection to the mysterious Ben who is the only other person at the school who doesn’t live in the dorms. When they are alone he seems to be trying to give her hints to the mysteries of the school, but anytime there are people around he is completely a different person. It doesn’t help that she has someone following her around non-stop to grade her on everything she does for the Valedictorian race that have been affectionately named the Big V. There is a really minor love triangle. Not enough to be distracting, just a musing between two different people for different reasons. I mention it only because I usually avoid books with love triangles. I liked the romantic interest part of the story as I waited to find out the history of Ben and Pilot. Because it is High School and the competition is fierce there is some fun caddy behavior and snarky whit that I always love as well as a Masquerade ball, with some true Cinderella moments. Now that I know what the mystery of the Island and the School is I can’t wait to see what comes next. I found the last few chapters where some huge revelations were made to be the most captivating and I really like all the possibilities that there are for Anne in the next book. There were twists, alliances and betrayals that I didn’t see coming. A really good introductory novel into a new world. Great for anyone who likes PNR and might be a little tired of vampires and werewolves and is looking for something a little different. Arc provided by BenBella Books through Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Nope. Nope. Never again. fuck this book. FUck this bOoK. What a great plot, you know? but the fucking "romance" and the "characters" made me want to stab myself in the eyes with tweezers. Oh my god. I would give it no stars, but the premise gets one. HOLY FUCK. She has like 4 conversations with a boy, and she does all the dumbass talking, AND SHE'S COMPLETELY OBBSESSED. ANNE, YOU ARE BATSHIT CRAY CRAY. YOU KISSED A FUCKING CORPSE. YOU SICK FUCK. HOW THE FUCK DOES HE EVEN REMEBR THAT? HE'S LIKE 4 Nope. Nope. Never again. fuck this book. FUck this bOoK. What a great plot, you know? but the fucking "romance" and the "characters" made me want to stab myself in the eyes with tweezers. Oh my god. I would give it no stars, but the premise gets one. HOLY FUCK. She has like 4 conversations with a boy, and she does all the dumbass talking, AND SHE'S COMPLETELY OBBSESSED. ANNE, YOU ARE BATSHIT CRAY CRAY. YOU KISSED A FUCKING CORPSE. YOU SICK FUCK. HOW THE FUCK DOES HE EVEN REMEBR THAT? HE'S LIKE 4 YEARS OLDER THAN YOU. Christ. I have read about some dumb charcters, like I'm talking like walk-into-a-window dumb, but this bitch makes Natalie from the Black City books seem like Mark fucking Twain. She makes it her fucking life goal to break every fucking rule. HOhLee FUCK. I want to punch a bit so bad. Like, she is sooooooo full of herself, saying like "omg my tooth is crooked my smile is ruined", and "my hair is so frizzy i look like a white foxxy Cleopatra." yet she always thinks that anyone of the male population is leering at her and wants "that body". Bitch, if you want men to stop staring, then wear a fucking cardigan, and try not to bring that "boom-pop" when you dance, even if you are "all over that", and "steeped in swagger" (legit lines from the book kms). She is such a fucking bitch. She goes out of her way to slut-shame, even though only harper is every described as doing "nefarious" acts. She, and her "model un from hell" (sorry for having diversity, ms "pil-at-ease". Bitch, you are from CALIFORNIA) can wear whatever they want because it's their bodies, and if they got it, they sure as hell can flaunt it. (view spoiler)[omfG, she even says a mandarin guy. Bitch, if you're so cultured by reading the Prince and shit, how the FUCK do you not know that mandarin is a dialect? (hide spoiler)] This book was a mix between a lovesick drunk teenager and a three-year old playing with their alphabet soup. I highlighted all the bits I found stupid (view spoiler)[ basically 3/4 of the book (hide spoiler)] . Read only those bits and you will die of laughter. I reiterate, NEVER AGAIN. STAY AWAY FROM THIS BOOK.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy Plum

    From the very first pages, I was spellbound by this deliciously dark tale of mysterious attraction, cutthroat ambition, and how far we will go to keep the ones we love. (Note: I don't give stars to YA books, since that is the age group I write for!)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Higgins

    She had me at the introduction of the spooky setting - the kind of stuff readers can lose themselves in. Joanna Wiebe is a fun new author to be on the lookout for!! :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    2.5 stars (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to BenBella Books and Netgalley.) Anne is starting at a new school – Cania Chrsity, a very select school, in a special place. Cania Christy is weird though, and the rules and ideas upheld are also bizarre. What is special about Cania Christy? And what is so special about Anne that she ended up there? This story was okay-ish, but it took so long to get to an interesting bit that I was seriously bored. 2.5 stars (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to BenBella Books and Netgalley.) Anne is starting at a new school – Cania Chrsity, a very select school, in a special place. Cania Christy is weird though, and the rules and ideas upheld are also bizarre. What is special about Cania Christy? And what is so special about Anne that she ended up there? This story was okay-ish, but it took so long to get to an interesting bit that I was seriously bored. Anne was an okay character, only she seemed a bit naïve, and didn’t ask enough questions for me. She also seemed to go along with stuff that was really weird, and was also fairly blasé about breaking the rules at this weird school. The storyline in this was okay, but there was so much boring stuff in there that wasn’t necessary to move the story along that I really lost interest. I felt like I was forcing myself to keep reading this, from really early on, and when we did eventually get an interesting revelation, it was at the 65%, and the story went right back to dull after it. I will say that I liked the twists that we got at the end, but they were just such a long time coming that they couldn’t really save this book for me. There was romance, but it didn’t interest me at all. The ending was I suppose okay, but again, I had really lost interest and was just glad that the torment was finally over. Overall; dull and slow. 5 out of 10.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Raymond

