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Review: Viola in Reel Life

October 1, 2009

Viola in Reel Life

Viola Chesterton is from Brooklyn and her parents are documentary filmmakers.  When Viola’s parents accept an assignment in Afghanistan, Viola is sent to Prefect Academy, a boarding school in South Bend, Indiana, for a year.  Viola cries as they leave and is miserable at first.  She feels abandoned and lonely, and she misses her best friend back in Brooklyn.

With the help of her roommates, her grandmother, and her film making abilities, Viola not only survives her first year but gains new confidence and learns a lot about herself along the way.  Viola says:

Marisol just says that word sister lightly, like right off the top of her head without thinking.  But all my life, I have wished for a sister.  I had hoped my parents would have a baby when I was small, and then when I got to be twelve I wanted them to go to China and adopt.  But Mom would always smile and say, “We have our hands full with you.” And maybe she was right.   But what Mom never told me is that along the way, you find sisters, and they find you.  Girls are very cool that way.

Viola in Reel Life is Adriana Trigiani‘s first YA novel and I absolutely loved it!  This isn’t edgy YA, but rather a sweet story about growing up and gaining confidence.  Viola is a great character because she’s not perfect, but she tries to learn from her mistakes.  I got teary-eyed in a few places as Viola grew stronger, gained some confidence and came to value her friends and family.  I’ve read that this might become a series and I really hope so!

The fabulous Amy got me an autographed copy of this book at BEA!!  Julie pointed out Adriana Trigiani in the crowd and I committed a major faux pas by calling out her name and running over and giving her a big hug.  She was very gracious though, and even mentioned emails we had exchanged six months earlier.  Adriana is amazing and I adore her and her books!  Listen to her discuss Viola in Reel Life on Blog Talk Radio here.

37 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2009 7:13 am

    I have read a couple of good reviews about this one. Definitely one for the list.

  2. October 1, 2009 7:34 am

    It is so true. We do find sisters in the way of life. I know I have.

    I will check this out.

  3. October 1, 2009 8:37 am

    I love the quote about finding sisters. I have only brothers and went through stages in my life wishing for a sister. I love the story of you hugging Trigiani!

  4. October 1, 2009 8:54 am

    I like the cover. I’ve read a little of this, and I’d definitely like to finish it.

  5. October 1, 2009 8:55 am

    Nice review! I have been seeing a lot of talk about this book online and might have to check it out.

  6. October 1, 2009 9:06 am

    I really enjoyed this book and I love the quote you included. I was touched by her relationship with her grandmother.

  7. October 1, 2009 9:12 am

    I have this on hold at the library…I’m excited to read a Trigiani YA!

  8. October 1, 2009 9:16 am

    This is a wonderful book for young girls! I truly appreciated the characters and the messages. I even gained more appreciation for the book after listening to the radio show. I LOVE ADRIANA!

  9. October 1, 2009 9:16 am

    I like that Trigiani is branching into the world of YA. Looks cute!

  10. October 1, 2009 9:17 am

    OK, Viola has my admiration already, because I’ve been to South Bend. In fact, out of college I had a job offer there and I decided I’d rather go hungry than live there! The book sounds wonderful. I giggled at the thought of you rushing the author and hugging her! Who can blame you for your excitement though?

  11. October 1, 2009 10:32 am

    This book sounded so good; great review. I’ve enjoyed her books in the past.

  12. October 1, 2009 10:52 am

    I have a thing for boarding school stories, so I’m definitely curious about this.

  13. October 1, 2009 11:18 am

    What a great quote; I’ve always felt that way about some of my closest girlfriends — we are like sisters. Sounds like a sweet book 🙂

  14. October 1, 2009 11:41 am

    Adriana Trigiani is one of my all time favorite authors. I can honestly say I’ve read all her books and they are all good. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one!

  15. October 1, 2009 11:44 am

    This does sound like it would be a fun YA book. Thanks for the recommendation.

  16. October 1, 2009 12:14 pm

    Sounds like a great book – one that my niece would probably devour! 🙂

    ~ Wendi

  17. October 1, 2009 12:26 pm

    I’m glad to see that this is a good book. I really enjoyed listening to the call last night.

  18. October 1, 2009 1:23 pm

    I”m so so so glad you enjoyed it!

  19. October 1, 2009 1:33 pm

    I really want to read this one – it looks so good! Congrats about the blurb on the book by the way – impressive!!

  20. October 1, 2009 2:14 pm

    This sounds good! I’ve read, and enjoyed, some of her adult stuff. I’m going to add this to the to be read list. Great review!

  21. October 1, 2009 3:16 pm

    Wow, that’s an impressive story about BEA!

  22. October 1, 2009 3:17 pm

    Kathy I just finished reading it and I have been recommending it to the girls in my neighborhood. They were surprised to hear me telling them about it.

    This is truly a good book and I know their parents will like it too and not have to worry about the content.

    I am dying to read her other books in this series as well as her adult ones. My review will be up this week.

  23. October 1, 2009 3:23 pm

    This looks and sounds so good!! Great review!

  24. October 1, 2009 3:25 pm

    Sounds like a great read. Will definitely have to read it!

  25. October 1, 2009 4:10 pm

    I have read three or four books by Trigiani, and I think she’s a very talented author. I am glad to hear that this book was such a good read, I am going to be grabbing a copy soon. Great review, and also, it’s very cool that you have a personal relationship with her.

  26. October 1, 2009 5:10 pm

    I am a huge fan of Adriana as well and can understand your excitement in hugging her! I can’t wait to read this book and I’m glad that she’s branching out into YA fiction. She is a gifted writer.

  27. stacybuckeye permalink
    October 1, 2009 5:32 pm

    Just picturing you calling out her name and rushing to give her a hug made me smile 🙂 This one is on my wish list already.

  28. October 1, 2009 10:32 pm

    We all get star struck sometimes! 🙂 How fun. She is an author that I buy all her books. Can’t wait to read this Viola one. I have her DVD talking about each of her books, and she seems so real.

  29. October 1, 2009 10:54 pm

    I like stories like this and this one looks like a great YA book. Thanks for the review, Kathy!

  30. October 1, 2009 11:32 pm

    I’m lucky enough to have a fabulous sister. In her honor I think I’ll buy the book and pass it on for her to read. Wonderful review, Kathy.

  31. October 2, 2009 2:54 am

    Sounds kind of neat. I always thought boarding school would be fun as a kid lol. Not too sure I would have enjoyed it half as much as I thought I would though. Glad you got it autographed, neat!

  32. October 2, 2009 9:11 pm

    This looks terrific. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but now I think I’ll look for it!

  33. October 2, 2009 10:00 pm

    I saw this book somewhere today and thought it sounded really good. I’m glad to see you really liked it. I hope I get to read it one of these days.

  34. October 3, 2009 10:01 pm

    I enjoyed this book, too. It was refreshingly lacking the ubiquitous mean girls and teen sex!

  35. October 5, 2009 9:42 am

    Thanks for a great review. I like the looks of this one…sounds captivating. I particularly like the quote you included.

  36. October 5, 2009 10:57 am

    Sounds like my kind of YA. I’ll have to keep this one in mind.


  37. October 5, 2009 10:52 pm

    Wow, you’re brave – I would never have the guts to call out an author’s name in public! Great review, I can’t wait to read this one.

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