Cover Image: Welcome to the School by the Sea

Welcome to the School by the Sea

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Member Reviews

I loved the first book in this series. The boarding school with its fun cast of teacher characters, the students, and a nearby boys' school are a perfect combination.  I loved Maggie! I loved the setting, too. Oh to go to school right on the coast like that.  I can't wait to read the rest of the series.
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Received an early edition of this book from NetGalley, thank you NetGalley (although it was previously published under the pseudonym Jane Beaton and the title Class). I am a big fan of Jenny Colgan books and was not disappointed by this one. I really enjoyed the storyline of the main teacher, Maggie Adair, who is trying something completely new by taking a job at a private girls boarding school. She is from Glasgow and has never before strayed from her small world - teaching at the same school she attended. I really admired her bravery in moving away, even leaving her long term boyfriend, to experience a new way of thinking and being. 
I also liked the head teacher’s story; Dr. Veronica Deveral is a solitary, introverted, but successful leader of the school, and we gradually learn why she keeps to herself. The other characters, both teachers and students, are interesting and mostly realistically portrayed. There are some negative comments and portrayal of negative body image and bullying, which readers should be aware of, but they supported the storyline.
Knowing this is the first in a series of six books, I liked the ending which left several unfinished narratives. 
I recommend this to anyone who enjoys boarding school books, or wants a light, fun read.
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I have been wanting to try Jenny Colgan's books for so long.  I was very excited to see that a new series was coming and I picked this one up very fast.  I love the cover and it sounded great.  I especially love books set at boarding schools.  However, my excitement fizzled out pretty quick.  I didn't realize that this was an old series, written by pen name Jane Beaton, that was just being rereleased with Jenny Colgan's name.  Overall, I didn't really care for a lot of this story.  There was some fat-shaming, which I found terrible and a real downer for the story.  There were a lot of characters introduced, and I had to look back at the list of characters a few times to see who was who.  The chapters were also sort of long, and there were multiple points of view and storylines told in each chapter.  I normally enjoy books where the chapters switched points of view, but this was too much with each chapter having various storylines being told.  I found it hard to keep up with.  Even though the book synopsis for book two sounded interesting, I don't think I'll be continuing with this series.  Though based on other reviews I read, this series is not a good judge of Jenny Colgan's other books.  So I will still be looking forward to reading other books by her!  This series seems to be an exception to her writing and stories.
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Ok number one, I love anything Jenny writes. Number two I love anything that takes place at a boarding school so this was the PERFECT novel for me and the perfect start of a new series by one of my favorite authors! What a charming story about love, friendship, starting over and beautiful Cornwall!
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I have tried several times to read this book unfortunately, I found that the story and the characters were simply not for me. I did not finish it.
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Jenny Colgan just keeps getting better and better. While I know that many people put esteemed authors to the test with their newest books, and that it's human nature to seek out flaws, this book springs from some captivating, confident place in Ms. Colgan. She sets a gorgeous setting, populates it with living, breathing characters, and holds us happily away from real life for as long as you wish.
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This is book 1 in a wonderful new series, Maggie Addair.  Jenny Colgan writes wholesome fun novels. Set in an English boarding school in Cornwall, England, Maggie is starting her first year teaching. This story covers the first year of her adventure and introduces some great characters including Simone and Fliss who are very different but on track to become best friends.  Will be on the lookout for book 2,  Rules.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Welcome to the School by the Sea, by Jenny Colgan, is the first book in a new English boarding school series. The story is quintessential Colgan-style with its laugh-out-loud humor, quirkiness, acerbic, and often times cutting commentary, but ultimately heartwarming, feel-good conclusions.

Maggie needs a break from her teaching career in the underprivileged, rather rough area of London. When she unexpectedly receives an opportunity to teach at a girl’s boarding school on the shores of Cornwall, she hesitantly, but eagerly seizes the opportunity. The potential downside is that it means time away from her longtime boyfriend, Stan…but perhaps a break would serve them well.

It’s not easy fitting into a school where you are clearly the outsider, in more ways than one, and Maggie is not the only one to feel the discrepancy. As Maggie attempts to settle in, Simone, the scholarship winner, also struggles to find her place in the exclusive Downey House. This cast of characters have all kinds of issues to overcome, many lessons to learn, and antics to pull.

As with many boarding school stories, this one is ripe with girl bullying, elitism, pranks and punks, and more than a fair amount of weight issues and fat shaming. Be warned, it’s hard to read at times. I definitely struggled with some of the issues and the way that they were portrayed. But there’s also Jenny‘s unique style of humor that is truly delightful. And her conclusions are undoubtedly like no other.

This story was far from perfect, but I found enjoyment in it all the same. If you're thinking about reading it, I'd say its worth the time!

Thanks to netgalley and publisher for an arc in exchange for my honest review
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3.5 STARS 

I am a big Jenny Colgan fan and this book was cute, Nothing special for me, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I will always read a Jenny Colgan when it comes out!
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You can always count on a Jenny Colgan for a feel good book.  Welcome to the School by the Sea is the first in a series of books about girls’ boarding schools in England.  Four distinct girls are roommates and each has  their own unique story.  The main character, the English teacher, has her own story to tell.  As she decides to leave her previous public school job, she has to decide if she is good enough to teach at a private school and how will this fit into her life with her fiancé.  I look forward to the rest of the series and many more Jenny Colgan books.
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Welcome to the School By the Sea by Jenny Colgan 
I received this book after its release date from Netgalley. This had no influence on my review.

