Beswitched by Kate Saunders has two elements I love: a boarding school and magic. It made it on to my TBR for that reason. It moved its way to the top when it was shortlisted for this year's Cybils.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A magic spell has spun
Flora into the past. She's mysteriously swapped lives with a schoolgirl
in 1935! No iPod? No cell phone? No hair products? How will she survive?
Now Flora's a new girl at St. Winifred's, where she has to speak
French at breakfast, wear hideous baggy bloomers, and sleep in a
But lots of adventures in the past are amazing even if they are not forever. How will she find her way back to the 21st century?
Flora is a behaving like a spoiled brat at the beginning of the novel though in a way most MG readers will be able to identify with. She does improve, but it took a little too long for me to ever really warm to her as a character. The story is an interesting one and I like the contrast between modern life and 1935 life. The magic that pulls Flora to 1935 was performed by three of her classmates, fortunately the one she is sharing a dorm with so she has help. I couldn't help but feel really sorry for the other Flora who had lived in India all her life and suddenly found herself in modern day England with no one to explain to her what had happened or why. She has no significance to this story but I couldn't help but feel really sorry for her.
Despite its short length I found myself getting bored several times. There's not a lot of action and a lot of school detail. Normally I would by okay with that, but for some reason I just couldn't be made to care. It was probably due to my dislike for the characters more than that the story was boring itself. I knew the twist at the end was coming, but I think there are many MG readers who will be delightedly surprised with the way it all turns out.
Beswitched was entertaining enough, but not a book I could love. I tried to get Bit to read it to see what she thought. Our library has the version with the cover shown on the right and she took one look at it and said, "Ugh. That's very pink. I don't think I want to read that." There was no changing her mind.