Ella at Eden: New Girl by Laura Sieveking

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Scholastic Australia, 2020. ISBN: 9781743834930.
(Age: 8-11) Recommended. Ella nervously waits with her family at Eden College, her new boarding school. All of the Year 7's have arrived a day early to settle in. Fortunately Ella's best friend Zoe is also attending the school.
The girls and families are welcomed by the warm and friendly Headmistress, Mrs Sinclair. Once the families leave Ms Montgomery, the House Mistress and Vice Headmistress, who seems very different to the Principal, takes the students on a tour of the school. Regrettably Ella draws negative attention to herself after commenting on the portraits of past Head Mistresses and offending Saskia, another Year 7 girl who turns out to be that mean girl who makes life difficult for Ella. Ella is also a scholarship student and Saskia makes a point of drawing attention to this as often as possible.
Ella and Zoe share a dormitory with Grace, a bubbly girl who talks not stop and has trouble listening, and Violet who is quiet and secretive. The first few weeks in the school term are action packed for the four new students. They join extracurricular clubs, have a disaster in the Science Lab, are involved in the search for missing items plus deal with home sickness. Ella joins the school paper, the Eden Press, and writes an article about the missing items after interviewing the victims of the thefts. Eventually the surprise thief is uncovered and the girls find out a secret about Violet.
Throughout the book are emails from Ella to her sister Olivia which fill the reader with more information about daily life at the school as well as keeping the connection between the two sisters. Ella at Eden: New Girl is the first in the Ella at Eden series and will be a popular hit with middle primary readers. It is an enjoyable read that will keep fans of Ella and Olivia entertained and looking for the next book in the series. Themes: Girls, Friendship, New School, New Challenges, Boarding School, Reporter, Missing Items.
Kathryn Beilby