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Different Class

(Malbry #2)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  5,825 ratings  ·  735 reviews
After thirty years at St Oswald’s Grammar in North Yorkshire, Latin master Roy Straitley has seen all kinds of boys come and go. Each class has its clowns, its rebels, its underdogs, its ‘Brodie’ boys who, whilst of course he doesn’t have favourites, hold a special place in an old teacher’s heart. But every so often there’s a boy who doesn’t fit the mould. A troublemaker. ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 21st 2016 by Doubleday
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Joanne Harris There's no series link because the books all stand alone. However, to put it into context, this book follows a year after GENTLEMEN AND PLAYERS, and f…moreThere's no series link because the books all stand alone. However, to put it into context, this book follows a year after GENTLEMEN AND PLAYERS, and four years before BLUEEYEDBOY, and features some characters from both.(less)
Joanne Harris April 21st is the release date. You won't be able to buy it before then...…moreApril 21st is the release date. You won't be able to buy it before then...(less)

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Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Different Class by Joanne Harris is a 2017 Touchstone publication.

“Injustice is the tiny shard of something broken in the soul that can never be mended.”

I had a feeling I was going to like this book, and my intuitions didn’t disappoint me.

Roy Straitley has taught Latin at the prestigious St. Oswald’s Grammar boys school for thirty years. But, the school is standing on rocky ground after a scandal and financial problems. The old ways are being shoved to the side in favor of technology, by a new
Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)
How well do we really know our friends? How do we know what they’re hiding?

Different Class is a slow building complex thriller that got under my skin and kept me guessing until the final page. The tightly woven plot is a masterful game of cat and mouse.

Having taught at the prestigious, yet outdated, St. Oswald’s Grammar for 30 years, Latin master Roy Straitley is grounded in tradition. Straitley has given his life to St. Oswald’s. Thus, he reacts as his life has been threatened when he meets t
Diane S ☔
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Whether small towns in France as in Chocolat or Five segments of an orange, or a return to St. Oswald, Harris has the enviable talent of taking the reader to the heart of her settings and characters. Of course, I have no first hand knowledge of an all boys school but I did go to Catholic schools most of my school years and they are both somewhat insular institutions or communities.
Straitly, is our narrator, the Latin Master, now in his late sixties , St Oswald's is his life, he is resistant to c
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-2020
I was interested to discover that this was a follow up to Gentlemen and Players, a book which I enjoyed very much indeed.

A Different Class it may be but many of the original players are still there, notably Roy Straitley, Latin master and lover of Liquorice Allsorts and secret cigarettes. He is a wonderful character whose whole life is the school and its boys. When a pupil from the past returns to the school as its Headmaster, he brings with him a heap of trouble and Straitley sees retirement l
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This is, without doubt, one of the best books i've read this year thus far. But it's only mid-March you say, what kind of endorsement is that? Well, i'm laying bets that i'll still feel this way in December. It's that good.

The novel is sharp in a way that leaves you shocked and bleeding. Told by two narrators, the serpentine plot is parcelled out slowly, then all at once. One voice, that of school Master Roy Straitley, is particularly cutting. His observations on other characters, the school, ed
Sharon Bolton
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As Michaelmas term begins at St Oswald’s independent grammar school for boys, Latin master, Roy Straightly, is mourning the loss of a very old friend, former English master Harry Clarke, and at the same time, is dismayed to learn that the new head is a former pupil – one whom he never liked and certainly never trusted. Time hasn’t improved John Harrington, in Roy’s eyes, but everyone else seems to love him. Good-looking, an MBE, armed with formidable charm and flanked by two ‘crisis deputies’, H ...more
Amanda Patterson
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you’ve read 'Gentlemen And Players' and 'blueeyedboy', you will be familiar with the setting in this book, St Oswald’s Grammar School for Boys in the fictional Yorkshire village of Malbry.

As Joanne Harris says, "The books all stand alone. However, to put it into context, this book follows a year after 'Gentlemen And Players', and four years before 'blueeyedboy', and features some characters from both books."

In 'Different Class', our hero, Roy Straightly has been the school’s Latin master for
This book made me feel nostalgic about school. Not my school, no. About this dream school I could be in. Why we had to study the same dull authors when world is bursting with life-changing books, why we couldn't have these teachers?





