Thursday, July 7, 2011

Throwback Thursday: Wuthering High (off color)

Wuthering High by Cara Lockwood 2006
MTV Books/ Simon & Schuster

Rating: 3/5

IQ "Some crazy people would say that forests and mountains are beautiful, but to me the outdoors are just plain creepy. I see forests and I think of maniacs wielding chainsaws. You never hear of psychotic, crazed killers in movies striking at the mall. No. The freaky killers who turn their victims into wax do it way out of in the country somewhere far away from Banana Republic." Miranda pg. 20

Fifteen year old Miranda Tate is slightly spoiled so you can imagine her horror when after crashing her father's car (and maxing out her stepmother's credit cards) she is sent to Bard Academy, a school in the middle of nothing where no contact is allowed with the outside world. Its a school for 'juvenile delinquents' (or so they are deemed by their parents). No phone calls, no Internet, a uniform must be worn at all times, there's a strict curfew and woods nearby that are just plain creepy. Of course what would a boarding school be if it wasn't haunted? Miranda can't sleep due to terrifying nightmares, fires are randomly being set, strange maniac laughter fills the air and there's something not right about the faculty at Bard. It just so happens that the members of the faculty at Bard are ghosts (many of them famous writers) stuck in limbo. That's not the only secret the faculty is keeping, there's something special about Miranda and why is it so crucial that nothing happen to a worn page torn from Wuthering Heights? Who is setting the fires? Furthermore, is Heathcliff really a student at Bard or is he the ACTUAL Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights?

I like knowing the motives of why an author does what he or she does and this book puzzled me a bit because I thought the assignments of the famous writers turned teachers was random. It could have at least been explained a bit better for those of us not familiar with all the authors. Coach H (Hemingway) as a gym teacher makes sense, I didn't understand why Charlotte Bronte was Headmistress B, perhaps because she was a governess? However, I didn't know Charlotte Bronte was a governess until I looked it up. And why was Virginia Woolf a dorm mother? I'm just curious as to how the author figured out who should do what at Bard academy. I was also disappointed in the misleading of the back cover which claimed "the students' lives also start to mirror the classics they're reading-tragic novels like Dracula, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre" but Miranda and her friends are RARELY in class. Bard Academy has a tough curriculum but Miranda only mentions classes to complain a bit but she doesn't mention studying/analyzing the classics. I wish there had been more discussion of the classics. I don't like Ryan either, I know he's supposed to be dreamy and actually really sweet but I just don't like him. Heathcliff all the way!

I decided to review this book because of Samir. I love Samir, the new friend of Miranda. He was sent to Bard because his traditional Indian parents had arranged a marriage for him when he turned nineteen but he refused to comply. Samir is not exactly a ladies' man but as is usually the case, he's quite funny and determined to find a girl for him. One of my favorite bits of dialogue

"'Will you marry me?' he asks me
'Uh....' I glance at Hana
'He asks every girl he meets,' Hanna explains. 'Don't worry about it.'" (pg. 58) Blade, Miranda's roommate remains a caricature and Hana doesn't have much of a personality yet but at least one secondary character (Samir) does. I really like Miranda too. I started out not liking her because she was (still is actually) spoiled and a bit whiny but I probably whine too so I can relate. Plus she's funny because she has this realistic/self-deprecating sense of humor such as "Heathcliff contains my squirming easily, carrying me as if I weigh nothing, which I know is not true at all despite the Bard Academy cafeteria diet" (pg. 208). Miranda is a strong main character but I really like her because she's not too extreme. Not extremely trendy, shy, pretty, mean, etc. She's average, like many other high school girls (including myself) that I know. Sometimes she feels beautiful, other times she thinks she's 'hideous'. How refreshing and realistic.

Wuthering High's strengths lie in its premise being quite novel and having some dominant, interesting characters in Miranda, Samir and Heathcliff. The ending left me with more questions than answers which normally bothers me to no end but I would have been sad to just leave these characters behind, I want to know more about Bard Academy, its students and faculty. One mystery is neatly closed but there are several others left open. At least I know that there are currently two other books out in this series and the author is working on a fourth (final) book. Since the book places such emphasis on the literary classics I want more time to be spent discussing the classics and the people who wrote them. I would also like to see Hana be more than just a sidekick and Blade be more than the creepy roommate. I MUST know more about Heathcliff. And I need Samir to date someone and find happiness :)

Disclosure: From the biblioteca