The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy
by Kate Hattemer
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 Luke—the creative force behind the poem and leader of the anti-show movement—becomes 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.
One night when I spent too many hours on Goodreads I came across this book and added it to my to-reads. I planned on reading it at some point, but when I saw it sitting on my library's shelve on the way out I decided to grab it. I then added it into the pile of books I had and brought them home. It was one of the best spur of the moment decisions I've made.
The book focuses on a small group of friends that reminded me of my own. They are even as talented as my friends too! Luke and is a talented writer and the the group's "leader" in the vigilante acts. Elizabeth is part of the graphic design classes in the school and Jackson works in light design. Each of the friends have their specific talent, where Ethan plays trumpet and takes drawing classes, but does not exceed at either. Each character shines separately and together, they are amazing! The story is told by Ethan who begins to tell the reader many ways of how the story could begin. The first and probably my favorite, details his entrapment in a school locker. The story is starts in a fun way and tries to follow the attitude throughout.
The show For Art's Sake is very interesting as well. It's corrupt, just like most of reality television. The story shows how twisted the show gets. During the story there are only a select number of contestants that are competing for a scholarship. The competition is intense, and though the main characters do not compete I was able to see how hard it would be to try and balance the show as well as attending a rigorous arts academy.
I really loved the friendship in this book! It's not focused on romance which is nice, though there are a few cute almost things. The group start to write this epic poem to try and shed some light on the show. As a reader I never saw the finished poem but the beginning of each shows an excerpt from it which was awesome. They work towards spreading this message in the best ways. Jackson's house is where all planning or just hanging out occurs. It's a totally interesting location because of all the pets named after condiments. Like really, every single pet is named after a condiment. Baconnaise the heroic, genius, loving gerbil, Honey Mustard the golden retriever. Really it's the best.
I just really loved all of these characters, even when I was mad at them. I loved all of their quirks like Ethan's love for tricolons, his sisters' love for Candy Land, Jackson's love for math. I love them all. This book made me think a lot too. Like what or who would you give up for success or what is the most important within our life. I feel like I've learned a lot.