A School for Unusual Girls
Author: Kathleen Baldwin
Publication Date: May 19th 2015
Publisher: Tor Teen
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.
After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts...
Oh, A School for Unusual Girls, you were made for me, taking out the Regency England, which I've only read around four or five books, tops, of them. But, everything else. The characters. The romance. The humour. The cleverness. Basically, just all of it. It is similar to The Lovegrove Legacy series, although not in plot, but in what makes the book absolutely wonderful, not that it doesn't have its flaws, because it does, but it's that type of book that I don't even care because I adored it.
As you can tell, I loved and loved everything about A School for Unusual Girls, but the characters are what makes it so outstanding. There's a good mix of characters, Georgie, our main, is smart (when it comes to actual smarts, and not female society smarts) and she's a strong character, but she is insecure when it comes to looks (and how beautiful she actually is, which is your typical eye rolling trope, but it didn't bother me too much) and men, and that's mainly down to her mother, who is simply, a bitch. Sebastian's your typical broody, jerk of a male love interest, but there are two reasons for that. One being it's how he comes across because Georgie doesn't understand that he's flirting with her most of the time, and two, I can't tell you. Their banter and back and forth insults are hilarious, and okay, it was a bit insta-lovey at parts and the romance wasn't as slow burn as I usually like, but we had he will-they, wont-they teasing scenes and I'm a sucker for it and I just shipped them, okay? The other Stranje girls are fun and feisty, I just wished they were fleshed out more and that we got to know them properly, because they have a lot more to offer to the story, and it looks like each book in the series is going to be based on a character, so we will be. You know what a good story does with "evil" characters? Makes you hate them, and honestly, I got increasingly frustrated with them, so that worked.
My main issue with A School for Unusual Girls was, it took me a good 50 pages to get into it, and the plot didn't really play into the story until well over halfway. I was expecting more from the school and outside of it, especially on the espionage front and while the war was always present in the background, and the carrying on with the scientific experiment was to get an upper hand, I thought it would feel more...well, present as I thought it would be throughout the first half. Until...
The second half.
That seamlessly wove in everything I wanted of it, between the political drama, the espionage from the girls, and where the alternate history takes it's turn, and if you're like me and have a hard time with a slower paced beginning, read through it, because I promise you, good things await you.
Full of banter, wit and sneakiness, a romance that's so damn cute, and a balance in humor, if you love Alyxandra Harvey's The Lovegrove Legacy Series, you'll love A School for Unusual Girls.