Book name: Summer Term at Trebizon
Author: Anne Digby
Publisher: WH Allen
Format: ebook, print
Genre: Vintage children’s fiction, school stories
Publication Date: 1979
Star Rating: 5/5
The Trebizon series by Anne Digby brings a modern style to boarding-school fiction but certain things never go out of fashion.
There is plenty in the Trebizon series to entice loyal fans of boarding-school stories.
Rebecca Mason has been at Trebizon School in Devon, England for two terms when ‘Summer Term at Trebizon’ begins, and she has made plenty of friends and had lots of fun.
However, the summer term promises new excitements.
Surfing is easily available because the school is right on the coast. And summer brings a whole new range of school sports, too, with athletics and tennis pushing hockey and netball aside for the moment.
The question ‘You off to Wimbledon, then?’ begins as a joke, but fans of the series know that Rebecca will emerge as a capable young tennis player.
Over the years that follow she works hard to turn her natural ability on the court into real success. It all begins right here!
However, it isn’t all fun in the sun in the Summer Term at Trebizon. Rebecca is embarrassed when she can’t get the hang of surfing, but worse is to come.
She has been warned that she must improve her maths grade quickly, but the new maths teacher Max has already seen her fall off her surfboard and Rebecca is convinced that he thinks she’s stupid.
She doesn’t trust his smooth ways and easy smiles, although Roberta Jones is only too keen to vouch for him. On the other hand, one of the teachers is naturally suspicious of him so perhaps we should trust Rebecca’s instincts.
Rebecca is naturally hardworking and focused, so things do start to improve for her. She’s motivated by a sponsored surf for Charity Week and starts to feel more at home on her board. But Max’s strange teaching methods and his habit of ignoring her mean that her maths is no better than it was.
Rebecca’s struggles with her maths take back stage, however, when the sponsorship money is stolen. Perhaps her suspicions of Max aren’t so far from the truth after all.
Summer Term at Trebizon builds on the school life already well established during the first two books in the series. Even though it was set in the Seventies and Eighties, Trebizon is a highly traditional boarding school, featuring an enthusiasm for sports, a much-loved school magazine, and a rivalry between the girls that doesn’t always remain good natured.
The pupils are encouraged to be self-sufficient, motivated and capable. The focus is on organising as many of their activities for themselves as possible, something that fans of the Chalet School series from Elinor Brent-Dyer, or any of the many school stories by Angela Brazil, will find familiar.
On the other hand, the feel throughout Summer Term at Trebizon is modern and Rebecca’s perspective as an outsider gives an inclusive feel to the story. Her father is working in Saudi Arabia, which is why she suddenly attends boarding school despite having previously gone to her local high school.
The transition that saw her move to Trebizon in the first book in the series was entirely unexpected and could have happened to more or less anyone.
I like the modernity of the Trebizon series. It is always lovely to read a boarding-school series that takes place in our contemporary world, but none of the best features of boarding-school fiction are sacrificed to achieve the fresh feel. Perhaps Elinor Brent-Dyer and Angela Brazil would approve.
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If you’ve enjoyed this review, you might be interested reading in my review of The Trebizon books by Anne Digby.
Or you might like to take a look at my review of For the Sake of the School by Angela Brazil.
If you fancy something different, you might like to take a chance on my review of A Child’s War by Mike Brown.