Louisa and her best friend, Maddie, have been chosen to attend a special boarding school far away from their hometown. The War has been going on for years, and children whose parents can afford it are sending them to safe schools. Maddie has paperwork that claims she is actually Louisa's sister, so that she too, can be kept safe.
The girls go to the Country Manor School. They have to get acquainted with new roommates, who aren't always to get along with. The classes are hard, and not like what you would expect from traditional school work. There are classes that teach the girls how to survive in the wild. Some of these things are good to know and actually could be fun, but Louisa hates not being able to have any contact with her parents or the outside world. The school administrators took their cell phones away when they first got off the bus at the school gates.
One of their new roommates has her suspicions about The War, and if the school is really all that it seems. Could she be overreacting, or is there really something sinister going on behind the scenes? These young ladies are concerned about their own safety, and about what may be happening with their parents, so far away. Young readers will enjoy following their adventures to their exciting conclusion, and can look forward to the rest of the series, which consists of three more books to come.
This novel was published in May 2011 through Scholastic Books. ISBN: 978-0-545-31701-6. Suggested retail price is a reasonable $6.99. The suggested audience is ages 10 and up, so this would be just right for fifth grade and up. I do think girls would enjoy the book, while boys would not be as interested.