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The School For Dangerous Girls Hardcover – January 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545035287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545035286
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,031,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Angela Cardenas's parents have had enough of her irresponsible and difficult behavior and, as a last resort, they send the teen to the Hidden Oak School for Girls, a boarding school in rural Colorado. There the girls are divided into two streams, those who can be rehabilitated—the gold thread, and those who can't—the purple thread. Gold thread girls get schooling and etiquette class, whereas purple thread girls are imprisoned underground. They brutally self-govern, are subjected to mistreatment, and resort to violence to survive. Instead of allowing herself to be convinced that she deserves the punishment she receives, Angela decides to find a way to close the school permanently. A romance with the son of a teacher and the discovery of mysterious deaths from when Hidden Oak was a boys' prep school add suspense; however, the plot becomes too muddled, with some holes, and the tension comes too late. Angela's character is complex and full of contradictions, but all of the adult characters are either vicious or clueless. The extended detail used to establish conditions at Hidden Oak is disproportionate to the quick resolution. The struggle and eventual triumph of the bad girls over the evil teachers makes for an intriguing conflict that many teens will appreciate; however, some may find the easy ending a disappointment. For more discussion of nature vs. nurture, suggest Catherine Jinks's Evil Genius (Harcourt, 2007).—Amy J. Chow, The Brearley School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

“What the hell kind of school has a blindfold as standard issue?“ Angela Cardenas discovers that blindfolds are not the only odd things about Hidden Oak boarding school. Supposedly a last-stop chance for rehabilitating “dangerous” girls, the school has an agenda that is not necessarily what it advertises. After having their possessions and clothing taken from them and uniforms issued, the freshmen spend the first month isolated from the rest of campus. As the month draws to a close, girls start to disappear one by one. Those who are redeemable are sorted into the gold thread; the others, Angela later learns, are sorted into the purple thread and are living a “Lord of the Flies” existence with little adult intervention. In an effort to save her friends, Angela decides to be really bad in hopes of getting moved to purple thread. Teens might behave dangerously themselves to get their hands on this page-turner with its commentary on education. Angela cautions, “You’re totally playing into their power system.” Rebecca replies, “Isn’t that how all schools work?” Grades 8-11. --Cindy Dobrez

More About the Author

ELIOT SCHREFER is a resident of New York City and an honors graduate of Harvard College. A contributor to The Huffington Post and a reviewer for USAToday, Eliot has been profiled in Newsweek, New York Magazine, the New York Post, WWD, and NPR's "Leonard Lopate Show." His first novel, Glamorous Disasters, became an international bestseller. He has since been writing for young adults. His books have been translated into Russian, Polish, Romanian, and German.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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4 star
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See all 86 customer reviews
This book is definitely written more for teenagers, though young adults will enjoy it too.
T. Casto
The not-so-good: The book felt like a conglomeration of recent reads, and the fast pace meant a sacrifice in plot and character development.
BooksieDaisy
I can definitely see how other readers would really like these characters and this book, but it just wasn't to my taste.
Camy Tang

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on February 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Angela Cardenas knows she's probably not the best or most well-behaved daughter out there. But then again, she's 15, her grandfather just died, and her parents are being completely mean and forcing her never to see her boyfriend, Trevor, again. It's tough being a girl.

Still, Angela's parents decide she has had enough chances, and they forcibly enroll her at Hidden Oak, a school for dangerous girls. When Angela arrives, she and the other new girls listen to one of the school's teachers explain the rules and mission statement behind Hidden Oak. The particularly haunting motto is, "You are your own worst enemy. And together we will defeat that enemy."

While the treatment of the girls during their "orientation" is horrible, Angela has little trouble finding her niche with a few girls: her roommate, Carmen, who is timid and shy; Riley, who seems to hate Angela but puts up with her anyway; and Juin, their half-French ringleader. Together, they form a "coven" and try to determine what is going on at Hidden Oak. But just as they're starting to figure some things out, girls from their orientation group start to disappear, and it isn't until Angela herself disappears that she realizes what's happening: the teachers are dividing them into dangerous girls who can be corrected and dangerous girls who cannot.

Of course, Angela must do a little detective work. Desperate to learn the history of the school and find out the fate of her cousin, Pilar, who has also attended, she just can't help getting on the bad side of some of the teachers, especially Mrs. Vienna, who seems to have a special vendetta reserved for Angela.

THE SCHOOL FOR DANGEROUS GIRLS is excellently crafted.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kim Cantrell on January 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Eliot Schrefer's School for Dangerous girls is a good start to what could, with a little tweeking, be an awesome book.

Readers are introduced to a group of rogue teens who wind up at a boarding school for troubled youth that has quite the troubled history itself. The main character, Angela, a young, latina girl who is suspected to have played a serious role in the death of grandfather by her parents, is determined to expose the school for the worse-than-prison place that it is.

However, as another reviewer stated, Schrefer does not develop the characters enough to allow readers to become "involved" with them and their plight. In addition, there are many incidents within the book that appear to lead nowhere to overall story.

Lastly, the issues surrounding Angela's grandfather's death never really seem to be resolved. While readers are given a somewhat vague recollection by Angela on what "may have" occured, it is never really stated in full. And the boyfriend, the root of all troubles, just exits himself from the story with a simple email - which may or may not have actually been from him, but readers will never know.

With a bit of reworking, this could actually be an interesting story. Being that it is geared toward the young adult reader, I'm not sure that, without tweeking, it could actually hold their attention.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sherry Berry VINE VOICE on February 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What happens when you're a girl who is so bad that your parents decide that the last resort is to send you to a school designed for dangerous girls?

This is exactly what this book entails. Right from the beginning, the author captures you and lures you into this world that is captivating. I started to read the book without seeing who the author was and was certain that it was a woman who wrote the book. Imagine to my surprise when I see in the back cover that it's a man who wrote this. What Schrefer is able to capture is the voice of a girl who is often misunderstood and rebellious only because to her, it's the only way.

Angela's psychological torture and development as a character drives the story more than anything else. The adventures are fun, yes, but the psychology concepts that were thrown in the book was very intriguing to me. Sure, this is a teen book. However, there's also something deeper to it. There is a sense of maturity to the topics at hand.

All in all, I couldn't help but read as fast as I can because I want to know what happens to the girls and if the school would ever turn Angela submissive.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JC Chupack on December 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a train wreck. You can't tear yourself away, and yet it's not pleasurable to read. I won't spend a ton of time summarizing; you can get that from the excerpt and summary above. Instead, let's discuss whether this is worth reading.

In the opening scene, a strict authoritarian woman lectures young women on the rules they will obey while at the school. Much time is spent describing appearances. If you only read the first few pages, you might think that you're reading a badly written erotic novel. Actually, if this had a little more R-rated material, it might fit better in that category. As is, we get a weakly developed plot with flat characters and a "mystery" that fizzles on the page.

I'm sure there will be some praise for this book because it features a minority lead. The lead character is a Hispanic girl. However, I have to say that it wasn't until halfway through the book that I realized she was Hispanic, since no description of her family, her history, or her features give clues as to her ethnicity. Most strikingly, though the story is told in her limited first person view, she never speaks Spanish (though another character speaks some limited French in the novel) until the very end, not even in slang or speaking to theoretically close friends of the same ethnicity. Perhaps some part of the author's point is that the story is, to some extent, color blind? If so, I feel like the point is lost. It instead seems like minorities were peppered into the story at a later date to add value and interest, or perhaps to make the story more realistic. In the end, it feels like the author, by writing in the voice of a teenage Latina, is writing from a perspective from which he has little or no experience.
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