Book Review: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe

Title: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

Series: The V Trilogy #1

Author: Joanna Wiebe

Publisher: BenBella Books

Release Date: January 14, 2014


Book Summary:

So many secrets for such a small island. From the moment Anne Merchant arrives at Cania Christy, a boarding school for the world’s wealthiest teens, the hushed truths of this strange, unfamiliar land begin calling to her—sometimes as lulling drumbeats in the night, sometimes as piercing shrieks.

One by one, unanswered questions rise. No one will tell her why a line is painted across the island or why she is forbidden to cross it. Her every move—even her performance at the school dance—is graded as part of a competition to become valedictorian, a title that brings rewards no one will talk about. And Anne discovers that the parents of her peers surrender million-dollar possessions to enroll their kids in Cania Christy, leaving her to wonder what her lowly funeral director father could have paid to get her in… and why.

As a beautiful senior struggles to help Anne make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world without breaking the rules that bind him, she must summon the courage to face the impossible truth—and change it—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.

I received this book from the publisher off of Netgallery in exchange for an honest review.
So what did I think?  I haven’t read a book like this in a very long time.  Lately I’ve been lacking on the mystery books – which was a strong element in this book.  When I first read the description of the book I found it intriguing – I had to have it.  Unfortunately, I did put this book off when I first got approved to review it – not because i wasn’t interested but because other books came out and I forgot about it (eBooks have that effect on me sometimes).
Now that I’ve read it, I’m glad.  Joanna has an interesting and compelling writing style that hooks you in.  I could relate to Anne – being the awkward, silent, geeky type (not artsy at all though).  I felt like I was there with Anne and experiencing what she was experiencing.  I hated the characters I was suppose and loved the ones I was to love.  Oh wait, except for Ben… that kid drove me crazy, which I guess was half the point.  Anne is infatuated with Ben.  She’s told to stay away from him and he gives her the cold shoulder or talks down to her – I just didn’t get it.  Yes, 16 year-old girls have this tendency to pay attention to the hot “bad” boy, but he wasn’t even a bad boy, in my opinion, just a jerk who happened to be hot.  However, as the book picked up, and the reasoning for his actions are brought to light, he grew on me.
I did have times in the book when I was thinking “Anne why haven’t you figured this out yet?  I figured it out pages ago!!!!”  And most of the time I had figured them out right – no twists or turns in that mystery – BUT other times I was completely off (and so was Anne which was nice).
For the first 50% of this book it was building the setting, characters, and stories.  You spend a lot of time trying to understand why she can’t talk to the villagers and why everyone is so… well weird.  No one talks to each other – what’s with that??? After that it picks up nicely.  I couldn’t put it down at that point – and really I didn’t.  You find there’s more to this world then you originally expected.  I loved the BIG twists at the end – and I firmly believe there are 4 that I didn’t see coming – and I can’t wait for the next installment in this series.  Really, the only reason why I don’t give this book a higher rating is because of the first half of the book.  I was too slow for my liking and just kept piling on the questions and it felt like they were never going to answer them.  There were times when it felt like it didn’t seem to make sense why people were doing what they were doing.  In the end, the book answer most of my questions and I’m still waiting for the answers to a couple of questions – but if they answered them all it wouldn’t need to be a series I guess.
In the end I would recommend this book.


Rating:  3.5 stars – Good Book

Content: Use of the word “hell” and the F word.  Death happening off screen (not described detail) and mother attacking her child.  Inappropriate sex between teacher and student (not described in detailed), kissing a dead kid in a coffin, and groping.
Source: eArc from Netgallery
This book can be purchased at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Chapters Indigo


  1. I like the title of this book, and the cover is nice too. Thanks for the honest review. I think I will have to check this one out!