Briarcliff Prep

Disney-Hyperion. Nov. 2022. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781368078375.
Gr 8 Up–Told in third-person point of view, this novel follows 14-year-old Avi as she begins her freshman year at Briarcliff Prep, a fictional Historically Black Boarding School, or HBBS. Other members of Avi’s family have also attended Briarcliff Prep, and her older sister, Belle, is a current student who has established relationships and friendships. Avi is excited but nervous and quickly becomes friends with her roommate, Zazie, and another freshman, Rhyon. Peppins draws from personal experience to create this authentic high school experience in a place where most of the characters are Black or of color. Avi is a writer who is applying and submitting samples to win a coveted position on Briarcliff’s prestigious school newspaper. Just as Avi is settling into school and forming her own connections, she begins to see red flags in her sister’s relationship. Peppins tackles the issue of teen domestic abuse thoughtfully, in a way that will feel authentic to readers.
VERDICT This debut novel is very character driven and will make a great addition for collections that need realistic fiction with strong worldbuilding and character development.

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