Cover Image: Briarcliff Prep

Briarcliff Prep

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Member Reviews

📖My Thoughts📖

As a kid, I was taught never to judge a book by its cover. While this is something I absolutely stand by in the proverbial sense, I never use this theory while choosing an actual book. I often choose a book solely based on the cover itself, never looking at the synopsis. I think it holds a special element of surprise. With that said, when I chose this book, I was preparing myself for some cute YA book about kids that went to a boarding school. What I didn’t expect, was the strong compelling premises that laid ahead. As hard as this book was at times to read, and not for the reasons you think, I am so glad I picked this one up. It had such strong and bold themes that some people are honestly just afraid to touch on, especially with the age group that it was targeted for. I think this was very well written to show the challenges as well as the highlights that encompasses the life of a teenager. 
⚠️This book has some trigger warnings including bullying teen dating violence. ⚠️
Thank you Netgalley, Brianna Peppins and Disney Publishing Worldwide for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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This was an earnest debut, but the plot just wasn't enough to hold me. The dialogue couldve been a tad stronger but I liked the characters for what it was worth overall.
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A heartbreaking but great read for teens that addresses some heavy topics. It’s extremely important for more books like this to be written. The characters were fully rounded and the book kept me turning the pages.
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I wanted to love this one but from the start the pacing was off for me. It started very slow with a lot of description which I understand was just trying to paint a clear picture of the school but we didn't need to car ride there to be depicted. It was doing a lot of overexplaining about the importance of historically Black institutions right off the bat and it just didn't feel like real 14 year old convo.
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I like the intent of this book, and I acknowledge that this book is a great thing for the intended audience, who can use a book prioritizing Black joy and success. But the pacing of the book just doesn’t work for me, and I’m just not feeling compelled by it.
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I want to preface by saying that this book was obviously not written for me, but I can definitely see how important this book is and can be for its intended audience. Because of this, please keep this in mind when reading my review!!

We already know that I love a boarding school setting, and I was especially excited to see that this book was set in an HBBS (Historically Black Boarding School) as 1) I had never heard of them and 2) my dad went to an HBCU and I still remember the heated arguments I got into with my white peers in a sociology of education class about their importance. And while reading I did love the setting -- the building names (still mad at UNC for not renaming one of their buildings Hurston Hall), the classes, the extracurriculars; Briarcliff Prep was essentially a college campus. However, what rubbed me the wrong way was the privilege. Every character except for two seems to come from a wealthy background and the struggles of students in lower socioeconomic classes seem to be ignored or written off.

I also felt that this book bordered on having too much exposition and the majority of the action and conflict took place during the latter half of the book. At some points it felt like it was dragging, though it did keep my interest.

This sort of ties into the setting, but at points this book felt more like it should have been NA instead of YA (not because of content!). Like I said earlier, Briarcliff Prep is essentially a college campus. Yes, there is a curfew, a rule about cell phones, and the whole permission-to-leave-campus thing that was always such a hassle for me and my friends when I went to a boarding school (I wish we had an app!), but the rigor and the type of hustle culture depicted in this book felt off to me -- like the main character didn't read like a 14 year old to me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and plan on buying it for my school library. It's a really strong story of finding your place away from home, family/sisterhood, and the realities of domestic and relationship violence.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I love a good POC book that teens can experience, I enjoyed that this book involves so much family and history of black colleges. I love the awareness in this story as well. I think the emotions expressed in this story are very raw and relatable.
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Everything you could want in a dark academia read. One I would recommend to everyone I meet. First 5 star read in a long while.
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This book really just took me for a ride. I loved the build up, the character development, and the writing. I would definitely read more from this author!
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I never went to an HBCU, but I LOVED "attending" an HBBS through Avi's perspective. This story takes readers on a journey of coming of age while being faced with the challenges of life. Avi's been waiting for her moment to walk in the footsteps of her family members and attend Briarcliff Prep. She ends up making friends with her cool roommate, Zazie, and Rhyon, the school's "celebrity" through their shared disdain for Fallon and mean girls like her. Avi explores love, balancing class workloads and expectations while navigating her family's unique dynamic (and her sister's toxic relationship). I enjoyed this book from start to finish. It will definitely have a special place on the bookshelf of my classroom.
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This book was so amazing and I loved seeing an HBBC! As someone who went to a PWI, I didn’t really have that experience of being among my own people…BP gave me that.
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I’m not going to lie…I thought this book was going to be a thriller of sorts based off the title & cover (for some reason, they give me that & I am a chronic non-reader of synopses), especially since it takes place at a boarding school but alas, it is not…I just knew I really wanted to read it! I loved this book about the MC, Avi, following the footsteps of her mother & older sister but with a plan to make a place for herself in this new place. I also loved that there was a little bit of a love story but the larger part was the friendships she establishes while navigating her relationship with her sister. There could be some triggers based upon experience but I ate this book up.
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Avi has been looking forward to attending Briarcliff Prep, a Historically Black Boarding School, since her sister Belle started there. Now Avi is a freshman and her sister is a senior, and she is finally getting the chance to do everything she has been dreaming of. As with most dreams, not everything lives up to her expectations. She has a great roommate, a boy she is interested in, and of course plenty of mean girl drama. But when her sister begins to quit the activities she loves and seems to be only doing things her boyfriend Logan likes, Avi begins to worry. Belle starts shutting out Avi and her other friends, too. How do you help someone who says they don't want help? And denies that anything is wrong? Avi is desperate to find a way to help Belle while keeping her own life on track too. A powerful read with some important lessons. Highly recommended for grades 8 & up.
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*I received a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley.

