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Viola in Reel Life Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Viola Series

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 1, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–9—Viola's parents dumped her in the middle of nowhere. Well maybe "nowhere" isn't exactly true and perhaps "dumped" is too strong a word. As documentary filmmakers, her parents follow their stories. While they are filming in Afghanistan, they send their daughter to Prefect Academy for Young Women in South Bend, IN. Away from her home and friends in Brooklyn, Viola has resolved to be miserable. Her only comfort is in her daily IM conversations with her BFF, Andrew, and her personal video diary, "The Viola Reels." Then she meets her roommates, who are too great to be indifferent toward. Her constant video-camera-toting lands her on committees for school functions. To top it all off she meets a boy who shares her interest at a school dance. Suddenly, the ninth grader is happy, busy, and feeling at home. She even enters a film competition. Through the help and support of her friends and family, it could just be the short film of her dreams, maybe even good enough to win the competition. Viola in Reel Life is a sweet, character-driven story. Viola is very real, as are her feelings, hopes, desires, and dreams. There is not a lot of action, but the relationships portrayed in the book make it well worth reading.—Melyssa Malinowski, Kenwood High School, Baltimore, MD END


“A cold, snowy winter, a ghost mystery, kisses, cookies, roommates, a video diary, a film competition, and Viola’s crack-me-up-every time observations all make this an endearing coming of age story…exceptionally fun.” (Richie's Picks )

“A sweet, character-driven story. Viola is very real, as are her feelings, hopes, desires, and dreams.” (School Library Journal )

“This book reminds each of us that a fish out of water really can find a new pond! Read it to remind yourself that your friends really do teach you something new every day.” (Justine Magazine )

“Sarah Dessen for middle school…Trigiani deftly shows that teenage girls can be independent, have positive self-images, and be happy.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) )

“Best-selling adult author Trigiani nicely captures boarding-school bonding, adolescent female insecurities, and current teen trends. Fun, breezy, and full of subtle life lessons, this is a good follow-up or prequel to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.” (Booklist )

“Trigiani (Big Stone Gap) takes the familiar boarding school milieu and gives it some welcome nuance and a refreshingly grounded feel in her debut YA work. [She] offers a realistic look at the ever–shifting bonds of friendship and the adjustment to one’s first taste of life away from home.” (Publishers Weekly )

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Product Details

  • Series: Viola in Reel Life
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061451029
  • ASIN: B00394DGFU
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Viola in Reel Life is the first book I've read by Adriana Trigiani, and it definitely won't be my last. Her witty writing had me laughing all the way through Viola's story, and I loved every minute of it.

Viola's adjustment to life in South Bend, Indiana fascinated me, and I was eager for her to fit in right from chapter one. The way she adapts and gives her new school a try really made me think about how I live my own life, and how new experiences can be good -- daunting, but worthwhile in the end. Suzanne, Marisol and Romy, the roommates she meets at The Prefect Academy For Girls, are exactly the type of friends I would have wanted in ninth grade. They're supportive, individual and, most importantly, unwaveringly loyal to each other. They bring Viola out of her snarky shell, and help her in her quest to become a successful filmmaker.

The boys in this book are both sweet and infuriating. Andrew, Viola's BFF from back home in Brooklyn, is brought to us through the use of IM messages, which manage to get his personality across surprisingly well. I hope he has a part in the rest of the series, as I really want to know what's going on in his head. First boyfriend Jared is one of those boys that seems great on the outside, but underneath, he's not all he's cracked up to be. I thought Viola's relationship was very realistic, and representative of a lot of first outings into the world of romance.

Trigiani has completely hooked me with this book, Viola's endearing Brooklyn background, and her ninth grade stint in Indiana. I heard that the next three books will all be from a different character's point of view, and I can't wait to find out what happens to this captivating group of girls, as they continue to experience new things and shape each other's lives.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ninth grade is tough enough without being shipped off to a boarding school in Indiana when all you have ever known is life is your parents and Brooklyn. But Viola can adapt, even from behind a video camera in Adriana Trigiani's Viola in Real Life.

Viola has no interest in going to an all girls' school and even less interest in being shipped off to Indiana. But she can still talk to her BFF Andrew via instant message when she needs to and her video diary is her one stable outlet. When she meets her roommates, she realizes just how out of her element she is. The girls are nice, but she is not ready to really let them in.

Slowly but surely, the girls worming their way into Viola's life. It takes a few false starts, but eventually, they are able to make her realize they are there for her. Once she lets them in, she sees just how much she missed having a friend to share everything with, especially now that Andrew has a girlfriend and isn't available like he used to be. But a dance at the local boys' school finds Viola with a boyfriend, and amazingly enough, a boyfriend who is into films as well! But Reel Life isn't always what you expect it to be.

When I first started this book, I didn't realize it was about a 9th grade girl. I thought it was more young adult than the middle reader it turned out to be, so I think my misconception made it difficult for me to enjoy this book fully. I like a good middle reader, but sometimes this book felt too juvenile and too cliche for me. For instance, Viola's roommates are too mature, clear-headed, and rational for 9th grade girls. I can buy one, maybe two girls, but all of them? I have spent time in the girls' dorm at our school. I have never seen that many rational girls that age in one place!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is written for teenagers. And it is good for them. I just love anything by Adriana Trigiani and had to read this one too. It didn't relate to me, but I have granddaughter who would certainly understand how Viola was feeling and all the angst there is to being a teenager, trying to figure life out. Viola has to learn to look deeper into her parents role and life and to look unselfishly to realize how much they truly love her and are doing the best they can. Life is not perfect, nor ever is, but we must glean from the circumstances the best we can to help us through rough times and find joy in the midst of the trials....and grow up some. Hard to do when the focus of teens is on themselves.... Viola learned some real lessons as she filmed her life for a year at this boarding school. Teens would enjoy this. Connie G
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Format: Hardcover
Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girl school in South Bend, Indiana. Her boarding school is far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. There is no way that she is going to survive a whole year here. She is going to miss her best friend Andrew and Caitlin. She now has to replace it with her three new roommates, who actually like it. Most of the time, Viola is hidden behind her video camera, but what happens when she puts her camera down and starts living her life.
This is the first book that I have read of Adriana Trigiani, but it won't be my last. Her writing was witty and amazing. I was laughing for most of the book. I was really glad that Viola adjusted to boarding school. Suzanne, Marisol and Romy were amazing roommates. They reminded me a lot of friends that I had as a freshmen. Trigiani was able to bring Andrew's personality and Jared was also interesting. I am definitely going to have to read her other books soon. It was a great coming of age novel and I really enjoyed it. I recommend checking it out.
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