#BookReview The St. Ambrose School for Girls by Jessica Ward @SimonSchusterCA #TheStAmbroseSchoolforGirls #JessicaWard #SimonSchusterCA Title: The St. Ambrose School for Girls

Author: Jessica Ward

Published by: Gallery Books on Jul. 11, 2023

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 368

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

Heathers meets The Secret History in this thrilling coming-of-age novel set in a boarding school where the secrets are devastating—and deadly.

When Sarah Taylor arrives at the exclusive St. Ambrose School, she’s carrying more baggage than just what fits in her suitcase. She knows she’s not like the other girls—if the shabby, all-black, non-designer clothes don’t give that away, the bottle of lithium hidden in her desk drawer sure does.

St. Ambrose’s queen bee, Greta Stanhope, picks Sarah as a target from day one and the most popular, powerful, horrible girl at school is relentless in making sure Sarah knows what the pecking order is. Thankfully, Sarah makes an ally out of her roommate Ellen “Strots” Strotsberry, a cigarette-huffing, devil-may-care athlete who takes no bullshit. Also down the hall is Nick Hollis, the devastatingly handsome RA, and the object of more than one St. Ambrose student’s fantasies. Between Strots and Nick, Sarah hopes she can make it through the semester, dealing with not only her schoolwork and a recent bipolar diagnosis, but Greta’s increasingly malicious pranks.

Sarah is determined not to give Greta the satisfaction of breaking her. But when scandal unfolds, and someone ends up dead, her world threatens to unravel in ways she could never have imagined. The St. Ambrose School for Girls is a dangerous, delicious, twisty coming-of-age tale that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.


Review:

Sinister, atmospheric, and unpredictable!

The St. Ambrose School for Girls transports you back to 1991 and into the life of Sarah Taylor, a fifteen-year-old girl with severe self-loathing and mental health issues that reluctantly heads to an elite private girl’s school in Greensboro Falls, Massachusetts, where all she wants to do is muddle through and be left alone, but when the poplar mean girl gets her in her sights everything starts to spiral out of control, secrets are exposed, reputations are ruined, and someone ends up dead.

The writing is tight and intense. The characters are damaged, secretive, insecure, and selfish. And the plot is a suspenseful, twisty, coming-of-age tale filled with friendship, drama, deception, jealousy, hatred, abuse, callousness, desperation, cruelty, and revenge.

I’m always intrigued when an author decides to write something a little different than what they’re well known for and so I was excited when I received this one. Would I say it’s as memorable as the novels found in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series? Probably not. Did I love it as much as one of my all-time favourite series, The Bourbon Kings? Definitely not. But Ward wasn’t writing it to be like either of these. And so, do I think The St. Ambrose School for Girls is an engrossing, tight, edgy, dark academia novel that’s highly entertaining and worth a read? I sure do.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jessica Ward

Jessica Ward is a pseudonym for the #1 New York Times bestselling author who writes as J.R. Ward and has over 20 million copies in print. She enjoys spending time in the Adirondacks and lives in the south with her family and her dogs.

Photo Credit: Andrew Hyslop

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