Monday, August 16, 2010

Review: Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani

Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani (April 2010, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, ISBN: 1847389260)

First Line: You would not want to be me.

Review: Fourteen year old Viola Chesterton is sent from her home in Brooklyn to South Bend, Indiana, to stay for a year at the Prefect Academy (for girls) whilst her documentary-film-maker parents go on a lengthy assignment in Afghanistan.

Needless to say Viola is not happy at leaving her family, friends, school and potential boyfriend and initially is determined to be miserable. Fortunately her three room-mates encourage her to change her attitude and she finds that her skills with her camera may just change her life.

Viola in Reel Life is a heart-warming read, a feel-good book, a fairy-tale even. Contrary to what I was expecting, it's not full of conflict and angst rather it's just Viola growing up amongst a very supportive set of friends. At first Viola isn't particularly likeable but she mellows out. Whilst at boarding school, Viola experiences her first dance, her first boyfriend and makes her first film. These events are told at a steady pace, with no real tension, except near the end, but it's a very pleasant read. There is a touch of the supernatural that pushes Viola in one direction but it's very slight. I enjoyed Viola in Reel Life, and I'll certainly read the follow up, Viola in the Spotlight published next year, so that I can meet her New York friends which include her best friend Andrew.


  1. I really enjoyed this book, I didn't know that there would be a sequel, thanks for the info!

  2. I absolutely loved this one. It was my first Adriana Trigiani book, and what an introduction!

  3. Thanks for the review! I can't wait to read this one. I'm waiting for the 2nd book's UK cover to decide which one I'm going to collect. I like both for different reasons, so I'm not sure... which do you like more?

  4. It's a tricky one on the covers. The UK one is very cute and the book is sweet but the main character is quite prickly. I think I prefer the US one ever-so slightly :). But I'm not so struck on the US cover of the follow-up: though it'll probably grow on me.