This graphic novel tells the story of Juniper, a scholarship student who has just been accepted to the exclusive private school, Ellsmere. Yes, this story's been told before in many different ways, so I wasn't sure it would hold my attention, but it certainly did. Juniper, for one thing, is a very appealing character. She is prickly and defensive, but she is secure in her intelligence and quick to stand up for others. I loved that she didn't turn out to be the meek scholarship student who was going to be bullied by the nasty, mean rich girls. I liked that that nasty, mean rich antagonist turned out to be a better rounded character than I expected, which made her that much more interesting. I enjoyed the developing relationship between Juniper and Cassie, her roommate - who also turned out to have an unexpected side of her character. And I loved the supernatural elements of the story!
The book reminds me a bit of the fantastic Gunnerkrigg Court series, and I think it would have a huge appeal to fans of those books, and I think that readers who enjoy boarding school stories such as the Gallagher Academy series or The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks would be sure to love this one, too.
This is my first experience with Faith Erin Hicks' work, and I definitely intend to find some more. Hope Larson writes a lovely introduction to this book, in which she says of Hicks: "Not only is she prolific, professional and capable of drawing at the speed of light, she has the rare knack of crafting stories with realistic female protagonists that are equally enjoyable for everyone." I'd have to agree.