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One Year at Ellsmere
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One Year at Ellsmere

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,972 ratings  ·  449 reviews
With revamped art and now in full color, One Year at Ellsmere is a middle grade friendship story from Faith Erin Hicks!

Was boarding school supposed to be this hard?

When studious thirteen-year-old Juniper wins a scholarship to the prestigious Ellsmere Academy, she expects to find a scholastic utopia. But living at Ellsmere is far from ideal: She is labeled a “special projec
Paperback, 176 pages
Published July 14th 2020 by First Second (first published December 29th 2008)
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SaraJane It's at my library, check yours. If it isn't in their collection ask a librarian if they'd purchase it. They're often willing to add requested books t…moreIt's at my library, check yours. If it isn't in their collection ask a librarian if they'd purchase it. They're often willing to add requested books to their list.(less)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,972 ratings  ·  449 reviews

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This was just ???

I do love Faith Erin Hicks’ artwork. Ever since I read Pumpkinheads three times in three months last year, I’ve been on an FEH kick, and honey I just can’t shake it!

That’s the only nice thing I have to say.

Also, it’s one of the only things I have to say at all.

I read this in approximately 20 minutes, so it’s hard to feel much about it.

It just felt like a story done in broad strokes, drawing on stereotypes and tropes in order to avoid dedicating the time to actual storytelling or
Sam Quixote
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Juniper wins a scholarship to the prestigious Ellsmere Academy boarding school but soon finds herself at odds with the rich toff girls who see poor people as entertainment. The war between Jun and the Ellsmere mean girl posse begins!

The War at Ellsmere is yet another fantastic Faith Erin Hicks original! She’s so good at writing believable, real characters that are effortlessly likeable. Jun is wonderful - a headstrong, clever and fiercely independent hero (think Daria but more vulnerable) - as
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, comics, fantasy, read-2020
A really interesting graphic novel with a hint of fantasy that delves into issues of ambition, kindness, memory, and what competition does to you. I'm a big Faith Erin Hicks fan, and this graphic novel did not disappoint. It lovingly winks at all of the tropes of boarding schools and a lower-class outsider confronting the entitled, ambitious, evil (?) queen bee while utilizing them to good effect and examining just what you can lose and gain when you give your all in competition. Loved the chara ...more
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The War at Ellsmere is not exactly a groundbreaking graphic novel. The story is instantly familiar: a scholarship student at a ritzy school runs up against a snotty mean girl. There are any number of school stories built on this same framework, and Hicks doesn't do anything spectacularly novel with the plotline. We know from very early on how this will go, even if we don't know the specifics, and we aren't disappointed.

Where Ellsmere really excels is in the characters it builds. The girls in thi
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
I really enjoyed reading this!

The War at Ellsmere focuses on Juniper, a girl who has got into a boarding school on a full scholarship. Once there, she meets Emily, a horrible bitch of a girl who wants to make Juniper's life a misery. The reason for this is simply because Juniper is from a poor background and does not have the privileged upper-class lifestyle Emily and her cronies enjoy.

At times, I really felt like smacking Emily, I mean she is a disgraceful human being and utterly detestable b
Jacob Proffitt
This was okay, though a little muddled. I really liked the roommate friendship with Juniper and Cassie that was fraught with miscommunication (because they're so different) but good intentions and a willingness to apologize and become better. But all of the plot was pretty predictable and the "moral", such as it was, is obvious and a bit strained. I didn't like the supernatural twist any, either. I think it was unnecessary and a little tacked on.

That said, the art is gorgeous and the characters
Seth T.
Mar 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
If young adult fiction suffers from one thorn in its literary side, it's disposability. Books in the demographic are devoured and forgotten with an ease that must wound all but the most circumspect authors. Works directed at the youthful stock and trade so heavily on tropes that they have passed from the realm of cliche into something ritual, a liturgy of familiarities. It makes sense, really. These are books aimed at a people who, by the laws that govern universal process, have only the barest ...more
I love Faith Erin Hicks' visual storytelling. From body language and facial expressions to colors and shading, her art style conveys so much information and feeling.

I was surprised by the thing in the woods; it was not at all what I thought it would be and I was left nonplussed.
 photo Side Eye Chloe_zpsjsc1tb76.gif

Otherwise, this is a fairly standard regular-kid-at-rich-boarding-school story.
Aug 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
This is the second book I've read by Faith Erin Hicks and I have to say that I love the way she captures a teenagers life. The stories can tend to be a little cliché but she still manages to give them her own flavor. I love the way she immediately makes me fall for the characters and feel their pain and cheer for their triumphs.

She has once again managed to bring out the feelings of isolation of the main character but does so in a way where the character does not come across as weak. There's the
Divine Anas
This graphic novel is a light read and I love how the art style fits perfectly with the whole theme of the story. However, I do think that this projected a rather plain and typical representation of the tropes in this book. While this may be quite enjoyable for younger audiences, I think it didn't effectively left important points it wanted to convey. Also, I find the loose fantasy element to be unnecessary and ornamental for this book. This is a very typical graphic novel of an almost rags to r ...more
Juniper is a scholarship student at the posh, academically rigorous boarding school, Ellsmere Academy. She already knows she isn't going to fit in when she sees her incredibly fancy dorm room and thinks, "Apparently I'm going to school in a Disneyland postcard." She has a smart mouth and a whole lotta attitude, which helps her when she incurs the wrath of Emily, a rich, snobbish but equally snide and witty student. Of course, her smart mouth is also what gets her into trouble with Emily in the f ...more
Rod Brown
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Misfits vs. mean girls!

