Review: She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell

Review: She Was the Quiet One


After the death of their mother, twins Bel and Rose are shipped off by their grandmother to an elite boarding school. Miles from anyone they know, faced with their grief, the two twins take different routes at coping with their new situation. Good girl Rose excels at the academic institution, while Bel finds friends amongst a bad crowd. Add in to the mix a schoolgirl competition relating to a male teacher, some badly executed pranks and things really are going south…

There was lots to love about this book. The contrast between the two sisters, while perhaps a little too big a difference, made for some great conflicts early on. I was totally on Rose’s side, by the way. I couldn’t find anything to redeem Bel’s perspective on the pranks. But her rebel persona was part of the point as it was what allowed some of the big drama to happen. I really felt for Sarah, Mr. Donovan’s husband, too. He was making ploys to become headteacher and all she really wanted was a happy life with her family. I could support that. At first she was a great dorm mother. She did have a tendency to deny the truth of a situation at times though!

The core mystery of this novel was which twin was murdered. There was a line in one of the police interviews (which I loved!) which gave a slight clue but really the murder victim could have been either of them. The mystery added a real buzz to the novel, keeping me reading on.

Sometimes the dialogue felt unrealistic. While reading on my Kindle i bookmarked quite a few different pages, almost all in the first half, where phrases were used that didn’t feel at all like how a teenager would speak. Some of the dialogue felt too formal and then other lines made sixteen year olds use what seemed like slightly dated phrases. I have to admit at one point that I had got the impression that the characters were seventeen or eighteen – then to be reminded that they had just turned sixteen was quite jarring. This issue dropped off almost completely later in the book. By the end I was racing through the pages without paying attention to the words themselves, just the story they contained, if that makes sense.

Campbell dealt with some very difficult issues sensitively and her portrayal of boarding school life felt quite realistic (apart from the scandal and murder, of course). A great fast-paced read!

Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read She Was the Quiet One.


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