Two More Notes on Jericho
Trigger: Susan Vaught

WCOB #3: The Strictest School in the World

Welcome to month three of the Wicked Cool Overlooked Book initiative, started by Colleen Mondor of Chasing Ray. The idea is to focus on an excellent book that doesn't seem to have received sufficient attention. This month Colleen discusses Melanie McGrath's The Long Exile: A Tale of Inuit Betrayal and Survival in the High Arctic, and Jules and Eisha at 7-Imp highlight two Australian authors.

The book that I would like to draw your attention to this month is: The Strictest School in the World, by Howard Whitehouse. In my original review of this title, I called it:

"a book aimed squarely at the 9-12 set, featuring lovably eccentric characters, larger-than-life bad guys, two independent-minded protagonists, and madcap adventures.

Towards the end of the review I added:

"There is a lot to like about this book. The author's voice is hilarious, with matter-of-fact recounting of tragedies, and sly insertions of humor. The naming of the characters reminds me a bit of Roald Dahl (e.g. Miss Sharpelbow, a terrifying teacher, and Professor Bellbuckle, a mad inventor). The plot, with loyal relatives trying to help a young girl escape from a prison of a school, reminds me of one of the main sub-plots in Eva Ibbotson's The Star of Kazan. However, The Strictest School in the World is more humorous and in tone, with more over-the-top behavior. The humor of the book keeps the Gothic overtones from ever being too much."

All in all, it's well worth reading, but I haven't seen a huge amount of press about it. Fans of A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama and other Gothic titles should definitely check out The Strictest School in the World, as should fans of historical fiction, and anyone looking for a book that's funny, or one that features both a male and a female protagonist. A sequel, The Faceless Fiend: Being the Tale of a Criminal Mastermind, is due out August 1st. If you wait for that one, you'll be sure of back-to-back fun. Check out my original review for more details.