    I'm starting to think we're seeing some sort of Faustian trend in young adult literature. The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is another one of those "a girl goes to a school that is mysterious, and Things Happen" stories. In this case, the school, at first blush, is an ultracompetitive boarding school on an island off the coast, and the school is not one that seems to have a traditional education as much as exists to help kids advance their innermost talents. Very strange way to do it, and I'm starting to think we're seeing some sort of Faustian trend in young adult literature. The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is another one of those "a girl goes to a school that is mysterious, and Things Happen" stories. In this case, the school, at first blush, is an ultracompetitive boarding school on an island off the coast, and the school is not one that seems to have a traditional education as much as exists to help kids advance their innermost talents. Very strange way to do it, and Anne is a girl who is an artist and is being told her talent is something much different. This, of course, prompts her to further uncover the mysteries of the island, from why they can't interact with the villagers to the overbearing concern her "guardian," the person assigned to her at the school, has on her well-being. While this book appears to be pretty divisive, I ultimately liked the conceit and where it went with it. There are a lot of ideas that float around that generally work well with the understanding that new situations can be chaotic and weird. The odd sexuality bits felt superfluous because of how they were introduced and basically abandoned, but that is really the only major fault. A more straightforward approach in all areas might have been beneficial on a whole, but that's more a style preference. Overall, I'm definitely interested in where this will go next. A cool, different take on some existing YA tropes.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Missie

    The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe was really interesting, lots of mystery and twists and turns Likes: I enjoyed the MCs history, the relationship with her father, the daughter of a mortician, her mother's mental breakdown. Good stuff (well, not for Anne, but for the book). The story was written well and kept a good pace, I could barely put the book down for the second half. Lots of twists and turn, I didn't see the ending coming and didn't connect everything together The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe was really interesting, lots of mystery and twists and turns Likes: I enjoyed the MCs history, the relationship with her father, the daughter of a mortician, her mother's mental breakdown. Good stuff (well, not for Anne, but for the book). The story was written well and kept a good pace, I could barely put the book down for the second half. Lots of twists and turn, I didn't see the ending coming and didn't connect everything together beforehand, I always appreciate a book that keeps me on my toes. The side characters were interesting, especially when you thought of them in context to the ending of the story. How would you act, what would you do? Gripes: Calling the contest the Big V was just ridiculous. Seriously, it sounds like all these kids are trying to lose their virginity or something. Not the best choice of words. Ben, very nice guy, entertaining character but seriously, stop being so bi-polar and just help Anne figure out the truth. I understand she needs to do it on her own, but the whole dynamic was weird. For more reviews check out A Flurry of Ponderings

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jess at Such a Novel Idea

    I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I don't know if this book just caught me at perfect moment or what, but I was absolutely blown away by how involved I got into the story. As a heavy reader, it takes a lot to grab my attention the way this book did. The best part of this book is you go in not really having any idea what is happening -- everything is a bit off and it will make you edgy. It does Anne for sure. There aren't many clues along to way that I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I don't know if this book just caught me at perfect moment or what, but I was absolutely blown away by how involved I got into the story. As a heavy reader, it takes a lot to grab my attention the way this book did. The best part of this book is you go in not really having any idea what is happening -- everything is a bit off and it will make you edgy. It does Anne for sure. There aren't many clues along to way that scream out what is happening, so you will spend most of the book discovering the secrets of the island and the crazy people on it. For the rest of this review, visit Such a Novel Idea. ------------- First Impression: I'm blown away by how awesome that book was. Look for my stop on blog tour on January 15th. Review soon!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Abbie

    This was quite a boring read. It took forever for it to get interesting. The first half of it was very dull. I just couldn't get into it at all. Things seemed to be dragged out more than what it needed to be, so it felt really slow. It did get slightly better in the second half, but i still wasn't overly impressed. It was good near the end, but not good enough to make me want to read book two.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ~Tina~