(if you don't recognize these scenes, you should know you missed 4 of the best movies about education. Seriously, go and watch them immediately!!!)

Dead Poets Society
The Emperor's Club
Renaissance Man
Les Choristes

What can I tell you about this book?
Harris is, as
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"in loco parentis"- yes, it was.

Do we ever fully know our best friends? When is it necessary to keep your friends close and your enemies closer? When do we achieve "PROGRESS THROUGH TRADITION"? How has tradition in education (or in base morality) become redefined?

This book is superb, it is ingenious, it is a masterpiece. When have you ever heard this reader say those things all together. Never before here.

If this register allowed for 6 stars, Joanne Harris has arrived to claim that scale.

Too man
Bill Kupersmith
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
As I felt this story deserved comment from a schoolmaster, below is a letter to Mr Straitley from Josiah Powel (MA Harvard), Latin master & House Master of Latymer House, Saint Aidan's School, Wensleydale, Connecticut, who will figure in a novel I'm now trying to write.

My dear Straitley, It was most engaging to follow your latest exploits @ S. Oswald's. Here @ S. Aidan’s we too have had more than usual atra cura, as you’ll discover if my chronicler Bill Kupersmith exerts himself to bring us to t
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My favourite kind of Joanne Harris novel. Brooding, menacing and claustrophobic. We're back at St Oswald's school, setting for the equally fantastic Gentlemen and Players, and back in the company of Latin master Mr Straitley who is having to grapple with more unwelcome ghosts of the past. The book goes back and forth in time, partly through the eyes of Mr Straitley and partly through a sociopathic diarist who's intentions leave the reader uncomfortable from the get go.

Similar in tone to Blueeye
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Having thoroughly enjoyed "Gentlemen and Players," I couldn't wait to go back to the world of Master Roy Straightly, the classics teacher at an all boys private school. This novel puts you in the place of an aging teacher who truly cares about his students while having everything he believes attacked. His musings and anecdotes amused while the dark underlying story slowly comes to the light. The story unfolds like an onion bouncing between two perspectives where you find a dark hidden spoilage i ...more
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In short - So dark, so funny, so good

In long
I heard the author talking about this book in a radio interview and thought that it sounded interesting. Intrigued by the prologue I was hooked within the first chapter really and Roy Straitley, who we meet in it and who is one of the best characters I've read in quite some time. In fact the prologue contains the other voice heard in this book - that of one of the boys who was at the Grammar school in the 1980s and was taught by Straitley. The chapters
May 06, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Different Class is set in a private boys grammar school in crisis. A school which is just about to be introduced to its new “Super Head” and accompanying crisis team. However, it is not the first time St Oswalds has seen trouble and the arrival of the new head will plunge Roy Straightley, Latin master, back 20 years in time to when the new head was himself a new boy.

It is a very dark read and one that you have to take special care in reading so that you don’t miss out on some of the subtleties o
Apr 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is the eleventh book I have read by Joanne Harris, and definitely view her as one of my all-time favourite authors. I love how she is able to write so many different genres. As someone who loves to read a variety of genres, this makes her the perfect author for me.

Unfortunately, this particular book didn’t quite grip me in the way many of her other books have. I much preferred Blueeyedboy and Gentlemen and Players. I found Different Class a little slow and it failed to surprise me in the wa
It would have been 3, had I not been a teacher. The story, imho, needs some editing (and most importantly, cutting) but the subtle yet profound grievance about newfangled "correctness" and "appropriateness" of classroom material — oh boy, do I relate to this. ...more
Jo Chambers
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I bought this book after hearing Joanne Harris talk about it (and lots of other things too!) at the Hay Literary Festival a few weeks ago. I also got it signed by her!
Joanne is one of my favourite authors and this book did not disappoint. It is set in a private grammar school St Oswalds in a fictional town in the north of England, as was a previous book 'Gentlemen and Players'. The main character once again is the irrascible Classics Master Roy Straitley, and half of the book is told from his po
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I must have missed something with this book. There seems to be a majority of glowing reviews. I just didn't enjoy it all that much.
The premise seemed good but the writing was drawn out and boring. There were too many nicknames which changed depending on which narrator was it caused me to have to go back and reread too many times.
Then we have the narrators. You don't even know who one of them are until more than half way through and they are both annoyingly unreliable. I can norma
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
A very different read that engaged every aspect of me. Incredibly interesting, one of those books you need to really chew over. Full review to follow.
Renita D'Silva
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely, tremendously stunning. Loved this SO much. Wow, this author is SO versatile.
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very clever book about the world of a boys school, and of course, about all the world. Anyone who has worked in a school will know it is a stale place, with secrets and alliances.
In this case, there is child abuse. And there is also a gay teacher ( at least one) , religion, tradition, and I guess we all know where it's going to end up. In a situation like this, there are so few ( if any) real friends and an awful lot of " my best friend is gay...but." type filth. So very well done.
I loved th
Laura ★☮☯
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura ★☮☯ by: Grandma
Although this took me a while to read (I am a studennnnnnt with only a recent newfound freedom), I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was completely hooked. It is a bit of a slow burner, so I encourage you to keep going.

