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The Academie Hardcover – February 28, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599905868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599905860
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.3 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,144,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susanne Dunlap graduated from Smith College and later earned a PhD in music history from Yale University. She is the author of two historical novels for adults and three novels for teens: The Musician's Daughter, Anastasia's Secret, and In the Shadow of the Lamp.www.susannedunlap.com

More About the Author

I've had a varied work life, writing advertising copy for agencies in New York and London and doing marketing and fundraising for arts organizations. After graduating from Smith College in 1976, I moved to London, where I lived for ten years. I returned to New York with my children in 1986, and soon after that started graduate school. A lifelong writer, I turned to historical fiction after finishing my PhD in music history at Yale University in 1999. I saw it as a way to bring my deep love of music and history to a wider public.

After publishing two adult historical novels with Simon & Schuster, I turned to young adult fiction with The Musician's Daughter, published by Bloomsbury Children's, followed by Anastasia's Secret, about the youngest grand duchess in the doomed Romanov family. In April, 2012, In the Shadow of the Lamp will be published by Bloomsbury. It's the story of a young parlormaid who stows away to go with Florence Nightingale and her nurses to the Crimea.

Customer Reviews

Sometimes that's cool, but in this case I don't think it would have been a bad thing if I was right.
Jen @ The Bevy Bibliotheque
The historical events portrayed were interesting enough, and written about in such a lovely way, that I did not mind at all that the pace was just a bit slow.
Literary Obsession
Unfortunately there were a few plot elements in The Academie that left me feeling a bit confused, and the end of the book was like HOLY WHAT.
Tara Gonzalez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By sarah@catchingbooks on February 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
What a really fun read!! I haven't really read any historical novels in a while so it was really fun reading something from a different time period! One of the first things that caught my eye about this novel was the setting/location. It was really interesting to see what France was like right after the revolution, especially from a teenager's perspective. Susanne Dunlap does a really great job of describing the setting and making the reader really able to imagine France during this time.

One of my favorite parts about this book was that the chapters rotated between the different characters in the book. At first, I wasn't a huge fan of the main character Eliza, but as the book went on and I learned more about her, I really started to like her. Her character developed a lot throughout the novel and in the end I really enjoyed seeing what happened to Eliza and her friends.

Another part of this novel that I really enjoyed was the suspense and mystery that I got from reading this book. I thought the book was going to go in one direction, but by the end I was totally wrong and something happened that I did not see coming!! I love when books surprise me and keep me on edge, and this novel definitely did this for me!!

Overall, I really enjoyed The Académie, and I recommend that you all check this book out if you are looking for a great historical young adult novel!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jaylia3 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Four teenage girls in post-revolutionary France have personal plans for their own liberty, happiness and love. Eliza Monroe, the daughter of a future US president, Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter of Josephine and step-daughter of Napoleon, Caroline Bonaparte, the sister of the future emperor, and Madeleine, the daughter of a beautiful but deranged former slave, are living in a era of great transition. King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette have been deposed and beheaded, aristocratic titles are officially meaningless, the citizenry is just recovering from the horrors of the Reign of Terror, and military leader Napoleon Bonaparte is rising in power.

When the book opens Eliza is somewhat self-involved and superficial. She's very happy to be in Paris, still a world center of fashion, parties, culture and style, and she's miffed that her mother is sending her off to a boarding school in Saint-Germaine-en-Laye where she's sure she'll be far from all the interesting action. Her attitude changes when she finds out that the very well-connected Hortense and Caroline are fellow students. It takes longer to discover what Madeleine's story is, and she's the only one of the four characters who didn't actually exist.

The narrative is told in rotating first person ruminations of Eliza, Hortense and Madeleine. While all four girls attempt to orchestrate dramatic shifts in their circumstances and love lives, it is Eliza that changes the most. Her family owns slaves back in Virginia, and she begins the book with an unquestioning acceptance of that practice and a firm belief in inherent racial differences. By the end of the book, especially after getting to know Madeleine, Eliza is rethinking many of her assumptions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christina (A Reader of Fictions) on March 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I love the cover (how much do I want that dress?!?!), but it didn't immediately say historical fiction to me. My first thought was high class school, only modern. Further study revealed the old-fashioned necklace and the sleeves on the dress. Either way, pretty! Given how much I am drawn to book covers, I was, of course, super excited to read this book, because, obviously, I judge solely by appearances.

The story is told from the perspectives of three different girls, Eliza, Hortense, and Madeleine. While I do tend to like books told from the perspectives of multiple characters, I had a bit of difficulty with this one. For one thing, not one of these three girls was especially likable. All lacked common sense. Often, I also had difficulty telling the narrators apart as well.

I also thought it was strange that the book was called The Académie when most of the book was not actually spent at the title institution. There were few scenes about their education. All the school really did was bring the main characters together (in fact, only two of the three attended the school). Rather than being about the boarding school, it was about three, well actually four (Caroline, who has as much 'screen' time as the others, perhaps more than Madeleine does not get any narration), girls and their pursuit of love.

What really struck me here I guess was how young even the oldest of the girls seemed. Their romantic plans seem so childish, even less realistic than a lot of the YA romances where the 15 year olds are convinced they will be in love for all time. I didn't ship any of the couples in here at all. Everyone involved just needs to do some more maturation.

I really hope that some serious editing was done before the publication, because this galley had way more typos and grammatical errors than the average. I've done some research on Dunlap and have heard good things about her, so I do plan to give one of her earlier books a try.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amber @ The Musings of ALMYBNENR on April 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 3.5

Eliza Monroe, the daughter of the future president of the United States, is excited to learn she will be accompanying her mother to Paris until she learns of her mother's plan to deposit her at a highly prestigious boarding school outside of Paris. Eliza's spirits rise again, a little, when she realizes two of France's most well-known young ladies are also in residence: the beautiful Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Joséphine Bonaparte and the cunning Caroline Bonaparte, the youngest sister of Napoléon Bonaparte.

It does not take long for Eliza, the youngest of the three girls, to figure out that Hortense and Caroline are enemies - all because of Caroline's doing.

An American girl from Virginia, privileged, traveled to France in 1799 to polish her manners and French at Madame Campan's L'Académie Nationale à Saint Germain. Eliza was reluctant to attend, hoping to spend her time in Paris at parties and boutiques, but she brightened when she met her famous classmates.

Eliza was young, I believe about fourteen, and a bit spoiled. She was also naïve and her age showed. But she was also a good person underneath. Hortense, the stepdaughter of Napoléon, was a couple of years older and more worldly, but gracious. Caroline, on the other hand, was the eldest and she was always scheming and bullying Hortense.
From the synopsis, one would believe The Académie was all about these three young ladies. However, it was a bit misleading because although the book was written from three points-of-view, it did not include Caroline. Instead, the reader learned about life at the school from Eliza and Hortense, and then there was this third point-of-view from Madeleine, the daughter of a famous, but cruel, actress.
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