CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 4 . . . . September 26, 2014
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant takes place on a mysterious island where the children of the world's elite attend Cania Christy, a private boarding school, and compete against each other to become valedictorian. The students here are wealthy, physically perfect, and obsessed with "The Big V". Anne Merchant knows she does not belong here; her father is a simple funeral director, and she is far from perfect. As she begins to learn more about the school, its students and teachers, Anne becomes aware that Cania Christy is not simply a school - but what is it? This is a deliciously dark and smart Gothic fantasy that pulls you in from the beginning and manages to surprise you again and again.
Anne, a strong female character who is dealing with the death of her mother and growing into her body, is a thoroughly believable figure. Wiebe uses Anne's developing sexuality and connection to the dead to create a disturbing and fascinating weave of character voice and atmosphere.
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is a definite must-read for any teen (or adult) with a taste for dark tales.
Laura Dunford is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program at the University of British Columbia.
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