Finishing school is ever so interesting when you're learning how to poison your dinner guests with the mutton chops.
Sophronia, infamous in her family for disassembling dumbwaiters and falling into custard, is horrified when she is sent to Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But school isn't the dreadfully boring disaster Sophronia anticipates. In the academy—a collection of interlaced dirigibles—the girls learn music and intelligence gathering, cooking and defense against vampires, dance and rudimentary seduction. Along with her new chum Dimity, Sophronia learns the principles of fundamental espionage, discovering the academy’s own secrets along the way. She assembles a lovable gang of misfits (an engine-room “sootie” and urchin mechanical whiz, a student from the nearby evil-genius academy and a steam-powered dog named Bumbersnoot) to assist her on a delightfully madcap espionage adventure. This genre-blender will introduce fans of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls and Jennifer Lynn Barnes' The Squad to a world of mechanical maids and flying machines, while bringing a spy-school romp to readers of the weightier worlds of Cassandra Clare and Scott Westerfeld. It’s higher on silliness and lower on romance than we have come to expect for this age range, but that just leaves more room for exploding wicker chickens.
As Dimity says, "Who doesn't want an exploding wicker chicken?" (Steampunk. 11-15)