    3.5 stars Wow, what a handful. I don’t even know how many times I wanted to give up on this book, but as I kept reading, my pesky curiosity would keep me turning the pages till I figured out what the hell was going on. A big part of me was really glad I did since all the revelations turned out to be worth the frustration, exasperation and pure bewilderment of this novel, but man, what a freaken trip getting there. Getting a fresh start at Cania Christy boarding school is just what Anne Merchant 3.5 stars Wow, what a handful. I don’t even know how many times I wanted to give up on this book, but as I kept reading, my pesky curiosity would keep me turning the pages till I figured out what the hell was going on. A big part of me was really glad I did since all the revelations turned out to be worth the frustration, exasperation and pure bewilderment of this novel, but man, what a freaken trip getting there. Getting a fresh start at Cania Christy boarding school is just what Anne Merchant needs. After the death of her mother, Anne hasn’t been the same and having a mortician for a father doesn't usually pay the big bucks, but some how he got her in an expensive school on Wormwood Island, Maine, an Academy that only admits the best of the best. But once Anne gets to Cania Christy things go from strange to plain ol’crazy. Just exactly what kind of place did her father land her in... ... And that my friends, is the biggest question here and the biggest asset, The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant has to offer. The mystery of Wormwood Island. There is a lot to process here since this book has got to be one of the most evasive and intricately connected storylines I read in a very long time. The sheer mystery alone will have readers curious and hell bent to try to figure out what going on. Once the big reveal happened and our protagonist finally gets in on the big secrets, I could see why Wiebe chose to be so deceptive. It’s actually very clever once I go back and lock the pieces together and intertwine the island, the village, the school, the students, the tuition and the crazy-ass Headmaster. The twist and turns really made this book standout and demand attention. But wait, there’s more. I can’t leave out the Big V and PT. It all starts off with the obsessive competition all the students are racing for, the Big V, which is to win Valedictorian. Each student has a Guardian to oversee their progress academically but mostly making sure they are using their PT selection to the fullest. Prosperitas Thema is a moral quality statement that marks your strength and success in order to win the Big V. Strangely enough, Anne first quality selected is Seduction, but she actually went with her alternative PT, which was, Looking Closer. Why the first was even mention is beyond me since it was never really applied to the storyline except as a sexual advance by another character. The parents of the students also play a big role into the story; asking how far would you go for your child? Now, given that we don’t learn anything till almost near the end gave this book a huge info-dump making the beginning of the story hard to get through but the end of the book hard to put down. The pacing and flow feels way off, but was actually intentionally off balance to throw the reader and our main protag into a frenzy of questions with endless possibilities. It was difficult at times to wrap my head around, but I ended up really liking the ideas, concept and the paranormal twist that Joanna Wiebe created. I wish I could say the same thing about the characters though. They were driving me insane. The one character that I did like was Anne. I liked that she can total handle her own and that she’s not afraid to ask questions or stand up for herself, which sadly she had to do a lot in this book. She lives with a housemother who treats her like a business deal, the over played mean girls don’t waste anytime harassing her simple cause they can and the Headmaster’s idea of a warm welcome were insults and sexual innuendo’s and this pretty much happens within the first few chapters. So be warned, it starts off a bit ridiculous but it does get better. As for the rest of the characters, Ben and Pilot, I liked but I didn't. Ben acts cold and cruel towards Anne almost through the entire novel, but since he was trying to protect her, he’s easy to forgive. And as for Pilot, well, he was a good friend, the only friend that Anne had, but not everything is as it seems in this book. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that. My biggest issue here was Teddy. This is one guy I just did not understand. His looks are less then desirable, and he has a creepy factor going on that makes me want to shutter just thinking about him. He’s pleasant and supportive one minute and hostile and demanding the next. I also didn't care for his ‘it would be an abuse of power’ comment, only to turn around and suggest otherwise. Sick. But what I don’t get the most about this guy is I'm still not sure if he's good or evil. Everything about him felt very inconsistent, damaged and wrong. I also had a little issue with all the other sexual-attention used in this book, it was uncomfortable, tacky and gave the book an ick-factor that wasn't really necessary nor needed to get any points across. And last but not least, the love story. I’m not sure if I can say there was any real romance in this book since the mystery pretty much took up the entire novel, but I will say that I loved the connection between Ben and Anne and who Ben turned out to be. I never saw that coming and thought it was a very sweet touch to the storyline and probably one of my favorite moments. In a nut shell, I liked this book, but it was a struggle getting there. The writing is good, frustrating yes, but smart. The character drove me nuts, but even I have to admit, everything happens here for a reason and I liked that nothing is what it seems. The plot has a million twists and turns that made my head spin and made me feel like I was constantly missing something but when push comes to shove, this has a really great and creative story, and I’m curious enough to want to know what happens next. If you’re a fan of boarding school books, paranormal and crazy mystery then this may be a book you’d enjoy. It may not have always been easy to get through, but it was still worth the read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly (Book Swoon)

