Flora Goldwasser has fallen in love. She won’t admit it to anyone, but something about Elijah Huck has pulled her under. When he tells her about the hippie Quaker school he attended in the Hudson Valley called Quare Academy, where he’ll be teaching next year, Flora gives up her tony upper east side prep school for a life on a farm, hoping to woo him. A fish out of water, Flora stands out like a sore thumb in her vintage suits among the tattered tunics and ripped jeans of the rest of the student body. When Elijah doesn’t show up, Flora must make the most of the situation and will ultimately learn more about herself than she ever thought possible.
Told in a series of letters, emails, journal entries and various ephemera, Flora’s dramatic first year is laid out for all to see, embarrassing moments and all.
Having no interest in reading about a spoiled, privileged, teenage girl living in Manhattan, I struggled when I started to read Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis. I continued reading it because I really enjoy the format (journals, emails, letters, and such) and am so glad I stuck with this book because it is fabulous!
The characters are quirky, intelligent and so interesting. I grew to like Flora as she grew as a character, and it was such a pleasure to watch her mature throughout the novel. A product of her new environment (due to poor thinking related to a boy) and friends, Flora could do one of two things: sink or swim (which she did a little of both).
Flora crushed on Elijah Huck, her history tutor at Bowen Prep High School in Manhattan. In addition to tutoring her, she became his muse. He became instantly intrigued by this insane girl who broke the Bowen dress code rules to validate her style and started to photograph her. Her photos were quickly published into the blog, Miss Tulip. Flora’s only request being that no one ever see her face.
During photography sessions and tutoring, Flora learns that Elijah attended Quare Academy, an alternative farm school in upstate New York. He explains his intentions to return to Quare in the fall to teach a photography class. Without much forethought, Flora applies and is accepted to the Academy for her junior year of high school. Unfortunately, Elijah has a change of plans.
If you are wondering how Flora, the model and muse for an extremely popular and talked about blog lasts in a school that has a “no shell speak” rule, you must read this book. It is funny, engaging, and the writing is phenomenal!