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Viola in Reel Life

(Viola #1)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  3,628 ratings  ·  512 reviews
I'm marooned.


Left to rot in boarding school . . .

Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world.


There's no way Viola's going to survive the year—especial
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by HarperTeen
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  3,628 ratings  ·  512 reviews

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Jan 07, 2010 rated it liked it
-Viola seems like your typical spoiled only child -definite stereotype.

-There is continuous mentioning of how GREAT NEW YORK IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (New York may be a great place yes but constant mentioning of anything gets annoying after a while)

-Acronyms are overused. Using acronyms on the computer for instant messaging and such is fine but she goes a little overboard with the BFFAA thing. When I was in elementary and middle school girls used BFF (no AA at the end that I can reme
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Adorable cover with adorable yellow shoes. I wanted to love this one - but I started it as an audio book. I spent hours with the reader - to well past the 100 page mark - and her voice just got to me. It was awful - like nails down a chalkboard.

And I think, because of that first intro, and because Viola is pretty negative and surly, I just did not like this one. I loved the intro the boarding school. I even understood why her parents sent her. But Viola's attitude stunk.

I loved her roommates and
Jan 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Viola feels like her life has been taken away from her. Her parents are both documentary makers and are going to make a film in Afghanistan. Well that’s all fine and dandy but that means Viola has to go to boarding school in Indiana. From her life in Brooklyn that is going to be a huge change. She has to leave her friends and all the things she has known her whole life. To put more into the mix, she will have to live with three other girls. Marisol- the smart Hispanic on scholarship, Romy- the b ...more
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adriana-trigiani
Viola in Reel Life is a very refreshing read. Not in an million years would I have thought I was going to enjoy some young adult book that much, but as Adriana Trigiani is one of my absolute favorite authors I just ordered the book before I realised this was actually a book for young adults. I utterly and genuinely liked this quick and easy read and that is thanks to the author’s talent. No doubt.
Viola and her friends, Marisol, Romy and Suzanne are adorable – yes they seem to be very normal, dec
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came across Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani, while looking for a book to read that took place in Indiana.

Viola Chesterson has been “abandoned” at the Prefect Academy for Young Women in South Bend, Indiana - an all-girls boarding school and horribly far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York - by her parents who are abroad working on a documentary.

“I like it when my mother smiles. And I especially like it when I make her smile.”
― Adriana Trigiani, Viola in Reel Life
tags: mother, smil
Review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7

I came across Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani, the first in the Viola series, a year or so ago and finally got around to reading it while on my trip. This was a surprisingly quick read, yet it lacked a few qualities that would normally make a book stand out for me. What I surmised as I concluded Trigiani's novel is that yes, this book can be read in one sitting, but not because the book is fascinating, original, or gripping--it is simply a
Nov 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
Viola Chesterson has been “abandoned” at the Prefect Academy for Young Women in South Bend, Indiana - an all-girls boarding school and horribly far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York - by her parents who are abroad working on a documentary.

She is devastated, sad, lonely - she misses her home, her parents and her BFF's - but most importantly, she can't fathom living with three complete strangers in a new school far away from everyone and everything she's ever known. Luckily for her, she is
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a very cute coming of age book about a 14 year old girl named Viola, who gets sent to a all girls school in Indiana while her parents film a documentary in Afghanistan. I really enjoyed the film aspects because that is something that I don't know a lot about.

I related a lot to Viola, she is very stubborn and she seems to never understand that she is acting a certain way until someone points it out to her. I went into this book wanting to read a teenage romance, but as this story progre
Jan 09, 2010 rated it liked it
This book gets ten points alone for not being Tall Tales of the Moron Girls and How to Talk Like a Douche. There was literally a sigh of relief as I started reading this because it wasn't stuffed sausage-tight with so-hip-you-need-a-new-one slang and absolutely ridiculous situations.

But . . .

