Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review: The Secret School

The Secret School by Avi

Recommended For: Ages 10 to Adult

Rating: G

More than anything, fourteen-year-old Ida Bidson wants to become a teacher. That's not going to be easy, especially for a girl living in the remote Colorado mountains in 1925. Still, Ida knows she can do it. She just needs to finish eighth grade so she can go on to high school.
But then her town's one-room school unexpectedly closes, and for the first time, Ida's dream seems unattainable. Her only hope is to keep the school open without anyone finding out. Yet even a secret school needs a teacher. Ida can't be it...Or can she?

After Wolf Rider and Escape From Memory, this was a nice lighter read. I saved it for last and I'm glad I did. It was worth the wait.

Writing: 5/5
I...honestly don't remember much about the writing. Nothing caught my attention or drew me out of the story. I don't think it was this book I kept noticing typos in. I'm going to assume since nothing stood out, the writing was well-done. I certainly don't have any reason to mark the writing down any.

Setting: 5/5
1925. An odd mix of the old and the new, old-fashioned living and newly-invented technology. Out in the Colorado mountains, there wasn't much technology. Only a car or two. And telephones are mentioned. There are trains, but they aren't new. The settings were vivid, accurate, and well-done.

Plot: 5/5
The plot is simple, but sometimes the simple plots are the best. This was one of those, Though simple, it was exciting, funny, and heart-felt. And  the climax was well-done and not cheesy as is so often done in books of this type.

Character Development: 5/5
I really felt like I knew Ida Bidson. She was well-rounded and interesting. Also, I liked Tom and Ida's little brother whose name for the life of me I can't remember. And Herbert. Such a puzzle, but a well-done one. The characters alone were worth the read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction or pioneers. It's definitely worth reading.

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