    Rating: 2.5 Stars My Review Filled with rich atmosphere, a mind-bending mystery and romance, The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe, began as an exciting and intriguing read but too many dark secrets, odd characters, and a confusing cliffhanger caused me to have mixed feelings towards the story. Anne Merchant, an art prodigy and the daughter of a poor funeral director, has just been accepted into Cania Christy, an elite and mysterious boarding school that holds many secrets and an Rating: 2.5 Stars My Review Filled with rich atmosphere, a mind-bending mystery and romance, The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe, began as an exciting and intriguing read but too many dark secrets, odd characters, and a confusing cliffhanger caused me to have mixed feelings towards the story. Anne Merchant, an art prodigy and the daughter of a poor funeral director, has just been accepted into Cania Christy, an elite and mysterious boarding school that holds many secrets and an even darker history. On a secluded island off the secluded coast of Maine, known as Wormwood Island, sits Cania Christy shrouded in mystery. As it's newest student, Anne can't help wondering how the daughter of a poor funeral director got accepted to an invitation only school. Surrounded by some of the world's most privilege (snooty, spoiled, mean, addicted, and weird) teens, Anne soon finds herself thrust into the Big V competition. A Valedictorian race where every junior is assigned a guardian (stalker) and a unique mission in order to succeed. Anne finds herself caught up in much more than a race, as she realizes the school and students take the competition to the whole new and deadly extreme. As Anne “looks closer” she begins to unravel layer upon layer of secrets kept hidden from her, secrets that have deadly consequences. The puzzle as to why Anne is at Cania Christy is only the beginning. The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant gave me many mixed feelings, some aspects of the book I really liked, others not so. One of my favorite elements of The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant was it's terrific setting. It oozes great atmosphere, it's setting on Wormwood Island is pure dark yummy-ness and a perfect setup for the story. I was intrigued by the overall plot and the whole mystery behind the Big V, how Anne got accepted, and why the villagers were not allowed to interact in any way with the students of Cania Christy. I also admired how well the story pulled all these elements together in the end while keeping me totally surprised with the cliffhanger. My main concern with the story was that there are just too many other little secrets going on. It felt overwhelming at times and confusing. The characters also gave me mixed feelings, some I liked, some felt flat, and some had ick written all over them. As far as protagonists go I liked Anne right away. She has a sassy personality and inquisitive nature that I found enjoyable. The fact that she lived above the Fair Oaks Funeral Home and her father is the funeral director was odd, scary and funny to me. A bit sarcastic, Anne often refers to herself as the weird morticians daughter, Death Chick, and even Wednesday Addams. Once at Cania Christy, Anne becomes inundated by secrets, and determined to solve them all which I admired. There was a unique friendship with a sweet villager named Molly that I liked and Pilot seemed cute and one of the few members of the school that wasn't crazy, mean or weird. Ben Zen, as a romantic interest and secondary character, was so mysterious and for the most part distant and unavailable in the story. I wanted to like him so much, but I could never really pin him down, nor warm up to his character. Villicus, the Headmaster of Cania, and Teddy, Anne's guardian, both scream weirdness and ickiness to me. I know this was totally how they are intended to make me, the reader feel, but I'm just saying it worked. Maybe too well. These guys were gross and more. Round this out with a group of privilege (cliche) mean girls who have their own agenda and are competing against Anne in the Big V, and you have a large cast of mostly characters I ended up not liking and or felt flat for me. I was hoping a swoon-worthy romance, but I'm sorry to say it really didn't happen. There was a connection between Ben and Anne, but because of all the secrets and Ben's very distant persona, the romance was lukewarm to me. The ending can only be described as an epic cliffhanger, and “What the heck just happened!?” Layer by layer the mystery was revealed and I was truly kept in the dark until the very last page, where everything I thought I had figured out went completely out the window. I was shocked to say the least. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I would have loved it if the mystery/secrets were streamed down with more focus on the main plot and the characters more balanced (especially Ben) and it had a swoon-worthy romance that's worth fighting for. The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant ended up truly somewhere in the middle for me. Loved some aspects, some not. My Rating: 2.5 stars. It was okay. PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by BenBella Books in exchange for my fair review. Thank you BenBella Books for the review opportunity!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristin (Blood,Sweat and Books)

