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New Worlds for Josie by Kathryn Worth

New Worlds for Josie

by Kathryn Worth

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Lovely book. I appreciated how the characters strove to adapt to a new culture. A good old fashioned tale. Three and a half stars. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
When fourteen-year-old Josephine McNair arrived at the Pensionnat Savarel in Geneva, together with her older sister Elizabeth, the young American girl was surprised to discover that - with one or two notable exceptions - all the other pupils at the small boarding school run by Tante Berthe gave them the cold shoulder. Only Trudy Glockner, a friendly Dutch girl from Amsterdam, seemed willing to befriend Josie. What could have caused this hostility, the McNair sisters wondered, and what did it have to do with the mysterious Cutie Rhinelander and Lucy Vandercook, about whom they had both been questioned? Slowly, a story emerged of two other American pupils, whose inconsiderate and ill-mannered behaviour the year before had created a lasting impression in the minds of the Savareliennes, an impression that was especially strong in Mimi Massenet - a talented musician, the most popular girl in the school, and the one whom Josie particularly wanted for a friend. Could Josie and Elizabeth undo the damage caused by their predecessors? Could they convince their new peers that, despite outward differences, they held some of the same ideals? Most of all, could they finally make friends with their European schoolmates?

Published in 1944, and set in the Switzerland of 1937, New Worlds for Josie is one of a number of American school stories featuring girls who go off to Switzerland (see also: Louise Lee Floethe's A Year to Remember, and Madeleine L'Engle's And Both Were Young), and is - ironically, given the period in which it is set, just prior to WWII - a study of cross-cultural misunderstanding and rapprochement. It is also an engaging tale of a young girl - something of a poet and a dreamer - expanding her horizons and her perspective, and discovering the wider world for the first time. A little bit of romance with an English boy also attending boarding school in Switzerland, some schoolgirl rivalries (Hilda Boekman makes a wonderful villain - the kind one loves to hate!), and the obligatory dramatic rescue that proves the heroine's worth, make this an entertaining book to read! I did wish that poor faithful Trudy were better appreciated than the "desirable" Mimi, but aside from that qualm, found New Worlds for Josie an agreeable little school story bonbon, ideally suited for curling up and reading, on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Which is just what I did... ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jun 25, 2013 |
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A boarding school story about American Josie's and her sister's year in Switzerland by the beloved author of They Loved to Laugh.
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