I loved this series of modern boarding school stories as a child in the early 1980s. To my mind at the time, Anne Digby had taken a classic genre and twisted it just enough that a comprehensive school kid like me could see life in the eighties in it whereas most of the other school stories I grew up on were pretty firmly stuck around the 1940s even if they were written at a later date. Although Trebizon is without doubt a very posh school, the main character Rebecca Mason is cleverly not one of the super rich or the super clever – if I remember correctly (the back story is not really covered in this book) she lucks out on the boarding school place when her father’s company post him abroad. I guess that’s pretty exclusive really but certainly when I was reading these as an about-eleven year old it seemed like a feasible “this could happen to you” scenario. I knew that there had been new books in the series published since I grew too old to read them and I’ve checked the shelves in the children’s library for the series a few times in recent years without success. I spotted Luci reading one of the earlier books in the series and she told me they were available on Kindle now. One of my favourite things about Kindle is the instantness of it! I downloaded the first book in the series I hadn’t read and got on with reading it just about as soon as I thought about it.
I wasn’t sure if I had read this one or not. I had definitely read the one before this (Hockey Term) and definitely not read the one after (Ghostly Term). This one was published in 1986 when I would have been 14, I think I must have just missed it. Given that this is a long-running series for children the books do have a certain repetition to them and I wasn’t entirely certain I hadn’t read it before until I was about halfway through. It’s got all the right elements, everything was just as I remembered it being. My memory of these books is that they were really well plotted and that they stood up to repeated reading very well. I half expected to find huge plot holes in them now, but really I think they were just as I remembered them. The surprise elements of the plot were telegraphed pretty heavily, reading it as an adult I found the twist in the book was no surprise at all, but that was fine. The stories are pared down to the essentials for quick reading but the characters still seem to be real to me, though some of this might be nostalgia talking!
I don’t know if these stories will stand up to reading by girls of the 2010s, I suspect they will but in the same way that I enjoyed the Chalet School and St Clares, they’re no longer modern enough to be contemporary. I’ll ask my daughter in a couple of years… though I already know my childhood is the “olden days” to her. For me this book was a most enjoyable blast from the past and I’m extremely likely to read the rest of the series in short order!
More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
This was a kindle eBook.