- Series: Stranje House (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Tor Teen (May 19, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765376008
- ISBN-13: 978-0765376008
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 0.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A School for Unusual Girls: A Stranje House Novel Hardcover – May 19, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—This intriguing series opener is a tale of daring, conspiracy, adventure, and romance set against the tumultuous, backdrop of war-torn Europe in 1814. Napoleon is in exile on Elba, dignitaries from across Europe are gathering at the Congress of Vienna, and assassination plots are rumored. At the cavernous Stranje House in England, a select group of spirited, inventive, and nonconformist girls are secretly learning espionage tactics. Georgiana Fitzwilliam has an unconventional aptitude and enthusiasm for math and science. When one of her experiments accidentally leads to a fire in her father's stables, Georgie is banished by her exasperated parents to the supposedly harsh, reforming tutelage of Headmistress Emily Stranje. Georgie gradually discovers that all is not as it seems. Her classmates have special talents; her headmistress is a clever, well-connected, resourceful teacher; and visiting Lord Sebastian Wyatt is on a covert mission. Georgie's invention of invisible ink becomes a vital secret communication weapon supporting the new order in Europe. Although the novel is rich in historical references, language, and culture, not all of the happenings are actually true. This alternative history series will appeal to fans of Gail Carriger's works and "The Cecelia and Kate" novels (Harcourt) by Patricia C. Wrede and Carolyn Stevermer. Teens will enjoy the well-drawn cast of characters and identify with 19th-century Georgie's angst, insecurity, desire for independence, and first love. VERDICT The spunky, naive, and passsionate protagonist will resonate with readers, who will appreciate the lively, fast-paced narrative of personal discovery, maturing realizations, and understanding.—Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC
“Baldwin has an ear for period dialogue as she draws us into this world of sharp, smart young ladies who are actually being trained and deployed for the British war effort.... Swoony moments also abound.” ―New York Times Book Review
“Romance readers who prize both brains and valor in a heroine will be pleased to make Georgie's acquaintance.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“A School for Unusual Girls sucked me in from the first few pages and kept me reading until late into the night. Kathleen Baldwin has created a completely original--and totally engrossing--world, full of smart girls, handsome boys, and sinister mysteries. Who wouldn't want to enroll?” ―Meg Cabot, bestselling author of The Princess Diaries
“Spellbinding! A School for Unusual Girls is a beautifully written tale of adventure, intrigue, and romance that will appeal to every girl who has ever felt different…. A true page-turner!” ―Rachel Hawthorne, NYT and USA Today bestselling author of Trouble from the Start
“Baldwin has crafted a Regency romance that celebrates smart, strong young women who, while careful to embrace many of society's mores, hold their own with the men they encounter, oftentimes besting them both intellectually and physically.... Readers can look forward to revisiting these enthralling characters and their adventures and romances in the Stranje House series.” ―Booklist
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Top customer reviews
She likes science. *shudders delicately* She also has red hair and freckles in a society that abhors both. But it's her love of experiments that is perceived to be the greater of evils . . . *whispers* Well bred young ladies DO NOT science.
And when her father's stable and a quarter of a neighboring orchard burns to ash as a direct result of one of said experiments, her parents have had enough.
They pack her up and dump her out at Stranje House, a boarding school rumored to employ such barbarous practices as TORTURE to transform the exceptional daughters of the upper classes into unexceptional, but infinitely more marriageable, ladies.
After touring the dungeon (at her father's behest), observing the rack (not currently in use), and witnessing two girls strapped into hideous contraptions (one of them a sarcophagus equipped with nails), Georgiana decides she'd rather run than be subjected to such mistreatment.
Instead of an exit, she discovers a hidden passageway, and upon further exploration, she overhears two men--GASP!--discussing the very experiment that got her sent to Stranje House, in the first place.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?! *giggle snorts*
It means that things aren't as they appear, of course.
Except for the fact that her parents are wretched for leaving her in a place they believed to be as awful as Stranje House . . .
There’s no escaping that fact for poor Georgiana.
But Miss Stranje gives her an opportunity to do what she loves, to make a difference, to make a significant contribution to the world, and she grabs onto it with both hands.
And Georgiana isn't alone at Stranje House.
Among the other girls, only Lady Jane has a gift the can be construed as mundane (a flair for making estates profitable), while the others have . . . more unusual gifts. There's Tess, who has prophetic dreams and seems to understand animals, Sera, who sees the truth of things, and Maya, whose voice is strangely compelling.
But why is Miss Stranje collecting these outcasts of society? Why are such extreme measures being taken to ensure there will be no interference from their (despicable) relations?
Read it and find out. *winks*
A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS by Kathleen Baldwin . . . is utterly and delightfully . . . ridiculous. The next time you need a pretty bit of fluff to cleanse your palate, I highly recommend you give this one a try. If you're unsure, try the preview chapters. That's what I did, and I was hooked before I reached its end.
I also liked how the author took historical figures and events and tweaked them with some "what ifs" to create a fascinating story line. The book kept my attention throughout and was, frankly, hard to put down.
But what I loved the most were the girls in Miss Stranje's house. They were rejected by their families and society for not being ordinary enough. They were exceptional - and therefore, they were outcasts. But Miss Stranje appreciates the uniqueness and ability of the girls. She nurtures them and helps them to develop their amazing talents and skills. Under Miss Stranje's care, Georgie finds acceptance, hope, and a new purpose for her life. But even more than that, the girl that was rejected for being too different finds a family.
I heartily recommend this book for teenagers and adults. If you like history, romance, and adventure, you'll love "A School for Unusual Girls."
Although I loved Georgie and the independence this story created, I hated whenever it turned away from her and went to the other girls in the house. I don't mind a little bit of a side story, but I felt that every other chapter started off with one of the other girls for a few pages before focusing back on Georgie again. I also feel that the ending was extremely unresolved considering the brief inside look of the second boo.k. Had it continued along with this story line tied the strings of this book, I would be less against the idea of focusing on a different girl. But, because the book ended with a promise for Georgie and Sebastian to one day meet again and the questions of if he would make it through, I feel as if the second book should continue this story line to the end.
Overall this was a well planned and beautifully written novel with strong characters and difference of perspective.