A pretty standard but well done boarding school drama featuring 13-year-old girls. I read this when it was originally released in black and white with the original artwork in 2008. I'm not sure the revised and colored artwork really adds much, but using it as an excuse to revisit the story reminds me that I wouldn't mind seeing a new tale set at Ellsmere. Or really just any new book by Faith Erin Hicks would be fine.
Karam (bookishskippy)
3.75 stars

This is a book about a girl named Juniper. she did not know that it was a weird but tough boarding school. Once she was admitted to the school, she meets the school bully who is the goody rich child.
She disturbs her and Cassie life.

There were so many times i wanna smack the hell out of Emily and as she was so disrespectful and coward. This graphic novel was illustrated beautifully and touched on some of the important topics such as family bond, friendship and bullying.
One Year at Ellsmere is a really sweet story about friendship, belonging and feeling like you don't fit in. The story is really simple, the art is pretty decent. The main problem I have with this graphic novel was the deus ex machina ending. But overall it's a nice and quick read.

Review copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
rachel ☾
Trigger warnings for (view spoiler).

Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
An enjoyable story about a girl who enters a boarding school and realizes she has more in common with the girls there than she anticipated. Oh, and there's a unicorn! My only wish would be that each storyline would have more depth. Obviously, it's hard to spend a lot of time on something when you have such limited space - 144 pages really isn't that many - but if it wasn't possible to increase the space, maybe it could have been more focused. For instance, we hear that Jun's father died when she ...more
Dave Schaafsma
Jan 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gn-ya
This precedes and is not nearly as good as Friends with Boys but has her deft, manga-esque capturing of emotions with small gestures and lines... The story focuses on a girl who gets accepted at a prestigious private school for girls as a "scholarship" girl and is predictably bullied and predictably resolves things, all too easy. I really disliked the inclusion of a unicorn in the story. But I did like the two main girls. ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Faith Erin Hicks' art will always draw me right into a story. What happens when the new girl takes on the popular mean girl? I hope we get year two and more in this series! ...more
Vanessa Menezes
Aug 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphics-comics
The illustrations were good. It was worthy for a light read but I just wanted more from the ending.
Lucie Dess
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hicks continues to deliver heartwarming, funny, cute and beautifully drawn stories.
I am hoping that Faith Erin Hicks has recycled this story that was published over a decade ago, because she wants to continue with the story. I say this because it feels like there is more to the story. Especially with a surprised that shows up in the last chapter.

Very likable heroine and her side kick. Typical mean girls, but I keep thinking that the author has plans for more exploration.

Cute story of life at a private boarding school, but it did’t get very far in to everyone’s life. It was mor
Apr 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty standard outsider-goes-to-boarding-school tale. There are bullies, there are grades, there is a mousey poor-little-rich-girl roommate. There's a mysterious story about the woods next door.
I liked the illustration style and it entertained me for a night's reading, but didn't find anything particularly new here. The ending is above average, but I still wanted more.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Juniper is the first scholarship student to attend the prestigious Ellsmere Academy, a boarding school for girls. As the only student who doesn’t come from a wealthy family Juniper is already on the outside. It’s not long before she finds herself the target of queen bee, Emily. Juniper becomes friends with her roommate, Cassie, who helps her navigate life at Ellsmere. While working on their assignment near the forest they see a strange creature moving through the trees. Cassie tells Juniper the ...more
Another middle grade graphic novel from a Lumberjanes alum! While I fell head-over-heels for her recent YA release, Pumpkinheads, my feelings toward this book were a bit more tepid. It was originally released in 2008 and has had the art refreshed for this new edition, but I feel like the storytelling does have a bit of a mark of a younger writer/artist. While I have known the arbitrary yet pointed attention of a teen mean-girl firsthand, the machinations of this book's queen bee felt a little ov ...more
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've only read one other graphic novel that Faith Erin Hicks was a contributor on (Pumpkinheads) and I can tell that her art style, while the same, is still as gorgeous to me as it is in Pumpkinheads.

The story line was short and sweet, and I adored the friendship between Juniper and Cassie, and how they were there for each other from the very start.
They're both so very different people, and are both outcasts at Ellsemere, but their friendship felt so strong and so wonderful to read.

4/5 stars.
Elizabeth A
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphix, kids-ya, 2020
This middle grade graphic novel is about the story of young Juniper, a smart kid who gets a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school. The illustrations are cute, but there's no new ground trod here - it's fairly predictable plot, with a slight, but significant and totally unnecessary fantasy twist. It was OK, and I doubt I'll be reading more - though I do wish the girls well. This will probably work better for the target audience. ...more
Ana Calabresi
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I need book 2! Great for fans of Raina Telgemeier.
A lovely graphic novel, with my favourite part being the boarding school atmosphere! You could say it's a bit of dark academia for middle graders! ...more
Kailey (Luminous Libro)
I adore this graphic novel! Juniper is a scholarship student who attends a fancy girls boarding school. She makes friends (and enemies) on her very first day, and has to hold her own in the new more competitive learning climate. But there is also a mysterious legend about the old forest and whatever monster or myth might be lurking in its dark shadows.
I'm growing to love Faith Erin Hicks work! Her stories are interesting and surprising, and the artwork is just so beautiful!

I really liked the cha
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Born in the wilds of British Columbia, the young Faith frolicked among the Sasquatch native to the province before moving to Ontario at age five. There she was homeschooled with her three brothers, and developed an unnatural passion for galloping around on horseback, though never without a proper helmet (because you only get one skull). After twenty years of suffering through Ontario’s obscenely h ...more

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