    Reviewed originally@ Blood,Sweat and Books The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant was a book I knew I wanted to read the moment I came across it on Goodreads. I knew based on the description that it'd be good but when I started it I never would've guessed that it would turn out to be one of my favorite books read this year. One of the best parts about The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is the way it combines so many genres. Murder Mystery, Thriller, Action Adventure, Romance, Paranormal and Reviewed originally@ Blood,Sweat and Books The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant was a book I knew I wanted to read the moment I came across it on Goodreads. I knew based on the description that it'd be good but when I started it I never would've guessed that it would turn out to be one of my favorite books read this year. One of the best parts about The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is the way it combines so many genres. Murder Mystery, Thriller, Action Adventure, Romance, Paranormal and Horror are blended together with the Young Adult narrative quite creatively. I really enjoyed how smooth the transitions were between the times Anne spent relaxing with Molly or Pilot and the decidedly darker tones when she was at school vying to win the Big V. It kept me guessing right up til the end and never left me bored. Another thing that was great about the story were the characters. I really liked Anne. She has flaws but is artistic, headstrong and smart. Compared to Harper or any of the other girls she's a Saint. I also liked Molly. She was a great friend to Anne. It nearly broke my heart when they were separated due to circumstances beyond either ones control. Lastly, I liked Harper. If Regina from Mean Girls was crossed with Jennifer from Jennifer's Body you'd have Harper. She's to put it blunty a bitch with a capital B but honestly that is what makes her the perfect competition for Anne. As for the guys both Pilot & Ben have definitely been gifted in the looks department. There is a small love triangle between the guys and Anne but it doesn't detract from the story instead it plays a very important role with how things play out. I'm just going to say that I'm definitely Team Ben and I'll leave it at that. Lastly, I loved the twist at the end. I love when a story can pull the rug out from under me and The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant definitely succeeded in doing that. While the story does end on a cliffhanger all the major questions are answered and the plot resolved sufficiently (for me at least). To say I'm excited to see where the story goes in the next book is an understatement. Like I said it's resolved but with a cliffhanger the likes of which you'll just have to read the book to find out what it is. I will say that I'm rooting for Anne though cause boy does she ever have quite the dilemma on her hands. Now as I mentioned above the story did have a few small hiccups along the way. While they weren't enough to make me downgrade my rating I did take notice of them. First off, At times the characters felt like they were trying too hard to be socially relevant. The slang and snarkiness of Anne and her classmates felt very forced almost like the Author was trying to relate to how teenagers of today talk without witnessing any conversations for herself to set the standard by. To me it was bizarre at times but maybe I'm just too far removed from being a teen to "get" it. Secondly, I really hated the whole dance battle partly through the book. It just screamed bad 80's movie flashback. I just don't see Anne or heck even Harper being the sort of girl that would bust a groove all Save the Last Dance Style in the middle of the dance Big V competition or not. Hair pulling cat fight with clothes being torn off maybe but dance battle no. Finally, I really have to wonder what Anne was thinking staying at Cania Christy after the whole Molly debacle. I get that she feels she owes it to her father to stick things out but c'mon how can one be so accepting of what happened? The warning bells and sirens after that incident would have most normal people running for the next boat out of dodge Big V be damned. Final Thoughts Overall, despite the stories few faults I am completely in love with the start of this series. If you like character driven stories than you'll love The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant. I highly recommend picking this one up and giving it go. I will note that the story is probably best left to older readers as it explores dark concepts like suicide, murder, rape and using sexual gratification to get ahead. This one definitely skirts the line between YA & Adult in this readers opinion. With that being said, I'll be rating The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe ★★★★★. *Copy reviewed received through Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (i swim for oceans)

    View the full review here: http://www.iswimforoceans.org/2013/12... There is something to be said for cross-genre books that simply refuse to be confined by one genre. Since the paranormal genre has truly seen its heyday in the past few years, I've avoided it like the plague, but The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant piqued my interest with a premise that promises readers a little bit of everything. From murder mysteries, to drama, to action, horror, paranormal and a touch of romance, this book View the full review here: http://www.iswimforoceans.org/2013/12... There is something to be said for cross-genre books that simply refuse to be confined by one genre. Since the paranormal genre has truly seen its heyday in the past few years, I've avoided it like the plague, but The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant piqued my interest with a premise that promises readers a little bit of everything. From murder mysteries, to drama, to action, horror, paranormal and a touch of romance, this book takes no prisoners, giving readers a little bit of everything in a book that, for being rather slim in terms of similar novels, packs quite the punch. Author, Joanna Wiebe, weaves us into a world that's dark and alluring, but still accessible, reminding us that high school really can be hell. The setup behind The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant develops rapidly, and as the action quickly picks up, we can't help but become invested in this extremely off-kilter town and school. It seems as though every character in the novel has a story of their own, each of which adds a touch more mystery and intrigue to the mix. Ms. Wiebe takes her time leading the story towards the paranormal elements, so I originally thought that we were going to fall for the "ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances trap." I was pleasantly surprised to see, however, that the novel was simply setting a very grounded stage for the supernatural elements to unfurl and really take center stage. Anne was a delightful heroine to follow in such a haphazard tale. While everything moved and swirled like a funhouse mirror, Anne was a constant heroine that I was glad to become invested in. She has a headstrong persona, and rather than being a wilting flower like so many paranormal heroines, Anne is straightforward, smart and determined. It was easy to access her emotions and her reasoning behind her actions because they were so very human. The secondary characters also succeed. Molly was a fantastic friend and sidekick for Anne, while Harper is the quintessential queen bee that simply must have it all. I must say that I wasn't the most fond of either of the two main guys, Pilot and Ben, both of whom play a role in the slight love triangle. I never felt as though either character was fleshed out quite enough to root for them and, instead, ended up being annoyed with Ben's actions and his inactions. Despite this though, The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant offers us one hell of an adventure from start to finish. Perhaps the biggest success of this novel, however, is the fact that it successfully navigates the paranormal and supernatural genre without ever needing to give us either werewolves or vampires to solidify its status as such. Rather, the mystery takes center stage and, while it's a big over-the-top and quirky at times, for the most part, it kept me guessing throughout, and I can truly say that I was pleasantly surprised by the end outcome. Overall, despite a few minor hiccups along the way, The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant succeeds for me in the end. After a long departure from the genre, this was a welcome foray back into the fold, and I can honestly state that I can't wait to see where the series goes next. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy paranormal and mystery stories. I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ginny Gallagher

