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Educating Waverley

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  145 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
In 1939 young Waverley Scott arrives on remote Isadora Island in the Puget Sound. She is to be a student at Temple School -- banished because her features too closely resemble those of her mother's married employer. The headmistress of this all-girl school, Sophia Westervelt, has a mysterious past and a passion for education. She instills achievement into her students, con ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published 2002)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I don't know why I like reading about girl boarding schools, but I do. It's a good thing I was never sent to one. Solitary bear that I am, I would not have fared well in the communal living environment.

This one is set on Isadora Island (fictional) in the lovely San Juan Islands (real) of Washington State (semi-real).
Temple School is supposed to be progressive and experimental, but it's sort of like a commune of the sixties, minus the LSD and tie-dyed shirts and peace signs. The school uniform
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, wwii
Note: for actual plot summary, see other reviews.
Somehow or other, I came upon this book on goodreads, and added it to my to-read list almost against my will. Boarding school stories written for girls are one of my things. When they're written for grownups, I feel weirdly honor-bound to give them a try, but at the same time am wary of them because so many have fallen completely flat for me. (I couldn't finish the first chapters of City of Light, The Lake of Dead Languages, or Gentlemen and Playe
Manik Sukoco
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
In Educating Waverly, local author Laura Kalpakian delivers an incredibly well-written, engaging tale of student Waverly Scott, her cohorts and teachers at the Temple School. Banished to the school on the remote island of Isadora in the Puget Sound, Scott comes of age amidst a cast of eclectic but lovable characters. Meanwhile, World War II explodes in Europe, soon to indelibly impact Scott's life as a French refugee is sent to the school for protection.
Kalpakian artfully describes Scott and her
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
A quirky little book about a woman who sets up a school on a remote island in Washington State. Set in the 30's and 40's she wants to educate girls to become women of the future for North America. Her methods are bizarre to say the least. Into this arrives Waverley Scott a young girl who has spent her life travelling around the country with her mother who is the personal assistant and mistress of a wealthy but married businessman. Waverley is the illegitimate result of this union and resents her ...more
Jun 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: LOST fans, WWII love story fans
Recommended to Kelsey by: Random find at a book store
Shelves: young-adult, 2008
In general, I really enjoyed this book. I happened to grab this book at a used bookstore recently and am glad that I did. The smoothness of the writing and the amusement the characters gave me caused me to finish this book in about 3 days. Phrases like:

" books are refreshing and indulgent. They are the chocolate truffles of literature. Naturally, you could go your whole life without ever eating a chocolate truffle, but would you want to?"