Let me start by saying that this edition is a reprint of a title released under Colgan's pseudonym, Jane Beaton, in 2008. The world is a much different place now, and the current edition reads as if there has been no updating, other than changing the author's name. I love Jenny Colgan's more recent work, have dipped in and out of her various series, and was very excited to read the first in her School by the Sea series. 

Things started off okay...teacher, Maggie Adair, off to her new job, along with a new group of girls, among them, Alice, Fliss, and Simone, arriving for their first year at the all girls boarding school, Downey Hall. Sounds good, right? Not so much. 

The fat shaming by fellow students, teachers, and school administration was AWFUL. My heart broke for Simone, a scholarship student who doesn't hail from the same posh background as her schoolmates. Her weight is constantly referred to in the book, and not in a positive way, if there is such a thing. Really?!? Haven't we moved beyond this? (This is a re-release. Could this plotline  not have been changed? Truly cringe-worthy.) Not only is she "the fat girl" in the story, she is shy, nervous, and comes from a poorer background, so she becomes the "obvious" suspect when valuables begin to go missing in the dorms. 

While other plotlines were a bit more engaging, I could not get beyond the treatment of Simone, who was described by a teacher as having the potential to be pretty, if she would just lose some weight.

Ultimately, nothing else stands out for me beyond this horrid plotline. It brings the whole story down. The only reason it does not receive 1 star, is because I finished it. I will not be reading the rest of this series, which is unfortunate, because I love stories set in boarding schools. I will continue to read Jenny Colgan's more recent releases, as they show more growth, depth, and sensitivity as a writer.
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This is about an all girls boarding school. It follows three girls and  a teacher who is making a change in her life. It was ok, I found it a little boring at times. It was a womens fiction. I thought it was interesting to read but it was not my favorite.
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A good vacation read with likable characters set in Cornwall.  Maggie is a teacher at a low income area school where she went to school. Although engaged to Stan, she accepts a position at an all girls school near Cornwall.  The students highlighted were Simone, the scholarship girl who was made fun of for being overweight and shy, and Fliss, a spoiled privileged young girl who does everything possible to get kicked out of school.  The story develops as Maggie has to decide whether to stay.  Recommended.
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This is a series that Jenny Colgan wrote back in 2008 under the name Jane Beaton and has been reissued in 2022. It follows a few characters at a boarding school in Cornwall. It's a sweet book but felt clunky at times and didn't feel new to me.
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Welcome to the school by the sea by Jenny Colgan. This book was an absolute delight to read. I’d never come across a book with fhe plot taking place at at a boarding school for girls. That definitely is different and one reason why I chose to read ghd book, I also love reading books that place in locations I’ve visited before, having been to th$ Cornwall area on vacation some years ago. This book is one that you start reading and lose track of time while getting lost in ghd story and you look at the clock and two hours have passed without notice. The effortless flow of the storyline by the author added to that.
The characters of of Maggie and Simone were my favorite and I loved seeing how their characters grew and developed over the course of the book, I can’t wait to revisit these two and see further growth in the next  book when it comes out.
I would certainly recommend this book and the author to other readers I know, I find they would enjoy it just as much as I have. Waiting eagerly for the next one in the series!
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Maggie is a new teacher at the prestigious Downey House school in Cornwall, a bit of an outcast not only because of her accent, but also only used to teaching lower-income teens, not these upper class girls. Her boyfriend isn’t thrilled about her being gone every day for months, and Maggie worries if their relationship will suffer. Especially when she meets a teacher from the boy’s school across the lake who is much less self-centered and also cares more about the kids and their education than himself, as Maggie is beginning to do. 
She feels particularly apt to look out for the scholarship girl who is overweight and also an outcast, particularly with the snobby mean girls she rooms with. Simone was thrilled to get in but finding it difficult to make friends with these girls she has almost nothing in common with. 
Fliss is making life hard for her new roommate, raging at the world because she was forced to go to this school instead of the one where the boy she likes attends. So she devises a plan to try to get kicked out. 
The headmistress of the school also has drama of her own, with assessors coming in that she needs to brown nose, and trying to keep everyone safe and all the parents happy, though times keep changing more and more drastically since she started here decades ago. 
Told from multiple highly contrasting perspectives, this book doesn’t hold back on both teen and adult drama, ridiculous comedy, and satisfying resolutions (with only one left until the next book, which I can hardly wait to continue). A feel-good teen and adult contemporary dramedy for anyone who ever felt left out in high school or frustrated by it, set in a beautiful old castle. 
I received this book in exchange for my honest review from Net Galley. All opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect those of the publisher or its affiliates or the author.
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Welcome to the First School by the Sea

by Jenny Colgan

Whether or not you are a fan of British boarding school books aimed at girls, you will enjoy this series written for adults who loved that genre in their younger days.  The series will contain six books as it follows students and teachers through six grades at Downey House in Cornwall beginning with this book, Welcome to the First School by the Sea. 