I started getting antsy, anxious, for something to happen. It was so boring and . . . ordinary. I can understand the realistic aspect to it and trying to make that kind of connection to readers that this cou
Mar 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Viola Chesterton is possibly the most self-aware fictional teen I've ever read. Among her crop of difficulties--going to a new school in a strange place, having to make new friends, sharing a room for the first time, trying to understand boys--none has time to so much as sprout before she's busy reaping a bounty of insights from it. Important Lessons About Friendship and Life are thick on the ground here.

The story begins well enough: Viola's a sheltered only child from Brooklyn, knee deep in cu
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazon Description
I'm marooned.


Left to rot in boarding school . . .

Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world.
There's no way Viola's going to survive the year—especially since she has to replace her best friend Andrew with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to
Jul 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
Many girls are furious to find themselves packaged and shipped off to boarding school, and are sure that they will hate it. But no girl was ever more determined to detest her home-away-from-home than Viola Chesterton, a New York City freshman who is forced to spend a year at Prefect Academy while her parents film a documentary in Afghanistan. "Viola in Reel Life", while an easy read, had such painfully unrealistic characters that it is difficult to continue reading. Viola's feelings against Indi ...more
Jodi P
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-reads
I really wanted to like this story. It started off pretty strong - a girl, Viola, is shipped off to boarding school in Indiana while her parents jet off to Afghanastan for a documentary. She has to get used to small town life after growing up in Brooklyn as well as learn how to share a room with other girls. Viola seemed like a likeable character at first - trendy and snarky - and it seemed like she would be a lot of fun to live vicariously through. Then, Trigiani started throwing all these diff ...more
Book Concierge
Viola’s parents are documentary filmmakers, and a year-long assignment to Afghanistan means that Viola will have to spend her freshman year at an exclusive all-girl boarding school. That’s bad enough, but the school – The Perfect Academy – is in South Bend, Indiana, far from her Brooklyn friends and the excitement of city life. How is she supposed to sleep with all that quiet!?

This is a nice young-adult novel about opening yourself to new possibilities and making the best of a less-than-ideal s
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm biased toward any 'person from a large city moving to a small town and somehow finding ways to cope' plot. Viola's passion for filmmaking and refusal to act like anyone other than herself are great themes for young people. It ended quite abruptly, but it was enjoyable and very sweet overall.

Early-teens me would probably have given it five stars. Adult me is often overly critical of YA, and of Viola describing her three roommates as a knockout, a prep, and a Latina (seriously, that is not a
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for young adults or teens. The main character is a young girl in high school. A wonderful coming of age book.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it liked it
entertaining read, but....
VIOLA WAS SUCH AN ANNOYING AND STUBBORN CHARACTER!! besides, everything seemed so stereotype. nope, not my personal favorite.
A girl, her camera, a boarding school. What will happen?

This is one of the books I bought in May at the second-hand part of a book store. I was really interested in this book, it had quite a few elements that I liked. Boarding School: Check! Friendship: Check! A girl learning to live on her own: Check!

Sadly, I quickly disliked Viola. She is so judgy about everyone and everything. I can imagine that it sucks that her parents dropped her off at a boarding school to work hard. I can imagine it isn'
Sarah Bradley
Sep 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I did not realize that this was a young adult novel when I got it, but it doesn't matter I'll read anything Adriana Trigiani writes. Here the main character is a 14 year old girl and Trigiani must have one living with her, because she's got the voice and manners down cold. While Viola's three roommates come across as one dimensional, it's fine. The book is told from Viola's point of view in Viola's voice. We cannot expect her to peal back the layers of personality in others when she's just disco ...more
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So happy to be reunited with 14-year old teenager, Viola, who finds herself in boarding school, because her parents are making a documentary in Afghanistan.
This was indeed a happy re-read for me and I still feel much affection for these young women who are in a bubble and sharing their teen experiences. Of course, this is a best case scenario, with many positive vibes surrounding the teens (which I am happy for).
I simply love these Viola books (this being the first one in a series of 2) - and I
Sep 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
This story is told on the 9th grade level but it’s so cute! Villa is from NYC but she goes to South Bend, IN, for boarding school her 9th year. Her parents are film makers & are currently on location in Afghanistan. Her grandmother (Grand) is an on stage actress. Villa loves to make film. So cute!
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
[Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading]

