We’d like to welcome author JoAnna Wiebe to Bewitched Bookworms today, and she’s giving us a little guide to getting along as new students at Cania Christy Preparatory Academy.
The Cania Christy Preparatory Academy’s
Survival Guide for New Students
My eldest sister used to say that the way to survive at a new school is to act like you own the place from the moment you first hit campus.
I was never very good at that.
But she was. And it seemed to work for her.
I, on the other hand, spent my first lunch at a new school as a cliché: I cried in a bathroom stall and fantasized, while holding a sniffle as girls came and went beyond the door, of life after graduation.
Like most writers, I can’t help but let my personal life and the feelings that have been sitting with me for years weasel their way into my stories. So it’s little wonder that, in my book The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant (Jan 14), the hero Anne Merchant has a less than stellar time dealing with life as the new girl at Cania Christy. Here’s the Survival Guide that she wishes she had…
Survival Tip A: Be prepared to be at least as sharp-tongued as the mean girls
Anne has always been a loner, so she’s totally surprised when, on her very first day – just moments after she steps foot on campus – a pack of pretty girls verbally attacks her. Little does she know that they’re legitimately jealous of her – not because of her looks but because, unbeknownst to Anne, she has something they don’t, something they desperately want. As jealous as they are, they’re also sizing her up to see how far they can push her.
Anne survives that attack only thanks to her quick wit. Is she proud of it? No, it makes her sick to think, later, of making enemies of those girls. What she doesn’t know is that all the students are enemies – even the mean girls aren’t truly friends – at Cania Christy.
Survival Tip B: Don’t argue with the secretaries.
No sooner has Anne left the mean girls behind than she finds herself dealing with a strange school secretary who, for reasons Anne will discover in the second book, calls Anne anagrams of her name. Even though Anne’s irritated by the secretary, she takes the interaction in stride – which she’ll later find out is for the best. Because the creepy old secretaries are anything but benevolent typists.
Survival Tip C: Exercise.
Although there’s no running club at Cania and the closest thing to a yoga club is the Pill-At-Ease club, staying fit and agile is a great survival strategy for Anne. She has to clamber up crates, wriggle through narrow air ducts, climb through windows, slide down roofs, and run through an ice storm.
The only activity she doesn’t need to do well to survive is swimming: Cania kids who try to swim in the ocean quickly find they can’t go far.
Survival Tip D: Read the books the hot guy recommends.
If Ben were not quite so attractive, Anne might pay better attention to the hints and suggestions he makes in every interaction they have.
Unfortunately, she is so distracted by him that she misinterprets his book title guessing game as a bit of flirting and meditates more on the fact that he breaks into her room to give her a book than she does on the truths within the book.
Survival Tip E: The devil’s in the details – so pay attention to ‘em.
For an artist, Anne doesn’t pay nearly as much attention to the details as she ought to – a fact that she’ll become aware of just as this book comes to a close. Among the details she overlooks – details you, dear reader, may want to look closely at – are:
- Fainting spells when she’s never been very light-headed
- Her physical flaws in a school filled with physically perfect students
- The name of the administration building
- The question Ben asks her when they first meet outside Villicus’s office
Anne may not have been armed with this survival guide, but you are! So do use it when reading The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant, available in bookstores and online TODAY. Amy Plum called the novel “deliciously dark”, and VOYA said it’s great for fans of Anna Dressed in Blood.
About The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant
Publication date: January 14th 2014 by BenBella Books
After her mother’s death, 16-year-old art prodigy Anne Merchant moves from sunny California to the cold woodlands of Wormwood Island, Maine for what is supposed to be a fresh start. She is the newest student of Cania Christy, an elite boarding school that is as filled with secrets as it is with the world’s most privileged—and competitive—teens.
From the first day of school, Anne finds herself thrust into the Big V competition, an intense race to the top of the class. With enviable talents, she quickly becomes the enemy of every junior seeking the Big V—especially Harper, the presumed frontrunner.
Like every student, she is assigned a guardian, and a unique mission. Anne’s assignment is to “look deeper.” Anne is determined to succeed, and won’t let anything —not even her distractingly beautiful neighbor Ben—get in the way. But the deeper she looks the more questions arise, and the more she is forced to reexamine all of her assumptions—about the school, her classmates and even herself.
As layers of secrecy deepen, Anne leans on the friendship of Molly, a lifelong islander, and Pilot, the only junior not competing for the Big V, to make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world. But when people start disappearing, Anne uncovers a stunning truth that she must face head on—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.
About Joanna Wiebe
By day, Joanna is a copywriter and the co-founder of CopyHackers.com and Page99Test.com, a critique site for published and unpublished writers. As an undergraduate student, Joanna won several academic awards for excellence in creative writing: Canada’s James Patrick Folinsbee Prize, which she won twice, as well as the Godfrey Prize.
After graduating, she lived for a year on the remote northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, which is the inspiration for the verdant Wormwood Island of the V Trilogy. She holds a BA in Honors English and an MA in Communications from the University of Alberta and lives with her partner Lance in Victoria, British Columbia.
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is her first novel and the first installment in the V Trilogy.
Find Joanna Wiebe
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