In this “Heathers”-like novel, “The Divines” follows the bratty, catty girls at St. John the Divine boarding school. A school that prides itself on legacy girls and their wealthy families – the enrolled usually coming from a long line of “Divine.” The girls rule the school bullying their way out of any responsibility with authority, looking down on the surrounding townies and enjoy being cruel to each other. Giving each other male nicknames, furthering the deceit they hide behind.
The prologue sets the scene, classmate Gerry Lake laying in the grass. Classmates standing around her. The school closes. What really happened to Gerry? Whose fault was it? Ellie Eaton’s debut novel is told in both present day and flashbacks to teenaged days. The narrator Josephine, “Jo” (known to her classmates,) “Sephine” (to her newly minted husband) visits the school of her youth with her new husband, Jurgen on their honeymoon. This visit triggers her in a way she didn’t expect. Sephine becomes obsessively interested in unearthing her last year at St. Johns. It starts affecting her present-day life and possibly her future.
A nice departure from my typical reads and a unique way of storytelling. The book started a bit slow, despite its initial cliffhanger. But it definitely pays off eventually. I enjoyed Josephine’s voice. She tries to rectify the two worlds of hers and how she can move forward. It’s a good read for those wanting a bit of mystery, but you have to be able to stomach teenage malice as well.
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