Harris tells the story of a Grammar school, St Oswalds, and the loyalty of a former student (and now teacher). His narration depicts some of the school secrets which the new head, another former student, intends to hide. The narration jumps between the 1980s and the present day as
Joy Stephenson
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book!
This is a psychological suspense / thriller with a plot that twists and turns intriguingly. It’s set in an English independent boys’ grammar school and the story is told by two narrators and from two periods, 1981 and 2005 (which is the present day in this story). One narrator is the Latin master who has spent virtually is whole life at the school, and there is gentle humour in many of his habits and Latin asides. The school setting is so well-drawn and all the characters are con
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Oh what an unsettling novel this was! The chronology switched back and forth between the past (1981) and the present (2005); I really liked Harris' use of diary entries for the narrative set in '81 as this set the tone for the whole book. It all felt a bit cold, a bit disturbing - and I loved it!

I really enjoyed the humour throughout the book, Harris weaved it into the story beautifully, it did not disrupt the chilling atmosphere at all, it rather added to it. While I didn't particularly warm to
Margot McGovern
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Times are changing at St Oswald’s school for boys. It’s 2005 and the school is in decline. A crisis team has been recruited to turn things around. They’ve replaced the old honour boards with shiny new banners depicting smiling students, political correctness has been taken to such an extreme that victims are being made to apologise to their bullies, sixth form Mulberry girls have admitted into certain classes, students are now ‘customers’ and all written communications must now be made via email ...more
Karyn Niedert
I’ve never read a Joanne Harris novel before, and wasn’t sure what to expect. I usually don’t like books set in other countries, but the book blurb to “Different Class” was too good to pass up.

Harris hooked me immediately with the history of St. Oswald’s Grammar in North Yorkshire. She sets up main character, schoolmaster Roy Straitley, immediately as a teacher who has roughened around the edges after teaching for over thirty years. During his long tenure, he has seen many boys come through the
Wow, this was an amazing book. I only read one book from Joanne Harris, “Gentlemen and Players” and I absolute loved it. So I was very excited to learn that she wrote another book about St. Oswalds. And this book is even better than the first one. I enjoyed every word of it.

The story is told by Roy Straithley, a Latin teacher, who spent his entire life teaching at St. Oswalds. He never forgets one of his boys. And now one of his boys is becoming Head of the school. Johnny Harrington was not one
May 27, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the first time a Joanne Harris novel has disappointed me. I really felt that it was not up to her usual standard and that perhaps her heart just wasn’t in it. It all felt a bit too contrived and tricksy, and I couldn’t work up much enthusiasm for any of the characters. Harris’s trademark tropes are all here but this time they palled on me. It’s an interesting enough plot, and the twists are well managed, but I never fully engaged with it. Not a patch on Gentlemen and Players, certainly, ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another literary masterpiece from Ms Harris. A deeply complex story with wonderful drawn characters as always. This is another thriller set in St Oswalds private grammar school for boys, which once again explores the themes of class distinction, troubled childhoods and revenge. A delightfully well paced read, with an ingenious, tightly controlled plot. Would highly recommend, even to those who have not read the first book in the series.
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Joanne Harris is also known as Joanne M. Harris

Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is curr

Other books in the series

Malbry (3 books)
  • Gentlemen and Players
  • Blueeyedboy

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