Maggie, a young English teacher from Glasgow, has been teaching in a fairly rough school in London and is ready for a change. She lands a job at the posh boarding school which looks like a beautiful castle. Her long-time, scruffy boyfriend Stan stays behind, and they try to work through the problems of a long distance relationship. The girls and some of the staff are introduced gradually as the plot progresses. Some are likable, some intentionally not. I really enjoyed meeting the various characters from the hardworking, bullied scholarship student Simone whose family hails from Romania to the sophisticated and daring French teacher Claire Crozier.

Maggie wants to do well by her students and is committed to being successful in her new job. She find herself in the middle of situations that develop and even puts herself physically at risk to help a distraught student. The Headteacher, Dr. Veronica Deveral, is a formidable but also amiable institution at the school. There is a potential romantic interest in Maggie’s counterpart at the boys’ school nearby. His dog Stephen Daedalus plays a prominent role in the story.

The normal tension from girls going through puberty, angst over grades, sports and distant family, and unpleasant bullying is ratcheted up when some valuable personal items go missing at the school. The identity of the thief is quite a surprise. Other dramatic twists are included, but not totally resolved leaving the reader anxious to rejoin the staff and students of Downey House after their summer break.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to HarperCollins (William Morrow) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

Notes: 1.  #1 in The School by the Sea series.
	    2. Be sure to read “A Word from Jenny” about the origin of the series. It is very interesting as is the original “Introduction” by the author under her pen name.
	    3. Some swearing.

Publication:  March 29, 2022—HarperCollins (William Morrow)

Memorable Lines:

Once she’d dreamed of filling young hearts and minds with wonderful books and poetry; inspiring them, like Robin Williams, to think beyond their small communities and into the big world. Now she just dreamed of crowd control, and keeping them quiet for ten bloody minutes without someone whacking somebody else or answering their hidden mobiles.

Pat and Liz had been delighted to take the young teacher under their wing and give her the benefit of their wisdom, acquired through about two years in the classroom and twenty in administration, as far as Maggie could work out.

Remembering her family’s love provided a small candle of warmth inside her.
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Apparently, this book is the first in the re-published in the US series by Jenny Colgan, previously out under a pen name.
It's a quick read with a decent premise/story line about a boarding school, however I felt it was ruined by too much bullying & talk about how fat the characters are.  
Jenny Colgan is an excellent, descriptive writer & I was looking forward to this series. Hopefully the other books focus on more positive thoughts!
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Another great book from Jenny Colgan. This is pretty standard fare from her and I think it will appeal to fans of her other novels. I didn't like it quite as much as the books in her Mure series, but it was a fun read nevertheless.
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Welcome to the School by the Sea by Jenny Colgan is the first book in Little School by the Sea series. I later discovered that this is a reprint.  It was originally released under the author’s pen name Jane Beaton.  The book comes across more as a young adult novel than women’s fiction.   I started reading this story and was quickly confused, frustrated, and upset.  I thought Welcome to the School by the Sea would be warm, upbeat story based on the description.   I was very wrong.  In the beginning, we are introduced to character after character without getting much detail.  I wish so many characters had not been introduced in one chapter.  The transitions are choppy.  The main focus is on Maggie Adair who decides to interview for a job at the posh Downey House, a boarding school for girls.  She gets the position as an English instructor.  Maggie leaves her boyfriend, Stan behind (I really do not know what she sees in him) to take the teaching position. We meet Veronica Deveral, Fliss, Alice, and Simone.  Fliss is a new student at the school and is going against her will.  She wishes to stay at home with her parents and attend the local school.  Fliss (aka Felicity) will do whatever it takes to get back home.  I wish we had been told why her parents were so adamant about sending her to Downey House.  Alice is a legacy student.  Her siblings have attended, and they have not endeared themselves to the headmistress.  Alice, unfortunately, is just like them.  She acts innocent, but she is usually at the center of the mischief.  Simone is a girl lucky enough to win a scholarship to the school (she may be bullied but she will get a first-class education).  The girl is a little overweight from all the cakes, pies, and sweets in her home.  Simone’s weight is mentioned repeatedly throughout the book.  I was not a fan of the fat shaming.  There is more to a person than their weight.  There is too much bullying in this book.  Anyone who has endured bullying should not read this story (it will give you bad flashbacks).  There are also numerous references to class differences.  Maggie and Simone are picked on because they do not come from wealthy backgrounds like the majority of the students or staff.  I had a difficult time finishing Welcome to the School by the Sea.  I wish there had been a warning on the book about the bullying, emotional abuse, and fat shaming.  I felt bad for Simone.  I found the story to be shallow, cliched, and predictable.  I was disappointed with the ending.  There is also foul language in the book and talk about intimate situations.  There were too many storylines stuffed into this one book along the stilted writing.  There is a preview of Rules at the School by the Sea at the end, but I will not be reading it.  Welcome to the School by the Sea was a disappointment from beginning to end.
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