    --3.5 Stars-- The Unseemingly Education of Anne Merchant is book 1 in the V series by Joanna Wiebe. It tells the story of Anne Merchant, the daughter of a funeral director that mysteriously finds herself sponsored to attend Cania Christy Academy, an elite boarding school on an island off the coast of Maine. Since I am having a hard time starting this review I decided to go with a question and answer format on this one to help me sort out my thoughts on the book. If I had to use three words to --3.5 Stars-- The Unseemingly Education of Anne Merchant is book 1 in the V series by Joanna Wiebe. It tells the story of Anne Merchant, the daughter of a funeral director that mysteriously finds herself sponsored to attend Cania Christy Academy, an elite boarding school on an island off the coast of Maine. Since I am having a hard time starting this review I decided to go with a question and answer format on this one to help me sort out my thoughts on the book. If I had to use three words to describe The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant: Surprising, Dark, Allegorical Surprising. There are some twists and turns in the story that I never saw coming. One of the biggest things I liked about the story was the turn it takes when we find out what is really going on with Anne. Dark. The book is a young adult paranormal and it definitely has a darker theme to it. The author does a great job of building the suspense and keeping the reader guessing. There are some attempts at bringing a little lightness to the story that I felt feel a little flat. The biggest one that comes to mind is the dance off scene. It just didn’t fit with the character or the story and actually had me rolling my eyes. Allegorical. I hesitate to even say that because you never know if that was the author’s intention. But there were just so many things that seemed to be suggestive of deeper concepts than the surface story that I can’t help but think it was intentional. Whether intentional or not, it is another aspect of the story that I liked. How did I feel about the characters? They were okay. I was able to connect with Anne pretty well. The other characters not so much. I think that the “big secret” that is discovered as you read the book helps you to see the characters in a different light and might help explain the disconnection I felt towards many of them. How did I feel at the end of the book? Initially, I loved the story because I was so surprised at the direction it took. Then I realized that there are parts that I didn’t feel so great about. For instance, the “faculty” encourages several of the girls to act like sluts to get ahead in the competition. On the other side of that; I will say that when you find out what is really going on at this school it makes more sense why all that occurred. Summary: I would say this is a book for older YA. There are some sexual situations, drinking, and again things are a little on the dark side. The book ends in a “to be continued” cliffhanger so be prepared for that. The book has a unique storyline. It may not seem like it at first but trust me, it’s different. I was thrown for a loop when I found out what was really going on with Anne. The mystery and suspense part of the book are very well done and I feel like the characters will come together more in future books. *My Book Source: Publisher I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julia Moniz-Lecce

    Originally posted on my blog: Book Bindings Blog (I received an advance copy from BenBella Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review) Unfortunately, a little over halfway through, I stopped reading this book. Even though I didn’t finish reading it, I thought I would write a short review based on what I read and explain why I stopped reading. When I first picked up The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant, I was intrigued by the setting of an exclusive boarding school. I am drawn to Originally posted on my blog: Book Bindings Blog (I received an advance copy from BenBella Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review) Unfortunately, a little over halfway through, I stopped reading this book. Even though I didn’t finish reading it, I thought I would write a short review based on what I read and explain why I stopped reading. When I first picked up The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant, I was intrigued by the setting of an exclusive boarding school. I am drawn to books with that kind of environment because in my mind it influences what troubles are going to be set upon the characters, such as the presence of ghosts, the competition for highest grades, the ability of supernatural powers and so on. One of the reasons why I didn’t finish this book is that I didn’t understand what this school was centered on or what it was enforcing. All I really understood was that almost everyone was competing for a scholarship in a way that I had difficulty wrapping my head around. Basically, all new students are assigned a mentor on their first day at the boarding school. Their new mentor then “looks deep into their soul” just hours after meeting them and produces a skill that they think suits them most. The students must act by the skill they have been assigned and do so with such ferocity that, at the end of the year, whoever embodies it most wins the title of valedictorian and a guaranteed scholarship to the school of his or her choice. In the case of the protagonist, Anne Merchant, the first skill that her mentor comes up with is “seduction”. Then after some arguing on her part, the next thing that her mentor chooses, and what ends up being her skill for the year, is basically “looking deeper into things”. Which, as I kept reading, I realized she embodies as eavesdropping. It is stated at the beginning of the book that she was at the top of her class and was regarded as quite intelligent at her old school. However, this does not seem to be validated at her new school. I was actually disappointed when I read that part because up to that point I was enjoying it. I thought that some of the characters had intriguing personalities and I really valued that Anne had been trying her hardest to set herself up for a university scholarship. She seems like a smart, interesting, and independent girl. I just thought that this was overruled as the story progressed. Perhaps this changes or is addressed after I stopped reading. Unfortunately, this book wasn’t for me. Because I didn't finish The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant, I'm not going to give it a final rating. Subscribe or check out my blog, Book Bindings Blog, for more reviews!

