Published February 5th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.
I’ve been meaning to read this book for years now. I added it to my TBR way back when because I absolutely loved the cover and I thought the synopsis looked quirky and fun! Whilst this book was a light, quick read, I felt like it was at odds with itself sometimes.
I loved the MC! She was fun and a complete misfit – and thats what I loved about her. She didn’t fit in and conform to what society expected of her and whilst it bothered her in some aspects, she was still true to herself and she had fun doing it! She made friends easily, whether they were upperclass or lower-class and she treated everyone fairly – no matter what class! She did make some improvements in the sense that she learnt social etiquette… along with espionage techniques, but ultimately, her personality stayed the same!
I also really enjoyed the relationships that Sophronia had with the other girls in the school. I liked the way her friendships came about! I would’ve liked to have seen more of the rivalry between Monique and Sophronia because I felt like it came on pretty suddenly from being something that was relatively petty! I also really liked Dimity! She was a fun and quirky character and I definitely feel like she added a certain light heartedness to the book.
I often felt like the book was at odds with itself. It was steampunk, set in Victorian era. It took me a while to get used to the robots in a victorian setting, and I felt like it didn’t fit sometimes. I also felt like the language didn’t always flow and sometimes it was more modern and then it would switch back to old fashioned language. I also felt like the girls were too modern… if that makes sense? I felt like they were the kind of girls you would see today and then they would say or do something that would transport them back and put them into the right characteristics of being from the victorian era. All in all, I felt like the book criticised itself throughout.
All in all, I had fun reading this book, despite its flaws. It was a quick and quirky read and I am really looking forward to starting book 2! I gave this book 3/5 stars.