The story intrigued me, because as an avid watcher of
Oct 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction, 2013
This book was very interesting for me to read, because I found myself frequently disliking the characters. At several points, Sophia Westervelt did things that made me dislike her (insisting that all the students follow her husband's diet, for instance). There was also a section I would have removed--Sophia's recounting of her time in Paris toward the end of the book didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. And a lot of what the author seems to believe, I don't believe. Her conclusion abo ...more
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I chose this book because it takes place on an island in the San Juan Islands, near where I live. From the descriptions of the area, the fictional island of Isadora is probably Orcas Island. Kalpakian's plot construction is well done, the way she moves her characters in and out of various settings and seamlessly ties them together. In the story, we follow the central character, Waverley, from her boarding school days at Temple School on the island until she returns later in life. Most all of the ...more
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a book that pulled me into the setting, Isadora Island, and made me care about the characters, even when I put the book down. The school was somewhere I wished could exist so I could send my girls, even if the people running it were a bit off the wall, reminding me some of characters from Dickens. The references to literature, and the arts were fun too.
One thing I also appreciated was the way the author worked a bit of eroticism into the story. For someone who studies all manner of dif
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Part fun school story, part generational drama, the bulk of the action takes place in an eccentric girls school on a tiny island in Washington state. The founder, a free thinking heiress, wanted to educate girls to become the future of America since men had made such a hash of it. The school has passed its heyday when Waverly arrives on the eve of World War II, has her hair cut, her clothes taken away, and is told to try to imagine herself flying. Despite the skeleton cadre of students and facul ...more
Sep 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Waverly is sent away by her mother and rich father (who until recently didn't take part in her upbringing) to Temple School. The school is 'new age' to say the least and past its prime with few students. Waverly meets Avril and they become Wavril because they are one together. The story goes from their to their mutual crush on the same boy, who loves them both together it ends up. Then Waverly is sent away from the school. Many years later, Waverly is now a romance writer living under a new name ...more
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, ots-challenge
I bought this book on a whim and for a dollar, so I didn’t know what to expect when I finally got around to it as part of my latest reading challenge. I ended up being very surprised and impressed. Kalpakian is a sharp and funny writer with exquisite prose and a real knack for developing her characters, who in this case are the inhabitants of an isolated island and its eccentric school for girls. Against the backdrop of WWII, they experience love, loss, and the blessings and burdens of the “tran ...more
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Waverley is sent away to Temple School, a remote all-girl school in 1939. The school doesn't teach education the traditional way. The girls and teachers become a family of their own. Waverly befriends Avril who is sent to Temple School from Paris by her mother to escape the Nazi invasion. They become very close, they become "Wavril". They both love the same area boy who loves them in return.
I enjoyed this book very, amusing, love, grief....
Anne Van
Jan 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Loved the setting on one of the San Juan Islands, with nice descriptions of the island in the 1940's, then some decades later. I thought the characters were built on having interesting back-stories, but a little flat emotionally, or less than plausible maybe. Not a waste of time to read, but nothing that will stick in my mind, either.
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: new-fiction
I couldn't resist the Puget Sound setting, and I found the trappings of a 1940's "progressive" girls school amusing: togas, sandals, dancing a la Isadora Duncan, short hair, fresh vegetables, and countless lectures on women as leaders. Ultimately, I wasn't fond enough of Waverley to care where she ended up.
I would recommend this book if you have a lot of spare time and you have nothing else to read. It was a good book but I wouldn't put it above all other books out there.

The story got a little long in some parts and I wasn't sure how the author was going to bring everything back around together. The last 1/4 of the book was the best part of the book when the author tied it up.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A terrific read. Kalpakian's writing is smart and funny. Her characters are unlike any others I've encountered. A mysterious, otherworldly tale that had me hooked pretty early on, and captivated until the end.
May 04, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was interesting, yet not enough to gush about & refer to friends. It had an unexpected element which was probably the only reason I gave it a 3. In my opinion too many books are predictable, this one had an interesting thread I didn't expect, but overall just not great.
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It took me about half way through to really get into it. Then was was re-reading the beginning and jumping all over to connect the dots. I LOVE how all the nuances of each character are intermingled. A great read.
Aug 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
An unusual school on a remote (fictional) island in the San Juans at the start of WWII. Some interesting characters, and interesting relationships.

The characters in 3 separate time periods - leading up to WWII, during WWII, and the present. Some surprising relationships come to light.
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was a .... strange book. I liked the first half... but then it just got weird. And it never really got un-weird.
Apr 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
There is a small boarding school designed after the Isadora Duncan style. This was a very good book. I loved her writing.
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Well written, great use of imagery. The time and POV changes were a little difficult to get used to. Great use of foreshadowing.
Dec 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women
Setting: 1939 on remote Isadora Island in the Puget Sound.
A rich story of a girl's life. Wacky characters. Very engaging.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Angela by: Jeanette "Astute Crabbist"
I like the originality of this story. Boarding school run by hippies, before hippies were ever heard of.
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Jun 20, 2011
rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2010
Loretta Griffin
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Jan 11, 2015
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Jul 22, 2011
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“When you bite into a chocolate truffle, you don't want to find oat bran.” 5 likes
“She spoke with the usual cadences of the young: sentences curling upward at the end, all statements fading into a smoky, implied question mark, as though nothing could be said with any reasonable certainty.” 5 likes
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