Monday, August 31, 2009

Review: Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani

Tags: MG, YA, boarding school, friendship, filmmaking

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


Aspiring filmmaker 14-year-old Viola has been the only child of devoted documentary filmmakers her whole life, but her parents’ overseas assignment brings her to Prefect Academy, a boarding school for girls. Viola is sure that she’ll hate PA, but surprisingly she befriends her three roommates Marisol, Romy and Suzanne, and begins to learn that, with the help of loving friends and family, she, too, can flourish in a new environment.


VIOLA IN REEL LIFE is a straightforwardly charming book about learning to survive on your own. Adriana Trigiani’s YA debut is irresistible and chaste, perfect for readers of all ages.

Viola has a certain amount of spark and wit that I admire. She is always ready with a snarky comment—courtesy of her New York upbringing, says she—but she remains an adorably vulnerable girl, on her own for the first time in her life.

There are some aspects of this book that require some suspension of disbelief. For example, it’s pretty remarkable that a 14-year-old already knows what she wants to do with her life. Furthermore, her dealings with boys, particularly the easy way that Jared comes so smoothly into her life, are aspects that take away from the believability of this book. Through awkward plot points—or lack thereof—however, Viola’s dealings with her roommates, family, old friends, and potential love interests are realistic, and thus endearing.

I really enjoyed being with Viola for her freshman year at Prefect Academy. Despite the lack of interesting plot, Viola herself is appealing, and readers will enjoy following her through this period of growth. The ending suggests the possibility of a sequel, which I wouldn’t mind at all. VIOLA IN REEL LIFE is an agreeable addition to the world of MG and YA realistic fiction.

Similar Authors
Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants)
Jill Alexander (The Sweetheart of Prosper County)

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 2/5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - The yellow shoes are perfect for this character (but you'll have to read the book to find out why...). Also, I have a feeling that this cover is unlike many YA covers, in that it--along with the author's name--are sure to attract adult readers, which is great!

HarperTeen / Sept. 1, 2009


  1. Snap - I just posted my review too! lol. Yay!

    I loved this book, and I can't wait for the sequels. As far as I know, there are going to be 3: one from each character's perspective. I can't find where I read that, but I hope it's true! :)

  2. Thanks for the review! I'm super excited to read this and I really love the cover. It's so pretty.

  3. Interesting review. I've been trying to think about the balance between character and plot, so it's a perfect review to read today. Thank you.

  4. Sounds like a good book! Like something I could share with my 7th grade girls. And I like that it's NOT a "supernatural" book of some type.

    Thanks for the review

  5. Ooh, I absolutely want to get my hands on this one! I love Adriana Trigiani -- I was so excited to see she's started a YA series. Her novel Very Valentine is one of my favorite reads of the year! Great review -- I hope to get this one soon :)


Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...