From the moment I first glimpsed on Twitter the news that the fantastic series Trebizon by Anne Digby was back I was filled with total joy. Having grown up on a diet of boarding school stories stuffed with midnight feasts, friends falling out and mysteries to be uncovered, I was delighted to know that one of my favourite series was returning. There is always the slight worry when you re read books from your childhood that they won’t stand up to the test of the time but be reassured these have fully lived up to my memories and expectations. In fact I would even go as far as to say that I actually enjoyed reading them more now! The new covers and illustrations by Lucy Truman give the books a fresh and modern appeal which proclaim from the outset ‘read me’ and read them you must!
In ‘First Term at Trebizon’ we see Rebecca joining the famous Trebizon school in the Second Year. She is desperately sad at leaving her parents behind and wondering how she will ever fit in when friendships will have already been strongly forged in the first year. But rescue soon comes to hand in the form of best friends Tish and Sue who take Rebecca under their wing. Eager to make a great impression in her new school she writes an article for the school magazine which unwittingly provokes a huge row and causes major divisions within the school. From the moment Rebecca boards the train I felt Anne captures beautifully the excitement and nerves of starting a new school and I found myself totally caught up in these emotions.
In ‘Second Term at Trebizon’ Rebecca finds herself caught in the middle between her two friends Tish and Sue. Tish is behaving very oddly and nobody can comprehend why she is so adamant that Sue should pursue a music scholarship and not be captain of the school hockey team. Even when it appears Tish’s motives are selfish and purely to benefit herself, Rebecca still implicitly trusts her and feels that there must be altruistic reasons behind Tish’s strange behaviour. But will she manage to uncover the truth in time or will their friendship be spoiled forever. The theme of this story is timeless. All children will identify with the misunderstandings and turmoil that happens within friendships and how isolating and hurtful these feelings can be.
‘Summer Term at Trebizon’ finds Rebecca facing the prospect of being separated from her friends the following year unless her maths marks improve dramatically. But she faces obstacles on the way when the new maths teacher appears to be distracted and unsympathetic to her plight. The only joy on the horizon is the charity surfing competition she is taking part in but when the money goes missing can our friends get to the bottom of this mystery. What I really enjoyed about this story was the strong feeling of support and friendship that comes through and how when people are given encouragement and praise it can redeem them.
What Anne Digby manages to do with this series is create this world that you just want to belong to and will leave you desperate to come back for more. The details are glorious and transport you to a different place and time. From the opening of the book when I longed to be on that train and wearing that splendid cape, or sitting sipping cocoa in the common room you will find yourself lost in these sublime stories. The rich descriptions she uses to describe the beautiful buildings, the glistening sea and golden sands create a vivid picture of this idyllic school which provides the most delightful escapism for the reader. It manages not to feel dated and there are only a few references to items like cassette players which would suggest it is not from this era but for me these details were fabulously nostalgic. Both of my girls are already enjoying this series and like me they are dreaming of spending days at a boarding school.
The fantastic news is that Egmont is releasing the first three books in the series on January 28th and then all 14 titles will be available by Autumn 2017 so there is the guaranteed anticipation of future books to come when your child falls in love with this series.
A big thank you for Egmont for sending me these books to review it has been an absolute treat to share them and introduce my girls to Rebecca, TIsh and Sue.