Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: The Girlz of Galstanberry by Garen S. Wolff

The Girlz of Galstanberry by Garen S. Wolff
Publisher: WolffHouseBooks & Publishing
Publish Date: September 22, 2010
Paperback, 180 pages
ISBN: 978-0615391298
Young Adult, Middle Grades, Fiction

My Review:
An interesting introduction into what looks like a promising middle grade series for girls that is different from a lot of what is out there.  The Galstonberry Academy for Girls brings together five girls who bring a mixture of cultures, social status and ideas about life into one setting where they learn more about themselves and others around them.

I really like the premise for the series and enjoyed the first book.  It should be known up front that the first book is simply a chance to get to know each girl on the day before they leave for Galstanberry.  I really enjoyed this peek into each of their lives in their home situations.  I feel this gives a better feeling for the girls than just starting the series at school.  At a boarding school, it is easy for the girls to reinvent themselves so seeing them in their natural environment will shine a little more light on the girls and decisions they make in further books.  The only time the Academy is really mentioned is in the introduction which tells how the Academy came into being and in the very last chapter when the girls first arrive at school.  Otherwise there is a chapter for each girl and learning about her.

I also like the diversity of the characters.  Brooklyn, NY, Austin, TX, Atlanta, GA, Beverly Hills, MI and San Francisco, CA are the home towns of the 5 girls.  Then there are two white girls, an African-American girl, a Chinese girl and a Puerto-Rican girl, you can't get much more diverse.  I really look forward to seeing how they interact in future books.  I can definitely see budding friendships and friction forming between the individuals.

My one gripe with the book was that it was simply getting to know the girls and not much about when they arrive at Galstanberry, so just be forewarned that this is the case.  But the story is good and I really did like getting to know each girl and now I look forward to the next book in the series which comes out July 4, 2011.

A charming read with girls of all types, a ballerina, a break-dancer, an equestrian competitor, a socialite and a poet make the girls very interesting and the story an intriguing one to follow into the next book.  Ms. Wolff has a knack for writing a middle-school age girl well and I enjoyed her writing.  I just wish there had been a little more to the book.

My Rating:  3.5/5.0

About the Book:
The Girlz of GalstanberryFrom the boroughs of New York, to the beaches of San Francisco, girls hail from all walks of life, to sport the violet blazer, pink beret, and coveted Galstanberry Girl title. The Galstanberry twenty acre estate, flanked by a magnificent rose garden and horse stables, rises up from the horizon like a French chateau with interconnected balustrades and high-spiraling turrets that seemed to touch the clouds. It was constructed in 1926 by Mr. Charles Galstanberry, an earnest gentleman that believed a son to be the only proper heir to the vast family fortune. Yet when Eleanor gave birth to their only child, Aundrea, not Andrew, he vowed to make her as academically astute as her male counterparts. Decades later, 5 girls a spoiled equestrian, funky B-girl, skilled ballet dancer, freestyle poet, and clever debater from different cities, socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities are admitted into Galstanberry Girls Academy, a now world renowned boarding school in Connecticut. Their varied personalities and backgrounds lead to inevitable drama and internal conflicts. However, with each triumph and tribulation, the girls grow, transforming themselves and the academy.

About the Author:
G.S.Wolff has lived in Boston, New York and Washington D.C. Born and raised in Michigan she attended the prestigious private school Detroit Country Day from Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade. Before receiving her Bachelors Degree in Neuroscience from Wellesley College, she became first author on a groundbreaking scientific publication. She also holds a Master of Science degree from Wayne State University's School of Medicine. In 2010, G.S.Wolff moved to Washington D.C. to conduct research at the National Institute of Health as a Research Award Fellow. It was during this time that, The Girlz of Gawlstanberry, was written as a way to unwind after laboratory experiments. Since Book #1's October 2010 release, it has been featured on blogs in the United States, Canada, and London. Additionally, it has been catalogued in the International Youth Library, which is located in the Blue-ten-berg castle in Munich, Germany. It is the largest library for children and youth literature in the world. Currently, she is a Mathematics professor at Wayne State University. This spring, she will tour London, Paris and Italy with the book, before entering Indiana University School of Medicine as a first year medical student in August 2011.



The Galstanberry team is hosting the Galstanberry Grand Gift twitter contest for US residents only. The prize includes:
1) Book #1
2) Book #2
3) Stickers
4) Bookmark
If bloggers want to participate, they just copy and paste the tweet below:
Follow @GalstanberryFan, and RT this for a chance to win the Galstanberry Grand Gift! #giveaway #contest
Once someone tweets this above phrase, they will be automatically entered into the contest. The contest ends July 29 @ 3 p.m.  People can tweet it as many times as they want.

FTC Information: I received this book through The Teen Book Scene to review for the current tour.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.


LoriStrongin said...

While it sounds cute, I think I'll skip this book. While I like good characters, I learn the most about them through how they handle the tensions a strong plot line brings. It kinda doesn't sound like Girlz has much of a plot if it's more of a "getting to know the characters *before* the actual story starts" type of book.


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