I don't know why I like reading about girl boarding schools, but I do. It's a good thing I was never sent to one. Solitary bear that I am, I would not have fared well in the communal living environment. This one is set on Isadora Island (fictional) in the lovely San Juan Islands (real) of Washington State (semi-real). Temple School is supposed to be progressive and experimental, but it's sort of like a commune of the sixties, minus the LSD and tie-dyed shirts and peace signs. The school uniform is loose tunics and leggings and Roman sandals, the diet is spartan, and the curriculum is loose and arty. All of this is intended to produce North American Women of the Future. Waverley Scott is shipped off to Temple School in 1939 at age fourteen. She develops deep bonds of friendship, learns all about love and sex, and eventually finds that her entire future was shaped by her brief years at the school. Laura Kalpakian has a particular flair for the off-beat without going overboard. She has created a lot of very memorable characters and events in the book, and a few parts that made me laugh out loud. I loved the Church of the Chocolate God, invented by Waverley. Chocolate is forbidden at the school, number one on the List of Nevers, so they're in big trouble when they are discovered: "You made a church? You worshiped chocolate? After all we have done to spare our students the freight and weight of crippling religions and Untrue Foods, and you made a----chocolate god?" Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.