Review: Grimstone Academy

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Grimstone Academy
by Jen Oldham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grimstone Academy / B003CV7USE

Ben would like you to know that, no matter what you may have heard, he didn't set the school cafeteria on fire. Well, alright, so maybe he did, but he didn't do it on *purpose*. And it really wasn't his fault that he's been kicked out of more schools than he can count, he's just been having a rough time lately. Yet here he is, on the way to the Grimstone Academy for Wayward Children, and he'll consider himself lucky if his father bothers to show up for the event, what with walking out on the family in the dead of night and not coming back.

I love the wry wit and humor of this piece - it really sets the piece apart as a noteworthy excerpt and not just another coming-of-age delinquency novel. Ben's wry observations about his family, from his chronically irresponsible dad to his obsessively protective mother, are golden, and his new headmistress more than matches him in skill - I particularly enjoyed her quip that he had applied himself, but just not to the correct subjects. I really think you have a real winner here, and a piece worthy of polish and publishing.

If I may make one suggestion, though, it would be that I think this excerpt could benefit from a little more polishing. Occasionally, Ben's breaks from the narrative ("Okay, I was wrong." and "Apparently someone is of me.") seem in danger of upsetting the flow of the story, even if it is a continuation of Ben's wit and falderal. I think a little editing, perhaps with a professional, might help to preserve that wit without the narrative breaks - it's something to think about at least.

Were the full version of this novel to be published, I would definitely buy it now. To the author - if you do publish this work, I would be most grateful if you would let me know.

NOTE: This review is based on a sample excerpt of this book provided through the ABNA contest.

~ Ana Mardoll

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