  26. 5 out of 5

    BookLoversLife

    This was a pleasant surprise. Initially the cover drew me to look at the book and when I read the blurb I was pretty much sold. It sounded like something Id enjoy. While it did take me awhile to get into, I still loved every word. Anne is the daughter of a mortician. She has been around death since forever!! When her father sends her to Cania Christy she has no idea how her life will change. She wonders how her father could send her here because everyone is super rich but soon realises that there This was a pleasant surprise. Initially the cover drew me to look at the book and when I read the blurb I was pretty much sold. It sounded like something Id enjoy. While it did take me awhile to get into, I still loved every word. Anne is the daughter of a mortician. She has been around death since forever!! When her father sends her to Cania Christy she has no idea how her life will change. She wonders how her father could send her here because everyone is super rich but soon realises that there is more important things to find out. When the headmaster, whom she finds very creepy, tells her the rules, she knows this isnt as it seems and is intent on finding out. I really liked Anne, she is smart, strong and inquisitive. When she gets to meet the headmaster, he really creeps her out and with all the secrets and hints and rules he gives she has no idea what to make of him. Here the race for the Big V, Valedictorian, is the most important thing in the school, school work comes second. You aren't graded on your grades but on how well you preform your PT. Your PT is your strongest strength. Once you get your PT you have to live and breath it. Anne is told hers is to "look closer" which is apt because from the get go she has unanswered questions and everyone seems to be avoiding answering them. Pilot is the son of a famous senator. He has been at Cania for a few years and has no interest in the Big V race so Anne finds herself befriending him. He is easy to talk to and makes her laugh. She finds herself wanting to trust him in a place where no one seems trustworthy. He has her back and soon becomes someone she turns to. Ben Zin is Annes next door neighbour. He seems untouchable. Anne drools over him from a distance and never in a million years thinks he will talk to her. The first time they talk is in class when she tells him his art isnt all that. Ben was awesome. Mysterious, gorgeous and strong. He was swoon worthy!! I loved seeing his and Annes friendship grow, if at times they fell out!!! The Unseemly Education Of Anne Merchant is a book that is full of mystery and suspense. The characters are well written and developed. The whole plot is full of secrets, lies, intrigue and mystery. From the very start you are led on a journey that has you guessing and thinking to yourself, where is this going? When you think you have the answers the author throws another twist that leaves you breathless. Joanna Wiebe knows how to leave you hanging and wondering, she throws twist after twist after twist and doesnt let up, even in the ending!! When I got to the last page my first thought was I need book 2 like right now!! I cant wait to find out what happens and will definitely keep this author on my watch list.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vicky

    I will make this really short, because there is not that much to say, considering I stopped at about 15%. But: This book is full of judgmental shit and stereotypes. I wish I could give it no stars but oh well.. Let me explain why I hated the book: 1. I did not like the writing at all... it is just really terrible. You can check out the review below me for some examples because they sum it up really well. It is really ridiculous. 2. Anne is a judgemental bitch - she has stereotypes for everyone but I will make this really short, because there is not that much to say, considering I stopped at about 15%. But: This book is full of judgmental shit and stereotypes. I wish I could give it no stars but oh well.. Let me explain why I hated the book: 1. I did not like the writing at all... it is just really terrible. You can check out the review below me for some examples because they sum it up really well. It is really ridiculous. 2. Anne is a judgemental bitch - she has stereotypes for everyone but despite being a bitch herself, everyone thinks she is the shit: special, pretty and whatever. I don't get it. Reading from her perspective gave me a headache, I couldn't sympathize with her. 3. There are so many stereotypes: The rich kids don't like her because she is poor, Anne just went on a world trip, because she knows the nationality based on just one single look, no kidding -.- No one can do that. It is just that simple. There is so much stereotypical shit going on: The girl with the plain bond hair is from Russia, she knows that a girl is from Thailand just by looking at her and she even says someone is "Mandarin" despite Mandarin being a language being spoken in China. It is ridiculous. And this leads me to point 4: She knows the nationality based on one look- seriously? No one can do that and there might be people in countries who look different than one would imagine. It is just ridiculous and leads to point three: 3. The stereotypical portrayal of the German Headmaster. This is hurtful and upsetting for all Germans out there. Based on her description he seems like a Nazi and he calls her "nubile fraulein". WTF is this? Not even my grandfather called someone weird shit like this. This is just fucking upsetting and for me, since I am very sensible with the topic of how Germans are portrayed (I mean c'mon I live here) the tipping point of this already terrible book. So as you can see, this book uses all the nationality cliches and stereotypes. Should have googled a little moe about the countries and their people because this is shit. 4. There is so much shut-shaming - it is ridiculous. Just because you aren't in the popular crowd does not mean that they are all bitches and sluts! I don't know why this portrayal is so common, but it is terrible. Can't tell you more about the story - other than it is supposed to be terrible and about this ridiculous race to become valedictorian. So yeah, do yourself a favour and don't read it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Safia

