Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani
Publication Date: 1 Sept. 2009
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Silver star (3/5 stars)
Synopsis: When fourteen-year-old Viola is sent from her beloved Brooklyn to boarding school in Indiana for ninth grade, she overcomes her initial reservations as she makes friends with her roommates, goes on a real date, and uses the unsettling ghost she keeps seeing as the subject of a short film—her first. (I found the original synopsis too long so I am posting the one which can be found on Adriana Trigiani’s website.)
Review: I wanted to love this book as I really liked the idea of it. However, initially, Viola was so whiny that I could hardly stand her. I felt sympathetic for Viola at the beginning but her constant whinning about her plight gets old quickly. You may get the same reaction as me but do give Viola a chance. As the story progressed, I definitely liked Viola more. But I think in the end, I still prefer her friends more. How ironic but I would love to be friends with Marisol and Suzanne!
I hate to say this but Viola could be a little unthoughtful at times and I felt her level of maturity is more of a 12 year old than a 14 year old. Viola’s character matures throughout the book so it was not an overnight transformation. I did not particularly enjoy the first half of book but I liked Viola a lot more after the incident with the Red Lady.
The romance plot of the book was showed that Trigiani made an effort to make it not those typical best friends falling in love plots. If there’s one main thing about Viola in Reel Life that irked me, it was that in the beginning I sensed that Viola had a potential love interest. But as soon as Viola meets someone new, Andrew suddenly hangs out with Olivia, making the love plot unrealistic. However, it was fun to read about but could have been smoother.
Overall Viola in Reel Life was an entertaining read which would appeal to younger teen readers. This novel is fun to read, but I do not recommend it to readers looking for something more meaningful. That being said, I feel that Adriana Trigiani made a good attempt at the YA genre and definitely has potential for great future novels.