Oh, what a pleasant surprise! One Year at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks caught me off-guard with how much I enjoyed it. I have got to tell you all about this First-Second books, graphic novel. It might be just the thing for your early teenage daughters!
About One Year at Ellsmere
Faith Erin Hicks has put together a beautifully inked 176-page graphic novel. Published by Firstsecondbooks, this is a wonderful middle school read, about a scholarship girl ending up at a prestigious academy for girls.
You’ll find competition, bullying, real friendship, a mystery, and girls learning to stand for what is right.
From the cover: Was boarding school supposed to be this hard?
When studious thirteen-year-old Juniper wins a scholarship to the prestigious Ellsmere Academy, she expects to find a scholastic utopia. But living at Ellsmere is far from ideal: She is labeled a special project,” Ellsmere’s queen bee is out to destroy her, and it’s rumored that a mythical beast roams the forest next to the school.
I loved watching friendship bloom between two outcasts, but I particulary enjoyed Jun’s refusal to be bullied. Her attitude is one that I wished I had possessed as a teenager, it would have made life so much better! 🙂
Should you get it?
I thoroughly enjoyed this illustrated novel, I found it well-written albeit a bit predictable. The characters were well-developed and very recognizable.
There is some magic involved for those who are concerned about such things. It helps to resolve an issue. One year at Ellsmere, overall, is a good book for middle school students. I see it as more geared to girls than boys, but think boys could learn a few things as well! 🙂
If you are doing a unit on bullying and want to have a discussion about how to handle it, the themes within could easily provide a spring board.