Monday, May 23, 2011

Three weeks to THE REVENANT -- Girls' School Giveaway! [NOW CLOSED]

FIRST, I must announce the winner from last week's Victorian Giveaway. The person who will receive a copy of THE VESPERTINE, plus swag, etc., is . . .

Dani Nguyen!!!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered. I really enjoyed the comments and recs about your favorite things about the Victorian period!

Now, on to the next giveaway . . . This week's theme is all about Girls' Schools!

What do I love about them?

Boarding schools have long been one of my bullet-proof kinks in fiction. As I've said before, you can't go wrong when you pile kids together in a faraway school and replace the parents with a small group of disgruntled teachers. As you might imagine, same-sex schools offer even more benefits, challenges and conflicts -- such a great setting for a story, if I do say so myself. ;)

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, most schools for teen girls were meant to "finish" them, or prepare them for society. But later in the 19th century, school founders began to design more challenging courses of study for girls -- courses that were just as demanding as those intended for boys. At the time, it was a bit revolutionary to think that girls could handle such a cerebral challenge, but as we all know now, the girls proved they were more than up to the task!

*click photos for a larger view*

Above you see a group from a girls' school in Murfreesboro, TN. Kneeling second from the left is my great-grandmother, Clemie Shrader. I'm not certain if the girls were performing something (they are on a stage, after all), or if this was just an entertaining way of doing a class photo.

What do they have to do with The Revenant?

The novel's protagonist, Willie Hammond -- herself a student at a female academy in Tennessee -- steals an older girl's teaching credentials and runs away to Indian Territory, thinking to gain her independence. Expecting a simple Indian school, she instead finds a sophisticated institution teeming with wealthy, arrogant and highly educated Cherokee girls. Did I mention this school happens to be haunted?

Another theatrical pose, this time from the Cherokee Female Seminary. There are many photos of the Seminary girls staging tableau vivants for the camera. (They seemed particularly fond of reenacting the grisly assassination of Julius Caesar -- in the parlor!)

What am I giving away?

Turns out I couldn't find a very recent book set in a girls' school, but I'm very pleased to offer a fabulous story set in a Paris boarding school -- that's right, I'm talking about Anna and the French Kiss! Booklist said "Perkins’ debut, narrated in Anna’s likable, introspective voice, is an absorbing and enjoyable read that highlights how home can refer to someone, not just somewhere." In a starred review, Kirkus praises the book for surpassing "the usual chick-lit fare with smart dialogue, fresh characters and plenty of tingly interactions." I was utterly enchanted by this book -- it's beautifully written, funny, romantic, sexy . . . and it's set in Paris, one of my very favorite cities!
To sweeten the pot, I'm adding a novel that is actually set in a 19th century girls' school -- and is perhaps the mother of all Gothic girls' school stories -- Villette by Charlotte Brontë. This novel, a significant inspiration behind The Revenant, features a young woman who takes a teaching position in a place that seems very foreign and unwelcoming. And though there's not exactly a vengeful ghost in the story, Lucy Snowe is most certainly haunted. You'll have to read it to see what I mean! It's not an easy-breezy novel, but it's wonderfully Gothic and uniquely romantic.

The weekly giveaways are open to residents of North America only. International readers may still comment to enter the drawing for a finished copy of The Revenant.

How does one enter?

1. Leave a comment that includes a name and some way to contact you. This is really all you have to do to be entered for the weekly giveaway AND to put your name in the drawing for one of two finished copies of The Revenant. (Of course, I'd love for you to share a favorite novel or film set in a boarding school in your comment, but this is not required.)

2. If you'd like an extra entry, please tweet a link to this contest. Something like: Win a copy of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS at @soniagensler's Three Weeks to THE REVENANT Giveaway! (Please let me know in the comments that you've tweeted -- a link would be fabulous!)

You have until 11:59 pm Saturday the 28th (CDT) to enter -- good luck!

[Cross-posted from Livejournal]


  1. I have still not read Anna and the French would love to win. The Revenant is up next (I won an ARC).
    TWIMOM101 @ yahoo .com
    oh and I tweeted

  2. Great post, and a great contest!

    One of my favorite books set in a boarding school is DADDY LONG LEGS. It's sweet and endearing and wonderful, and the heroine is a riot! Have you read that one?

    I read Villette many years ago and frankly don't remember anything, except a scene pretty early on when the main character arrives at her new home...

  3. Would love to read this!

    I tweeted too:


  4. I'm have a copy of Anna and The French Kiss! Thanks for the awesome contest!


    email: fallendream03 AT gmail DOt com

  5. My favourite book that takes place in a boarding school is Evernight and movie, Mona Lisa Smile.



  6. Alba


  8. Great giveaway!

  9. MJ

    Awesome contest!

  10. I have been wanting to read this book for forever. It sounds SOOO good and I can't wait to read it somehow.

  11. June

    would love a copy for my classroom library!
    I retweeted also (jyazel87)

  12. I'm not really sure if it's considered a boarding school. But my favorite school set books series is the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  13. I loved Anna and the French Kiss!!! I read it on my nook though, it was my favorite boarding school book I think I've ever read.

