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book reviews

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer

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Main character and narrator Ethan Andrezejczak insists this fictional memoir of sorts isn’t art. And it’s not—it’s life. Ethan is an average, fairly untalented kid surrounded by geniuses and prodigies at Selwyn Academy, a high school that nourishes the visual and performing arts. His best friends are lauded for their work while he emotes to a guinea pig and a drawing figurine and moons over prima ballerina Maura. 


But when Selwyn is picked to host a reality show and its students are set to star, life as he knows it starts to change. He and his friends hatch a plan to undermine the money-grubbing administration that refuses to say anything negative—or honest—about the TV show that’s soaring in popularity…and ruining their school. When their anonymous flyers are banned by the vice principal, the quartet celebrates. After all, as any student knows, the best way to make sure everyone reads something is to ban it.


The best thing about Kate Hattemer’s excellent book is its fantastic characters, who are jump-off-the-page real. They are flawed and clever and annoying and selfish, just like you and me and all of our friends. They have enemies who are villainized for daring to court their crushes. They are indignant over school officials. They are thwarting authority and societal conventions and realities. They are us. And that’s what makes The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy such a readable and loveable novel.


Will Ethan and company succeed in transforming their school (and will you love them and their antics as much as we do)? Grab your own copy of the book here to find out.

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published April 26, 2014