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Chelsea High by Jenny Oliver, #76 review

Publication date : August 2020

Norah Whittaker’s upbringing has been charmingly unconventional: she’s grown up on a houseboat spending her days fishing, cherry picking and helping her mum out at her vintage market stall. As well as laughing at her chaotic dad. But when her dad’s latest get-rich plan ends up getting him arrested, everything changes.

Grandparents (incredibly rich ones) that Norah never knew had existed enrol her at exclusive Chelsea High. There are polo lessons, ski trips and parties photographed by Tatler, not to mention Coco Summers, Instagram sensation, who is determined to make Norah feel utterly unwelcome. Luckily there is also handsome Ezra who is cast opposite her in the school play.

But is he enough to persuade Norah that she belongs?

This is Norah’s new school, her new journey, her story. After her father was involved in an embezzlement scheme, the entire family moved from their little island where community is tighter than your old pants to London. Big city, big changes. Norah studies at the exclusive Chelsea High where the entitled children of the rich and glam attends. As an average country girl, she finds herself taken by the luxury and new set of standard set by her peers from a higher social class. She couldn’t help but want to fit in with them. And as the story goes, there’s a mean rich girl and her clique out to get her plus a cute boy.

“The status quo of their gang was already altered by the bubble of the play. If I could belong in this glossy, glittering, covetable world, then maybe what I had left behind wouldn’t seem so important. So all-consumingly sad. It might start greying in my mind, while the possibilities here were playing out in traitorous technicolor. “

Chelsea High by Jenny Oliver



We’ve read this type of story many times. Sometimes the outcome surprises us, sometimes it was a dish served cold. I have to say that this one was cold for me. I almost DNF the book as I felt that it was getting nowhere. I slipped several chapters and nothing significant happened. There was bullying involved in the story. And a friend of Norah’s didn’t stand up for her, she just watched from the sidelines. I think that if you don’t speak up for the bullied then you’re no better than the bully themselves. To quietly watch as your friend suffers is no friend at all. There was a lot of explaining and telling in the author’s writing, not much of actual doing and showing. The begining pace was too slow for me. 100 pages in and I’m bored. I couldn’t really empathise with Norah’s situation and the bullying from the fabulous instagram influencer Coco was a tale of the old set in modern time.

Overall, points to the subject of bullying and how a court case tests the stability of a family. Other than that, this was a miss to me. I think this book would be suitable for reading looking to branch out from Middle Grade to Young Adult as Chelsea High is a book that fits the sliver line between the two genres.

Thank you @definitelybooks for sending me a copy to review. This book is available in all good bookstores now. #pansing

I tried to match a uniform that screams “Privileged Private”
Also, on a side note, I highly recommend that you watch K-drama “The Heirs”. It is a classic! And if you like average girl meets exclusive High School for the rich, this K-drama is the One for you. It is witty, cute, sob feist and about growing up.

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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