    Alexis Salcido

    thanks for the contest!

    I tweeted:!/alexis_03912/status/72761753183850496

  14. Ooh, great post and an awesome giveaway!
    The most recent books I've read with boarding schools for girls would have
    To be firespell and hexbound by Chloe neill.
    They were good.

    I'd love to win.


  15. Hey, I love boarding school movies and books! I really liked Evernight by Claudia Gray, it wasn't all girl but it was a boarding school. For movies I loved Strike with Kirsten Dunst it was an all girls boarding school, I think it was set in either the 50s or 60s.

    Tristan Bruce

  16. Thanks for the giveaway :) I'm not really sure this counts... but the Song of the Lioness Quartet books by Tamora Pierce are pretty awesome, even though it's not really a girls boarding school lol.
    I tweeted:!/ramen_addict/status/72783895728357376

  17. You guys are awesome -- keep those recs coming! :D

  18. Thanks for this awesome giveaway! I'm International so I'm entering for the finished copies of The Revenant. I'd like to win your book! Thanks!
    My Fave Novel set in a boarding school would be.... Hex Hall Trilogy by Rachel Hawkins.

    I tweeted:

  19. I loved Anna and the French Kiss and I'm excited to read The Revenant!! Aside from Anna and the French Kiss, my other favorite book set in a boarding school is Intrinsical by Lani Woodland. I'm also an international follower so I'd love to be entered to win a finish copy of The Revenant. Thank you for the giveaway!

    sauvadeavelle @ yahoo dot com

  20. As a kid I always loved A Little Princess. I couldn't believe her boarding school was that hardcore!

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  21. I like a boarding school series by another Oklahoma author. The school is for spies in training, and the first one is I'd Tell You I Loved You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You. Cute.

  22. Some of my favorite boarding school novels are older. Goodbye Mr. Chips by James Hilton, Finding Hattie by Sally Warner, A little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett are a few that come to mind. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier, the Harry Potter series, the Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray and the Dark Elite Series by Chloe Neill are more recent. But... my favorite boarding school books will always be the Madeline stories by Ludwig Bemelman. That's where I first learned about boarding schools!

    Mary Ellen Thompson
    Thank you for the chance to win!

  23. I haven't managed to get a copy of Anna and the French Kiss yet! So excited for it though! I finished Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton recently - and that is SO awesome!And I've been rereading lots of Sarah Dessen lately, everything she writes is EPIC!

    I'm an international follower so I'd love to be entered to win a finished copy of The Revenant ;) Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. I never went to boarding shook but I lived in a crowded sorority house in college. Does that count? I think we were all equally as boycrazy as the average boarding school girl. LOL

    I retweeted but can't seem to give you a link to my status because I'm on my phone. (I thought these smartphones can do everything? :/ )


  25. I don't know if it counts as a boarding school movie but I love "All I Wanna Do," featuring Kirsten Dunst. Thanks for awesome giveaway!

  26. I have never read this book but I've heard so many good things about it.
    My name is Erica and my email address is
    Tweeted @!/Onuoha96/status/73859918343569408
    Thanks a lot!!

  27. All my friends keep raving about this book, and it's on my list, but I haven't had a chance to get to it yet.


  28. Ooh I've been wanting to read Anna and the French Kiss. I liked the Gemma Doyle trilogy & the Hex Hall series, magic & a boarding school always make for a great combo!
    nizmart at gmail dot com

  29. Thanks for the great giveaway!!

    I RTed your twitter post too!
    Imabookshark @ yahoo . com

    Mickey @

  30. Tweeted:!/nizmart/status/74474437742829568

    Thanks for hosting! I'm really looking forward to reading The Revenant.

  31. Whoa, those photos are beautiful/haunting!
    Can't wait to read The Revenant. : )

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. Awesome!! Americangirlie1991 at yahoo dot com

    And I tweeted under @lindsaycwrites



    LET ME WIN cuz my friends says it is a good and cool book


  35. I just finished A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY and loved it.

  36. Oh I'd love to win a copy of this one! :)

    I don't think I've actually read too many books set in a boarding school, but I agree with Kate, A Great and Terrible Beauty was amazing.

    I also Tweeted:!/BasicallyBooks/status/74526265092210689

    basicallyamazingbooks [at] gmail [dot] come

  37. Yay! Id ove to win a copy.
    I really enjoyed Touch of Frost (Frost Academy) by Jennifer Estep it hasnt been released yet but its held at a boarding type school and is such a different setting I loved it, Especially since its about myths. :)


  38. Signing up for this here contest. I found you from twitter :). <== contact information.

  39. thanks a bunch!!!



  40. I would love to be entered!

    Hhmm, does the House of Night series count as boarding school books? Nothing else is coming to mind right now.


  41. Thanks for the awesome contest! Though the Alex Rider series doesn't actually take place in a boarding school, I love it. The main protagonist attends Eton.


  42. Thanks for the great giveaway!!