Review Blog

May 25 2020

Ella at Eden: The Secret Journal by Laura Sieveking

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Scholastic Australia, 2020 ISBN: 9781743834947.
(Age: 8-11years) Recommended. In the second book of the Ella at Eden series, the reader finds that Ella is comfortable in her new boarding school surroundings and has established a cohesive and supportive friendship group. She still misses her sister Olivia and the rest of her family but keeps in touch via email. As the Year Seven Junior Journalist, Ella is determined that her next article for the school e-newsletter will be an interesting and exciting read. She suggests that the next newsletter theme be "Past and Present" which ties in perfectly the Alumni Luncheon being held at the school. Many Old Scholars and relatives of the present students will be in attendance. Of course, Ella's nemesis Saskia continually boasts about her connection to the school and the fact that Ella does not have such a connection.
While supporting her friend Grace on a dare, Ella discovers an old journal hidden in the Bell Tower. The journal begins on February 12, 1940 and has been written by a 12 year old student named Elena. Through reading the journal Ella discovers a secret passage, a missing item and becomes aware of a period in history which was brought about by World War Two. She spends time researching the history of Eden School in the school library archives and learns so much about her new learning environment. During this time Ella also has a misunderstanding with her friends Zoe, Grace and Violet and this takes time to resolve itself. The Alumni Luncheon also brings challenges for Ella but the events lead to the solving of a great mystery and making a new connection to the past.
Once again author Laura Sieveking has written a novel which will keep middle primary readers entertained and hopeful of a happy ending. Ella and her friends are in a privileged boarding school but they still have the same friendship worries, school difficulties and successes that young girls throughout Australia experience. Themes: Girls, Friendship, Boarding School, Reporter, Journal, Secrets, History.
Kathryn Beilby

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