Avrielle LeBeau is about to attend Briarcliff Prep, one of the last Historically Black Boarding Schools, for her freshman year. All of the women in her family have attended and her brothers and father have attended the all boys school, Preston. The only thing holding her back is that Avi isn't sure how to make her mark. Her older sister Belle is almost the perfect student. Involved in so many activities and basically in the perfect relationship. But soon Avi learns that her sister's relationship isn't actually perfect. And it will not only affect her sister, but everything that Avi does at school, feels about her current crush, and even her relationship with her family.

This book was such a hard book to read in the best way. The author does a stellar job about handling very sensitive issues with sincerity. Avi and Belle are like the true sisters that we can relate to. It's hard to measure up to someone who feels perfect. Avi does a great job of trying to be herself and give enough to others as well. What I loved most about the book was the way that Avi's friends and family looked out for each other. It must be difficult to live away from everything at a boarding school, and these teenagers really hold on to each other through the difficult things they face in the book. The book does a great job of going through a school year without dragging and also showing the parts of the story that are important to remember.

I will definitely purchase this book for my library as it is a timely look into mental health, healthy relationships, learning to share emotions, and just being a teenager. I cannot recommend this book enough.
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This was such a good read! I loved all the black girl magic that was happening is this story! Like many others have mentioned, this story talked about domestic violence. I wasn't as alarmed to read about this because it is a real topic and is something that happens in teenage relationships. I felt that the domestic abuse in this story didn't take away from all the other positive things that were happening in the novel due to how well it was written.  In the end, this novel gave all the good feels that a young black woman would want to read in a novel.
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Avi is starting her freshman year in high school at a Historically Black Boarding School that her older sister attends (and where her brothers attend the partner school for boys.) The first half of the book is really about the setting and describing what the school is like. The second half of the book focuses on Avi finding out that her sister is being abused by her boyfriend. I can see teens really getting into the setting and for Black girl readers to dream about attending a school like Briarcliff Prep. (The nod to Facts of Life in the book brought back my own middle school dream of attending a boarding school.) As an adult who has worked in a boarding school, the author got so many things wrong that it was hard for me to enjoy the book. I also felt like the pacing was off so at several times I lost interest in the story.
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this book just wasn't for me -- sorry! i couldn;t really get into it, though i tried several times. just not the kind of thing for me.
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Thank you to #NetGalley, Brianna Peppins, and the publisher of this book for the eARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

TW: Dating Violence 

Avielle LeBeau is about to start her freshman year at a HBBS (Historically Black Boarding Schools), one of the few remaining ones in the country. She's a hard worker and is determined to not only continue her family's legacy, but also make a name for herself and not been seen as "Little LeBeau". All of her dreams and hopes start to go down the drain though when she discovers a horrible secret about her sister's boyfriend. What will Avi do? Do the right thing or do what her sister wants her to do, stay quiet.

This was a powerful read and one that I think will be positive and impactful to young people who are beginning to date and start relationships. I hope it will show them that teen dating violence is not okay and they deserve to be treated with respect.
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I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It reminded me a little of The Clique series but for older readers with more serious life events happening. There were many heavy but relatable topics covered by Peppins including family loyalty, friendship, bullying, dating violence, and love. I appreciated how Peppins presented dating violence's complexities while focusing on an outsider's perspective rather than the abuser or the abuse. 
Peppins' characters attend Historically Black Boarding Schools and her characters add needed diversity to the genre.
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I really enjoyed this book. 

I work in an high school and know that so many students will love the representation. It also shows how a young girl navigates a whole new world. Perfect for kids first entering high school and learn how to handle new situations.

The sibling bond is also so special. The sisters go through things and deal with bad situations and I love how they are there for each other. 

Overall I definitely recommend and put this book in our library.

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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