Book Review: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe

17675434Title: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

Author: Joanna Wiebe

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks.

One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why.

As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.

Anne Merchant has always been different. She’s poor, her mother passed away and her Dad has the best job in the world – he’s a mortician. Yet, somehow, Anne ends up at a super-selective school, Cania Christy, a school for the world’s wealthiest teens. How she got there, since she’s poor? God knows. It’s super-important to be Valedictorian at this school, and even though that should usually mean just getting the best grades, apparently it means a lot more here. You can even set one of the challenge yourselves, to become Valedictorian.  But despite becoming Valedictorian being on everyone’s most-wanted list, there are still the typical high school clichés. There’s the Mean Girl clique, which Anne immediately brands as skanks, even though she’s seen them for half a second.

Anne is apparently loved by everyone. She’s such a special cookie everyone wants a piece of her. Even though she manages to judge everyone in one single second. While the book is supposed to be about this mystery surrounding the island and its inhabitants, we spend most of the time reading about anything but the mystery. Heck, there’s even a dance-off. This book is one cliché on top of another cliché wrapped in a cloak of clichéness. Did I mention that there’s a love triangle as well? Yeah…It’s that bad.

I’m giving it two starts because the mystery somewhat redeemed the second half of the book, and because I didn’t figure it out right away, so that part of the book was entertaining. If Anne had been less of a Mary Sue character, I might’ve been able to look past the writing, the cliché cliques at school, and everything else, but Anne pretty much ruined things for me. The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant had potential, but failed to deliver.

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