Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Viola in Reel Life Review

Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: September 1, 2009
Source: Author

I'm marooned.


Left to rot in boarding school . . .

Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world.


There's no way Viola's going to survive the year—especially since she has to replace her best friend Andrew with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to like it there. She resorts to viewing the world (and hiding) behind the lens of her video camera.

Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she thought they would be, and soon Viola realizes she may be in for the most incredible year of her life.

But first she has to put the camera down and let the world in.


Viola in Reel Life was a slow paced, but enjoyable read. The plot took a little while to get into and the real twists didn’t start until the end. The last 100 pages or so were great and made the whole novel worth reading. Viola was a character that I wasn’t sure about at first, but I could relate to her. As an only child myself I could understand Viola’s worries about making friends and missing her family at boarding school. I could never imagine leaving my family and friends for a year to go somewhere so far away. It was a good experience for Viola because she learned a lot. She learned how to be a better friend and by the end of the novel she had matured a lot. I really liked all the characters: her roommates, Grand, Trish, they were all well developed and likable. Each of Viola’s roommates helped her to rediscover who she really was and one of my favorite parts of the novel was when they were all working on the film together. This was an original concept and the mystery angle tied in with the film made it hard to stop reading. The ending was excellent, and everything tied together well, but I’m eager for the sequel. I’m hoping to hear more about her boarding school friends and Andrew.

This is a perfect read for middle schoolers plus. There wasn’t anything inappropriate and there was just a bit of romance. I loved the film aspect of Viola in Reel Life. I learned a lot about making movies and filming in general that I never would have known before. I loved the reference to old movies and movie stars like Cary Grant (one of my personal favorites) as well. When the sequel is released I will be sure to pick it up as I’m interested to know where Viola will go next, whether to boarding school or not, I would love to hear more about her. Viola’s narration was fun and light, and the reader could fall easily into her world. Her descriptions of everything were really funny and she had me laughing out loud. An enjoyable read I will be sure to recommend.

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars


  1. Great review. This sounds really cute. I will have to read it soon. =]

  2. I've been looking at this book for a while but it seemed like it'd be slow and a bit under my level. Still deciding whether to read or not... Great review!

  3. Great review! It's good to know that it picks up in the last 100 pages, because that means that if I pick it up I'll try to get through it. I'll have to add this one to my list.

  4. Hm, sounds cute. Might read this one when I'm up for a light read. Though I hope I'm not driven off by the slow beginning... Great review! :)

  5. I read one of Trigani's other novels and found it kind of similar, kind of slow to get into and then the meat of the story came later. Whiel I've picked up other novels since I haven't actually read any of them for that reason. Nice review though!

  6. This one sounds cute (but slow beginnings always bug me)! But, I do like fun narrators...

    Thanks for the review, Kelsey!


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