    This was so terrible. Firstly, the main character was a hypocrite with no good qualities. Although the characters were quick to call her a genius for solving the mystery of the school, she actually learned all of it either through hints from other or literally just happening upon resources left out in the open for no reason other than to reveal quite literally the biggest secret of the entire book. Even without those resources, it was unbelievably obvious. Additionally, in spite of the author's This was so terrible. Firstly, the main character was a hypocrite with no good qualities. Although the characters were quick to call her a genius for solving the mystery of the school, she actually learned all of it either through hints from other or literally just happening upon resources left out in the open for no reason other than to reveal quite literally the biggest secret of the entire book. Even without those resources, it was unbelievably obvious. Additionally, in spite of the author's attempts to paint Anne as a strong female lead, this protagonist was stupidly blind in her attempts to be brave, undoubtedly shallow when claiming a talent of 'looking deeper', and insufferably self absorbed, self important, and wholly pretentious in an effort to appear unconventional and unlike her stereotypically defined classmates. She shames one group in particular. The 'popular clique' is painted as vapid, shallow, rude sluts, and Anne is particularly at odds with them. The author attempts to create these scenes in a way that advertises Anne as relatable to teens who may not fit in conventional crowds. However, Anne only manages to develop her feelings of superiority, and the author just furthers harmful assumptions about teenage girls while even perpetuating slut shaming. The development of the author's characters only confirmed my suspicions that the author has no real grasp of teenagers. She even went so far as to make one of the main 'showdowns' between Anne and the main 'popular' girl a scene in which they challenge each other to a literal dance battle. And get this - not only does our so lovable protagonist win, but she is full of "swagger" and, unimpressed, she literally waves off the other girl's dance moves, which are described as- big surprise- "grinding an unseen pole", "hip rolls", and "chest bouncing". This is only one of many horrible attempts at conveying what she believes to be teen culture. It left me cringing the entire time. I'm so disappointed that a book with so much plot potential turned out to be so poorly developed. There were so many loose ends in the end, and the book's ending dragged on with what the author attempted to be plot twist after plot twist. In spite of all this, the book had its moments. While the book had major potential, it was ultimately poorly written and disappointingly underdeveloped.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Webb

    Two years after finding her mother dead in their kitchen, Anne Merchant's father sends her to an ultra exclusive school on a remote island for rich kids. The only problem is, she isn't anywhere close to being rich, so how did her father pay for it? But that's not the only question Anne has to answer as weird things happen at the school, the teens all seem to be in a highly competitive race for valedictorian, and Ben, the son of the top recruiter for the school, tries to help her figure out the Two years after finding her mother dead in their kitchen, Anne Merchant's father sends her to an ultra exclusive school on a remote island for rich kids. The only problem is, she isn't anywhere close to being rich, so how did her father pay for it? But that's not the only question Anne has to answer as weird things happen at the school, the teens all seem to be in a highly competitive race for valedictorian, and Ben, the son of the top recruiter for the school, tries to help her figure out the truth without breaking his own vows that bind him. This book is really great. The moment the book picks up, we are thrust into the world of Cania Christy and the odd people that attend there. At every chapter you are asking yourself what in the hell is going on and who can Anne really trust. Some things are obvious, if you remember your classic tales, but others are not and those reveals are shocking and delicious. By the end of this, my grabby hands for the sequel could not be contained, but unfortunately I have no idea when it comes out as this book isn't even published yet. Curses! The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars was my struggle with my feelings towards Ben. I felt like he could have been a little less cryptic and there should have been more scenes between him and Anne. I understand why there weren't since he was trying to save her from certain people, but at the same time if his attraction to her is that great, he could have slowed down the Ducati long enough to at least offer a ride or give her a once over. Then that whole scene where he said they would never be friends and she almost cried, I just wanted to punch him. Of course by the end, things are different, but still. In the second book, I hope that since everyone knows what's going on now, they can have more interaction together while still being on the lookout for a certain soulless teacher...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Majanka

    Book Review originally published here: http://www.iheartreading.net/reviews/... Anne Merchant has always been different. She’s poor, her mother passed away and her Dad has the best job in the world – he’s a mortician. Yet, somehow, Anne ends up at a super-selective school, Cania Christy, a school for the world’s wealthiest teens. How she got there, since she’s poor? God knows. It’s super-important to be Valedictorian at this school, and even though that should usually mean just getting the best Book Review originally published here: http://www.iheartreading.net/reviews/... Anne Merchant has always been different. She’s poor, her mother passed away and her Dad has the best job in the world – he’s a mortician. Yet, somehow, Anne ends up at a super-selective school, Cania Christy, a school for the world’s wealthiest teens. How she got there, since she’s poor? God knows. It’s super-important to be Valedictorian at this school, and even though that should usually mean just getting the best grades, apparently it means a lot more here. You can even set one of the challenge yourselves, to become Valedictorian. But despite becoming Valedictorian being on everyone’s most-wanted list, there are still the typical high school clichés. There’s the Mean Girl clique, which Anne immediately brands as skanks, even though she’s seen them for half a second. Anne is apparently loved by everyone. She’s such a special cookie everyone wants a piece of her. Even though she manages to judge everyone in one single second. While the book is supposed to be about this mystery surrounding the island and its inhabitants, we spend most of the time reading about anything but the mystery. Heck, there’s even a dance-off. This book is one cliché on top of another cliché wrapped in a cloak of clichéness. Did I mention that there’s a love triangle as well? Yeah…It’s that bad. I’m giving it two starts because the mystery somewhat redeemed the second half of the book, and because I didn’t figure it out right away, so that part of the book was entertaining. If Anne had been less of a Mary Sue character, I might’ve been able to look past the writing, the cliché cliques at school, and everything else, but Anne pretty much ruined things for me. The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant had potential, but failed to deliver.

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