Eliza has always wanted to go to boarding school, so when her parents
are transferred to Toronto for a year she's eager to attend Ashdown
Academy in Vancouver. Even though she discovers that a real boarding
school is not like the books she has read, Eliza enjoys the novelty
of wearing a uniform and living in the Yellow Dorm with four other
girls. When one of the girls, Helen, starts the "daring game", however,
Eliza's life at boarding school becomes more complicated. Her growing
friendship with Helen puts her in a position of conflicting loyalties.
I was sent to Crofton House School, a boarding school for
girls, in Vancouver for grades ten to twelve. My great aunt in Scotland
had given me many novels about boarding schools over the years. The
reality was not as exciting as a novel, but I enjoyed my new friends
and the security of the routine. Because we had lived in Vancouver
three years earlier and I missed it dreadfully, I was thrilled to
be back there.
Just before I
started this novel I read a memoir by Antonia White called FROST IN
MAY, about her experiences at a convent school. Because I remembered
so much about being at Crofton House, I was inspired to write about
my own experiences. Like many authors, my first book was my most autobiographical.
I wrote about a younger girl than I was, but about half of the book
is based on things that really happened to me. The book is so close
to reality that, even now, I sometimes have trouble sorting out what
happened at Crofton House and what happened at Ashdown Academy!