I picked up Michael Knight’s At Briarwood School for Girls on a whim the last time I went to the library. My library holds back a copy or two of the latest, greatest and most popular books and media on the request queue as a reward for those of us who still walk into the building. And there are rules to this magic shelf: 1. You can only check out three things from the shelf; 2. You have to return it within seven days; and 3. The late fees are much higher. 

So I picked up At Briarwood School for Girls because the jacket flap intrigued me and I already had the other book that grabbed my eye on my Kindle. 

The book is set in 1994 at an all-girls school in Virginia. The main character of the book is pregnant. Her roommate talks to the dead. And her best friend is causing a scene at every chance because Disney is planning to build a theme park based on the history of America a few miles down the road from their school. There’s a reclusive alumna that won a Pulitzer. And a male teacher with a dog named Pickett. 

I know, I know. It doesn’t sound like it could work. And really, in some parts it doesn’t. I didn’t love this book, and I’ll probably forget that I read it by the year’s end. But one thing I won’t forget: that Disney tried to build a theme park in Virginia in the early 1990s. That part was 100 percent true. 

Book Club Questions

  1. What do you imagine Lenore, Poppy and Melissa’s backgrounds to be like? Why are they friends?
  2. Do you think there was an explanation of what happened to Lenore in the phone booth? What else could it have been?
  3. If you were the headmistress for the school, would you have accepted the check from the Disney corporation for a new computer lab for the school? Why or why not?

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