How to Be True – Daisy May Johnson

“We need you to come on a QUEST with us!”

The nuns of the School of the Good Sisters teach their students all of the important things in life, like helicopter maintenance and “how to build the most perfect library ever”. The school has secret passageways, towers and emergency biscuits so you’d need to come up with a pretty compelling reason for me to want to leave. Cue a field trip to Paris…

Edie’s Grand-mère has offered the school use of the family’s château while they’re in Paris, which sounds like an incredibly generous offer. Edie isn’t so sure, though, because she and her Grand-mère don’t exactly see eye to eye. However, being in close proximity to a mystery you’re trying to solve can be mighty helpful.

“We’re going to figure out why somebody keeps trying to steal one of the paintings downstairs and we’re going to stop him because we’re very good at that sort of thing.”

I was disappointed when I figured out this book wasn’t going to be answering the questions I had at the end of How to Be Brave, particularly those about the people the villain worked for. My disappointment lasted all of three seconds, at which point I realised that this book was Edie’s story. Edie, the mischievous spitfire with a revolutionary spirit! My favourite character from the first book!

“I love you a little bit,” said Edie. “Not as much as macarons, for I cannot love anything more than macarons, but definitely more than doughnuts filled with jam.”

Everything I loved about the first book was here too: copious amounts of footnotes of the interesting, helpful variety (who knew that was a thing?!), biscuits and other yummy treats as far as the eye can see and fun, quirky nuns. With self defence skills, no less.

There were also three dogs, a duck, some poison darts, a very important painting and a library I could live in for the rest of my life. With one of a kind swearing (“CHOCOLATE CAKE FILLED WITH JAM!”, “KALE CUPCAKES!”) and a cheese-themed riot, there was plenty to smile about, although there were some serious moments too.

Edie and her friends, Calla and Hanna, proved that they still have their priorities straight: “we must go and investigate and SOLVE things and possibly also get some hot chocolate from the kitchen to fortify our souls.”

No, the website mentioned in the book doesn’t exist (yet). It would have been fun to visit though. One day a publisher is going to figure out that some readers visit every website and send emails to every email address mentioned in a book hoping that just once it’ll result in the discovery of a fun Easter egg.

Favourite quote:

“THERE IS A DUCK FOLLOWING US AND I THINK IT IS NOW TIME FOR THE SITUATION TO COME TO A HEAD.”

This series is absolutely delightful and I need it to continue for a very, very long time. Hopefully my next visit to the School of the Good Sisters will be suitably bookish. So far we’ve accompanied Calla and Edie on adventures so it simply has to be “more book than person” Hanna’s turn next.

“Will all our school trips be like this?” “Yes,” said Hanna happily. “Isn’t it great?”

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Pushkin Children’s Books, an imprint of Pushkin Press, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Edie was born to a family of troublemakers. When her activist parents leave Paris to protest around the globe, her grandmother decides it’s time she became a proper young lady and so sends her to the School of the Good Sisters.

But to Edie’s surprise, the nuns at the school teach genuinely useful things, like how to build a perfect library, cater for midnight feasts and make poison darts, and mischievous Edie feels right at home. When a school trip to Paris is planned, she worries about returning to the strict order of her grandmother’s chateau – but things are not as she left them. Soon Edie and her rebellious friends are caught up in a mystery involving a precious painting, secrets from her grandmother’s past and a very persistent burglar…

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