Posted 20 hours ago

The War at Ellsmere

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There are any number of school stories built on this same framework, and Hicks doesn't do anything spectacularly novel with the plotline.

The magic beast gets introduced by Orphan who told a tale of the school (duh) about two brothers disappearing in the forest (duh).

Still, in the interest of padding better informing the potential consumer, I glanced through the book again to jog the memory of it. Firstly she is mostly self-confident that through her academic ability she should be at Ellsmere and secondly she has found a good friend in Cassie.

The War at Ellsmere's pretty much what it has to be, so we read and are aware of where it must go and what it must do to get there. It has all the good stuff; mean girls, competition, friendships, advocating for what is right and even some magic!Except for the ending, where a fantastical creature arrives to save the day in a very surprising instance of deus ex machina. Hicks’ characters are built of expressions and she sells these effortlessly, taking a character through a range of visible, discernible emotions across the space of a single page. Aside from the ending, which baffled me, the book is an easy read, quite engaging, and nothing if not pleasant. Luckily, she makes friends with her roommate Cassie, who is sweet-natured and a little kooky; she often mentions things like alien abductions, and she's the one who tells Jun all the crazy stories about the school's mysterious history and the creature said to roam the nearby woods punishing evil. 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.

We travelled back to Hornsea for a quick break, staying once again at Ellesmere (well, why go elsewhere? That seems to be exactly what's going on with Emily, and I like that Hicks didn't fall into the popular=mean cliche. However, I do think that this projected a rather plain and typical representation of the tropes in this book. While working on their assignment near the forest they see a strange creature moving through the trees. The book doesn’t have the most original story and the drama plays out fairly predictably but because the characters are so well realised, you’re with them for the whole ride and the to-ing and fro-ing between Jun and Emily was more than enough to keep me invested.When studious thirteen-year-old Juniper wins a scholarship to the prestigious Ellsmere Academy, she expects to find a scholastic utopia. Jun, the MC, is on a scholarship at a prestigious boarding school and immediately becomes the mean girl's target. We sat in the garden after breakfast with our coffee and was joined by the hosts who were very friendly and we even spent a bit of time with Darcey the Retriever who is lovely.

I love the way that the images are framed and give different perspectives of characters on one spread. But living at Ellsmere is far from ideal: she is labeled a 'special project', Ellsmere's queen bee is out to destroy both her and her new friend Cassie, and it's rumored that a mythical beast roams the forest next to the school .Previously published in black-and-white, this edition sports updated line art and solid color work by Shelli Paroline that subtly enhances Hicks’s original art. After twenty years of suffering through Ontario’s obscenely hot summers, she migrated east, and now lives beside the other ocean in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They never do quite escape their destiny—a fate commanded by demographic—but it's an admirable attempt and I was happy to be there for it.

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