Summer Term at St. Clare's
By Enid Blyton
Methuen, 1943

Summer Term at St. Clare's is the third book of the St. Clare's School series, six books following the adventures of girls at an English boarding school. If you are going to read the other books it is best to read them in order, but this book works okay as a stand alone novel.

Isabel and Pat O'Sullivan are eager for summer term to start back at St. Clare's, and... what? Apparently summer term is the period that runs from after Easter to the end of the school year (in June or July); apparently this is a thing in England.

Anyway, the twins have the misfortune to be placed in quarantine due to a potential exposure to the mumps, and have to suffer through an extended vacation; apparently this happens primarily so the author can harp on how fun school is and how terrible it is to miss any time with one's friends.

They do eventually get to school -- having missed all the fun hustle and bustle of the first days -- and settle in quickly. This term there are some new girls, most importantly Prudence (a terrible kill-joy who makes few friends), Carlotta, an odd girl from Spain, and Sadie, an American. The twin's cousin, Alison, immanently falls under the spell of the glamorous American, and is terrifically mocked for starting all her sentences with "Sadie says..."; she doesn't seem to notice that Americans talk funny, are shallow and obsessed with fashion, and are just generally vulgar.

Okay, no one is complaining about the girls picking on the American (we deserve it), but Prudence takes a strong disliking to the Spanish girl, and tries to turn the others against her; she discovers that Carlotta has a secret in her past (she was raised poor! And worse, spoiler alert), and tries to turn the others against her. They have long recognized Prudence as a hateful prude, and ignore her. Suddenly, in the last 20 pages of the book, an adventure appears, and Carlotta is the only one who can save the day! Yay!

This is a pretty standard Blyton boarding-school adventure, with lots of the students doing dumb things, but with the Really Bad Apples clearly highlighted so you can tell what kind of mischief is okay, really, and which is just not cricket. The surprise adventure at the end is also pretty standard, although this adventure is more Famous Five quality than the more prosaic adventure had in The O'Sullivan Twins. Overall, a perfectly acceptable addition to the series, and exactly what the readers expected.

The St. Clare's School series:

  1. The Twins at St. Clare's (1941)
  2. The O'Sullivan Twins (1942)
  3. Summer Term at St. Clare's (1943)
  4. Second Form at St. Clare's (1944)
  5. Claudine at St. Clare's (1944)
  6. Fifth Formers at St. Clare's (1945)

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