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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Olivia's First Term by Lyn Gardner

Olivia is sad and lonely and angry - angry that she's been dumped with her sister eel at her grandmother's school, and angrier still that that school turns out to be a stage school where there's no encouragement for her to do what she loves best: practice her circus skills. But in the course of a turbulent first term, Olivia finds out much more than she bargained for about the theatre, about friendship, about enemies, about her family and about herself.
This is the first book in a new series, written by Lyn Gardner, who is a theatre critic for The Guardian newspaper.
Olivia and her sister Eel Marvell travel with their father to London and to The Swan Academy of Theatre and Dance, which is owned by their grandmother, Alicia Swan, who they have not seen since their mother died many years previous. As daughters of a circus high wire artist, they both have some performance flair but are not the usual students who enrol at the Academy.
The story is a modern day tale of a stage school but one with traditional values, where children must excel in both song, acting or dance alongside the traditional subjects of maths, English etc. There are many characters within the book, which children will be able to relate to; the popular girl, who has everything she wants, but finds money or blackmail can't buy friendship; the quiet and studious children who work to the best of their ability who the popular children prey upon; along with other individuals who all add to the school in their own way.
Girls will love this book, it is a great story, with many messages within the story about friendship. It is a great read, one which children will love to read themselves or share with someone at story time. There are further books in the series planned and I am sure this series could become as popular as Enid Blytons Malory towers and st Clare's series! I for one am looking forward to the next in the series to be released.
The cover is stunning - it will stand out on any shop/library shelf and I am sure girls everywhere will be reaching for it soon.
Thank you to Michael at The School Run Forum for sending me this book to review.

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