I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer
Published by Random House Children's Books on April 8th 2014
Genres: Young Adult
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Witty, sarcastic Ethan and his three friends decide to take down the reality TV show, For Art's Sake, that is being filmed at their high school, the esteemed Selwyn Arts Academy, where each student is more talented than the next. While studying Ezra Pound in English class, the friends are inspired to write a vigilante long poem and distribute it to the student body, detailing the evils of For Art's Sake. But then Lukeóthe creative force behind the poem and leader of the anti-show movementóbecomes a contestant on the nefarious show. It's up to Ethan, his two remaining best friends, and a heroic gerbil named Baconnaise to save their school. Along the way, they'll discover a web of secrets and corruption involving the principal, vice principal, and even their favorite teacher.
It’s really awesome when a book adds something new and slightly unexpected to the young adult genre. Initially I was not entirely sure what to expect when I picked up brightly colored†The Vigilante Poets Of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer. I thought maybe this might be one of those books in verse. Or it might be about poets going guerilla. What I got though, was a book that ended up being more than surface. Hattemer’s book has a fantastic message and is one that I would not hesitate recommending if you want a funny book with a whole lot of heart.
Ethan Andrezejczak goes to Selwyn Academy, a school for the arts in Minneapolis. He has a solid group of friends comprised of Luke who has this magnetic sort of pull, Jackson who is very scientific and borderline genius, and Elizabeth who is Jackson’s cousin. The four really like their school and its atmosphere. Unfortunately, the entire vibe of the school changes when it is selected to host a new reality show on kTV called†For Art’s Sake. The show pits students against each other for a crack at a scholarship to any art school. Students go from discussing Manet versus Monet in the halls between classes to discussing reality TV. Luke decides this is a tragedy and so together with Ethan, Jackson, and Elizabeth generates a ‘zine featuring a long poem protesting†For Art’s Sake. Ethan goes along with this scheme, yet he does not want the show to be canceled because his crush, Maura Heldsman is on the show and he wants her to win.
As far as main characters go, Ethan is interesting. He’s easy to relate to because he is the normal one in his friend group. He is not outstanding. He is not leading the revolt against†For Art’s Sake. He goes along with the revolt and participates, which I think a few of us would do too. It’s interesting in that he comes to a few realizations throughout the book about his interactions with others and with himself. I suppose what this book really has going for it is the main character development. Trust, these life lessons aren’t hokey or anything like that, but genuine good ones that I think we all come to at one point or another.
Kate Hattemer’s†The Vigilante Poets Of Selwyn Academy is written in first person featuring Ethan. It’s quite humorous. There’s a gerbil who plays a large role. The cast of characters is diverse and legitimately interesting. There’s a smidgen of romance, but honestly, the most important part is the friendship theme. I think I would definitely pick up another book by Hattemer.