Stella by Helen Eve
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Macmillan Children’s
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Books about boarding schools are usually my kryptonite. I love the friendships that build between than characters as they dorm together and I adore the movie ‘Wild Child’ (along with every other 2007 Emma Roberts movie.) I thought that this book was going to be original. The first two chapters, which introduced the main characters made me laugh out loud. I had high hopes.
However, this book definitely peaked too soon. And by peaked to soon I mean from Chapter 3. When I thought it was going to be original, I was completely wrong. This book is a ‘Mean Girls’ remake, tied in with ‘My Sister Jodie’ by Jacqueline Wilson.
The story line was divided between Stella, the Regina, and Caitlin, the Cady. I don’t need to tell who how the story goes. It was the classic ‘an-unpopular-girl-usurps-the-popular-girl-and-turns-the-social-system-on-its-head-but-then-just-becomes-popular-and-conceited.’ Along with a tragic back story that acted as a self fulfilling prophecy for Stella concerning her dead sister, Siena.
This book went back and forth between Stella being powerful and Caitlin being powerful. It disgusts me to think that schools could actually be like that, and people could dote on one girl or guy for recognition and reassurance of their own popularity. How does someone get to the position Stella held?
I would have liked this book a lot more if there wasn’t such a focus on appearances. Vanity and narcissism were huge themes throughout this novel – the fashion labels and references alienated me as a reader that isn’t well versed in fashion. I think that the characters were way too self involved and conceited, that they couldn’t see past their own trauma.
As for Stella and Caitlin as popular dictators of boarding school society, it is NOT OK to put down someone that isn’t carrying the latest Pucci Gucci Juicci whatever handbag. It is NOT OK to make other people feel like rubbish because they don’t have a lot of friends or they had braces or lacklustre hair.
I saw every ‘plot twist’ coming. If you’ve watched ‘Mean Girls’, you will to. For that reason, among with many others, I gave this book only 1 star. Seriously, I can’t give it any higher because I am against everything it stands for. Popularity is not the most important thing. Back-stabbing girls and fickle friendships are not what I want to read about.
If you want to read a book about boarding schools with good messages, read ‘Secrets of St. Jude’s’ series by Carmen Reid instead.