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I, Claudia by Mary McCoy
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I, Claudia (edition 2018)

by Mary McCoy (Author)

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643325,831 (4.33)2
"Over the course of her high school years, awkward Claudia McCarthy finds herself unwittingly drawn into the dark side of her school's student government, with dire consequences"--
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RGG: An amazingly good read!! I enjoyed all the allusions to Robert Graves' I, Claudius, but I don't think missing those allusions will detract. On the College-Bound list. Reading Interest: 14-YA.
  rgruberhighschool | May 5, 2020 |
I, Claudius meets Watergate meets Clueless, or Cruel Intentions, or something. I felt repeatedly thwacked over the head with the references and parallels to the Roman Empire and at the same time completely uninterested in the plot. So this one didn't work for me. ( )
  electrascaife | Sep 15, 2019 |
Many thanks to Netgalley, Lerner Publishing Group and Mary McCoy for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving and advanced copy.

Political intrigue. Think House of Cards for high schoolers, except teenagers are so much more ruthless than adults. A modern retelling of “I, Claudius” where ancient Rome is replaced by a Los Angeles private high school. Is this where we will find tomorrows leaders? Let’s hope not, but after reading this, probably, given what we have seen from the political arena. Has nothing changed? Not really. Is power the seductive - certainly. Does it corrupt - absolutely. A living entity and watching what it does to those students it comes into contact with - fascinating. From the outside, where it won’t affect you in any way. Does it turn good into evil and evil into…psychopaths? No one comes out unscathed, that’s for sure. We aren’t all good and all bad, but it does warp each person in a different way. Can you avoid it? Well, history has lots to teach us, but we don’t seem to learn from it. Many of these questions and more are raised in this fantastic, outstanding and thoroughly enjoyable read about the Imperial Day Academy.

Claudia McCarthy has a stutter and a noticeable limp as a result of one leg being noticeably shorter than the other. School has not been the kindest, most sympathetic place, with children often being cruel in their taunts. She quickly realizes that high school will not be any different. Her only friend is her sister, Maise, who sits on Imperial’s High Council. The school has two organizing bodies, the Senate and the High Council. The Senate doesn’t have any real power, with it’s main function organizing school dances and such. The High Council has more power than the administration, voting on a student’s smallest infraction with suspensions and expulsions. The story is told through Claudia’s perspective, privy only to people and events as she sees them. Interspersed between the chapters we get glimpses of the transcript of Claudia on trial. We learn that she is being accused of abusing her power as president of the High Council. How did she get from being invisible to holding the highest office? Claudia relates her journey that takes her from witnessing the corruption from those in power, to being enticed to running for the Senate and ends up being elected president of High Council. Her only intent was to weed out those who were abusing power and to restore the school to a safe, honest environment. How did she get into the predicament of Imperial Day Academy Board vs. Claudia McCarthy.

McCoy does an excellent job of retelling or reimagining the original. It is full of nefarious characters, intensity of emotions, depicting the rise and fall of a reluctant leader, all fo it just works at so many levels. Claudia’s rise and fall takes place over four years, crafted so well that makes it believable. She uses a play on the character’s names from Grave’s text - you have an Augustus, Livia, Herod becomes Hector. Her characters are deep and come to life, jumping off the page at you. It is dark with some violence, drugs, death, but nothing a young adult wouldn’t have come across in other novels for their age. Then ending, cruel almost - you’ll see why. There is al least one big flaw that I found in the story but I don’t want to get into spoilers in my review. I’d be happy to discuss in comments if anyone has the same feeling. McCoy includes two pages of discussion questions that will encourage thought and analysis. Something that can be done individually, in small groups or as a class. This so easily lends itself to be taught in a classroom setting, although I believe anyone would enjoy reading it on its own for pure enjoyment. It is too good to just be in a classroom. Too good to not be done in a classroom.

Definitely one of my stand out reads of 2018. ( )
  PinkPurlandProse | Sep 22, 2018 |
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