Title: The Emerald City
Author: J.A. Beard
Published: February 5th 2012
Series: Osland Trilogy #1
Source: ebook (given to me by author)
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Summary: In this loose re-imagining of the Wizard of Oz, Kansas teen Gail Dorjee has tried to escape from the pain of her parents' death by retreating into a hard shell of anger and sarcasm.
When her aunt and uncle ship her off to an elite Seattle boarding school, Osland Academy, she spends her first day making enemies, including the school's most powerful clique, the Winged, and their leader, the ruthless Diana.
Social war and the school's uptight teachers are only mild annoyances. Mysterious phone outages, bizarre behavioral blocks, and strange incidents suggest Osland is focused on something much more sinister than education.
Now Gail has to survive at Osland with a pretty pathetic assortment of potential allies: her airhead roommate, a cowardly victim of the Winged, and Diana's cold but handsome boyfriend, Nick.
Review: My first read to review book! This book improved as it progressed which makes it very hard to rate. I nearly gave up after the first 100 or so pages because it was for a younger audience. The dialogues, the plot and the characters sounded like they were from the princess diaries. "OMG cute guy! He's walking this way! Ugh but he is the evil bitch's boyfriend, i hate him! But ohhh he's sooooo hot! Talk to me!" - the first few chapters were pretty much this. I LOVE the princess diaries but well it's for young teens and I read it when i was 9.
However, there was a switch when the plot started getting interesting. Suddenly everything was in a much more serious tone. I started enjoying the book a little more. I felt that some theories about the rift were made up as the book went along and that annoyed me quite a bit. Every time farm girl suggests a solution, it gets shot down because there were new 'rules' with the rift. I would have preferred if there was a full explanation from the beginning.
I actually liked Lydia more than Gail. She was a lot more interesting and had a sense of mystery. I didn't really care for Leandra and Nick, there was hardly any back story about them. Gail was okay but boring, her magic was a lot less interesting compared to the older rift-watchers.
The plot: it redeemed the book majorly. It was a nice idea and had lots of potential. I really enjoyed the twists in the story but perhaps there were too many major ones for a short book. It felt like there were two climaxes and could have been executed better.
Recommended for anyone who likes The Wizard of Oz.