Review: Viola in Reel Life, by Adriana Trigiani

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Purely Olivia. 🙂 Today I’ll be reviewing a book that was a wonderfully delightful read- Viola in Reel Life, by Adriana Trigiani.


Title: Viola in Reel Life Author: Adriana Trigiani Page Count: 382 ~Goodreads Synopsis 

My Quick Summary: Viola’s parents are going to Afghanistan for a work project, and they’re sending her to boarding school. She’s not happy at all to be leaving behind her life and her friends for a different school and roommates. Her only consolation is her video diary, and her skill with a camera. What is she going to do?

My Review:

This was the most incredible book I’ve read in a long time. After I wrote that sentence, I looked back on my reading count for the last few months, and no books jumped out to me as being as amazing as this one.

Okay! Enough! No more adjectives. 😉 Now I’m going to tell you why I loved it.

Characters. I thoroughly enjoyed nearly every character in the whole book. Viola was the perfect main character. I liked how her name is unique, and it seemed to fit her. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the Sarahs and Emmas and Lucys of MG/YA fiction.

I was worried Viola would end up having snobby roommates that would just make her experience at boarding school horrible. But her roommates were one of my favorite parts of the story! They were sweet, yet each had their own individual personality. I found myself kind of wanting to live in their quad. I also loved the characters of Viola’s peppy RA, Trish, and her “hip” grandmother, Grand.

Plot. Sometimes a plot can feel forced. Sometimes it feels like something terrible happens in a book, not because it fits, but because there’s nothing else to do but make *character name* die or *setting* experience a fire. To me, there was never a point during Viola in Reel Life where IT WAS THE CLIMAX *CUE INTENSE VIOLIN MUSIC*. The plot just rolled along nicely, chronicling the events at an even speed. It was perfect.

Of course, since it’s a realistic fiction for teenagers, there had to be romance. I didn’t care for the person Viola ended up dating…but I’ll let you form your own opinion on that.

Another thing that I personally enjoyed were the parts that described Viola using her camera and filming things. I’m not good with cameras (if you couldn’t tell from the picture above, haha) and it was cool to read about someone skilled with them.

Something I realized while reading this book was, there is no antagonist. There’s no stuck-up mean boarding school girl, no evil headmaster, no bad character at all. In some cases that might seem strange, but it worked. It was almost as if the “bad guy” was Viola herself- the part of her that didn’t want to go to boarding school. Or maybe the antagonist was the boarding school.

Well, I think you can tell by my review that I’m giving Viola in Reel Life a glowing, well deserved, 5 stars! 🙂


I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I loved writing it! I haven’t done a review in a while, and I love it when I get the chance to. 😀 Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? If not, have I convinced you to? See you in the comments!



6 thoughts on “Review: Viola in Reel Life, by Adriana Trigiani

  1. Wow five stars?! I’ve never heard about this book before! (you have successfully convinced me to read it!) That’s good that you loved the characters; my favorite books usually require amazing characters, and that is all. The summary sounds really interesting and enticing…I actually started writing a story about a girl who left for a boarding school. It’s an interesting topic. I would hate to leave my home to go to a school far away, no matter how good! I live next to Philips Exeter (it’s a high school, have you heard of it?), and it’s supposedly the best in the U.S. I have a few friends who were accepted which is really awesome since they can go to such a great high school but stay close home! 💗


    • I’m so glad I convinced you to read it! You won’t regret it😉
      I have written multiple stories about girls going to boarding school, too, haha. Have you read The Mother-Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick?(one of the girls goes to boarding school)
      I don’t think I’d want to go either, though. It’s cool you have a real life boarding school right nearby! I’ve never heard of Philips Exeter, but it sounds impressive. I googled it after reading your comment and I live like 2,000 miles away from it, so that’s probably why it’s new to me.😂
      Thanks for your comment, Sarah!💕

      Liked by 1 person

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