Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Date Published: February 5, 2013
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. Temminick 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.
Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.
Sophronia Temminnick is 14, and wants nothing to do with polite society. She likes to climb and get dirty - to act like a boy - and her mother will have none of it. So when Mademoiselle Geraldine of Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality discusses finishing school with her mother, Sophronia is immediately shipped off. Only this finishing school isn't quite what she expected. Alongside learning to curtsy properly (Sophronia's curtsy is horrendous), the girls learn poisoning techniques and manipulation (eyelash batting becomes quite the competition). Sophronia makes some new friends, like Dimity, who wants to be a real lady more than anything, but she also plans on poisoning her first husband. Her professors are all quirky (Professor Braithwoot was my favorite) and the real Mademoiselle Geraldine has no clue what actually goes on in her school.
I loved Sophronia. She was incredibly funny and daring. She makes friends easily and breaks the rules all the time. She doesn't really want to kill anyone in cold blood, but she could certainly do it if she did. She's the ringleader of her little group of friends, and she constantly comes up with sneaky plans to do sneaky things. She gets caught for breaking the rules once, and only gets in trouble for a) getting caught and b) admitting to what she did. She's sweet and innocent, which makes the book sweet and innocent so anyone can read it (my 11 year old sister is now).
I love steampunk YA, and this one has paranormal, too, with polite vampires and a werewolf in a top hat. I am now super tempted to read Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, which is set in the same world (so if you've read it and have any feedback that would be cool).