Friday, January 12, 2018

Debbie--have you seen R IS FOR REBEL by J. Anderson Coats?

A reader wrote to ask if I've seen R Is For Rebel by J. Anderson Coats. It'll be out on February 20 from Atheneum (Simon and Schuster). Here's the description:
Princess Academy meets Megan Whalen Turner in this stunning novel about a girl who won’t let anything tame her spirit—not the government that conquered her people, and definitely not reform school! 
Malley has led the constables on a merry chase across her once-peaceful country. With her parents in prison for their part in a failed resistance movement, the government wants to send her to a national school—but they’ll have to capture her first. 
And capture her they do. Malley is carted off be reformed as a proper subject of the conquering empire, reeducated, and made suitable for domestic service. That’s the government’s plan, anyway. 
But Malley will not go down without a fight. She’s determined to rally her fellow students to form a rebellion of their own. The government can lock these girls up in reform school. Whether it can break them is another matter entirely…

Woah. Lot of phrases in there that make me cringe. Like "tame her." Most people will read that and think someone is trying to stifle a girl's spirit, but when you read the next few words "the government that conquered her people" -- it is clear that we're in a very slippery space.

And Malley leads the constables "on a merry chase across her once-peaceful country"??? Native children being chased by government officials was not merry.

I am highly doubtful that Coats is going to pull this off--at least for any of us who know what the boarding schools were like. If I get a copy, I'll be back with a review.


Sam Jonson said...

That "Princess Academy" part from the synopsis, after reading thy post, maketh me cringe even more. Because, as I've read, boarding schools and residential schools were not "academies" but rather very, very sordid re-education centers. Yikes.

Katy @ alibrarymama said...

I just finished this, and I think the reference to Princess Academy in the publisher description was poorly chosen (even though that book is darker than the title makes it seem if you haven't read it). The school here is clearly abusive and more interested in breaking the spirits of the girls and their attachment to their own cultures and families than giving them any kind of real education. I found it a difficult book to read.