Ever since I read Harry Potter, I’ve wished I had the opportunity to go to a boarding school when I was growing up. My little hometown didn’t have anything more than our tiny public school, but I yearned for the strong friendships, the lifelong bonds, and the living away from home experience. (I suppose this is what a lot of people gain by living on campus during college, too, but alas, I didn’t do that either.)

When I saw Viola in Reel Life at my li
Feb 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So I got this book a few years ago as a free book from my school and put it at the back of my bookshelf. I probably should have read it then because it's probably too young for me even though the main character is meant to be 14! She acted like a 10 year old most of the time. But I am having a clearout of my bookshelf so I decided to try it. I've read better, alot better I probably shouldn't have read it after reading one of my favorite books because I couldn't help making comparisons. I tried t ...more
McKenzie Templeton
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
How I came by this novel: So, Adriana Trigiani is one of the most popular best-selling authors of this day in time. And guess what else? She's from a small town only 30 MILES from my small town! Literally! I hear about Big Stone Gap on the local news everyday. I can get there in about 40 minutes! So, naturally, when they began making a movie about her Big Stone Gap novels and began filming around here, I sent in a submission to become an extra in the movie. I haven't heard anything back yet, but ...more
Aspiring filmmaker Viola spends her freshman year at a boarding school while her documentary filmmaker parents are shooting an important project in Afghanistan. As she misses her friends and her life back in NYC, Viola clings to an initial survival tactic of resiting getting attached and to keep a distance, using her camera and her wry attitude, from everyone and everything at Prefect Academy. This backfires on her when she realizes her roommates are bonding without her, and she quickly changes ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
I had to read this book for book club at my school and frankly, I was expecting more out of it.

I had heard really good things about this author-- one of my family members knows her well and she had come to my school a few years ago through a program.

For me, the book didn't have any substance. It seemed like it was just a random collection of shallow thoughts. There was a little character development, but not nearly enough to make this an enjoyable read.

I found myself struggling to finish it be
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
What can I say about this book?

Well, to start off it was a different kind of book than I usually reed. I'm into the fantasy books mostly, but because I won a HarperTeen writing contest and got to choose three books, this was one that I chose. And boy, am I glad I did.

I loved that Adriana Trigiani wrote a story about a young girl who knew what she wanted. Viola is a strong character, but a downer as I say. She's positive that she's going to hate Prefect Academy and therefore doesn't try to fit
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, 2013
I really disliked Viola as a narrator. She's self-absorbed, thinks she is absolutely amazing, and acts like a spoiled brat--yet, everyone around her treats her incredibly nicely all the time. Why?? Why wouldn't they get tired of her shit? I don't get it. I was enjoying the romantic relationship, but when things went south, it was once again weird and unbelievable. Additionally, there were a couple racist moments, as well as plentiful generalizations about the Midwest. So, that was great. ...more
Nov 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
I was more bored than I wanted to be. Loved Viola's unwavering passion for film. Loved Grand (of course). Besides that, though, found it hard to figure out who she was. Quiet? Shy? Straight-shooting? Awkward? Loner? Just unbloomed? Developments didn't feel organic; suddenly things would happen and change.

Points for a good attitude about boys.

(read: 225)
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite authors, Andriana Trigiani, has entered the teen market with this book, and she did not disappoint. I always appreciate the character development of her smart women and the heart with which she writes. Even though it was written for teens, I will read the next book in the series.
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Beloved by millions of readers around the world for her "dazzling" novels (USA Today), Adriana Trigiani is "a master of palpable and visual detail" (Washington Post) and "a comedy writer with a heart of gold" (New York Times). She is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including her latest, The Good Left Undone- an instant New York Times best seller, Bo ...more

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