“Shouldn’t You Be in School?” (All The Wrong Questions ?3)
Author: Lemony Snicket
What are they teaching their students? Where did she hide it? Does anyone else feel sleepy?
Is that smoke? Fires are coming up all over the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea and apprentice Lemony Snicket is on the case. So is S. Theodora Markson, his chaperone, but she is easily distracted by Sharon Haines, a teacher, who insists on helping. But, is she really helping? Lemony must put his sleuthing to good use and call on his allies if he hopes to figure out who’s been starting these fires. What are the secrets of the Department of Education? Are these fires connected to the academy? Is all of this somehow connected to the notorious villain Hangfire?
With fires popping up everywhere and kids disappearing to a new academy brought up by the Department of Education, Lemony Snicket is determined to get to the bottom of it all. Amid this, his worries for his sister, Kit, and her arrest peaks to a whole new level of worry. Ellington Feint comes out of the shadows, having escaped her own arrest and Lemony doesn’t know if he can truly trust her after the many times she’s double-crossed him. Only the promise that he’d help her get her father back from Hangfire keeps him from turning her over. Afraid, of endangering his friends, he must now rely on them if he hopes to end these fires.
Third book in the series, the story has intensified immensely. While Moxie was hurt at the end of the last book, the danger for Lemony and his friends is even higher now. I really loved that Lemony’s friends didn’t give up on him or walk away even though it was dangerous to join him on his mission. I find this to be inspiring because everyone should have friends that will stick with them through the hard parts of life, though they might not always be comprised of dangerous women with knives or trying to put out fires or take down nefarious villains. It’s important to have a person you can rely on and who’ll do anything for you and vice versa. This is a great show of that. It’s completely heartwarming.
The new addition of Wade Academy into the setting of Stain’d-by-the-Sea reminded me so much of Austere Academy, the fifth book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, though much more dangerous since it wasn’t necessarily an educational environment. The place is accessible by train, really showing just how isolated it is from the town, while also leading Lemony to discover more to the big plot Hangfire has. Each time a new setting has been introduced it’s just as surprising to me as it is to Lemony. They’re like monuments to the town—The Black Cat Coffee, Hungry’s, the Library, Lost Arms, and others.
The VFD has its reveal. Sort of. Not really. It’s not a secret at this point, especially with Lemony’s offhand mentions. The deeper understanding of what VFD is about is impressive, but you still don’t know everything about it. If you did it wouldn’t be a secret. So while we understand Lemony’s part, kind-a sort-a, there’s still so much to be in the dark about. That kind of mystery, where it’s more heroic and adventurous and filled with clues is more fun and always capturing my attention.
If I could join this secret society I totally would. To get up the gumption to be so brave and find optimism even in the darkest of moments, it would be amazing. I must say, though, the foreshadowing for ASOUE is heavy and even giggle worthy.
Something I haven’t mentioned yet, is how clever Lemony himself is, not just in his maneuvers, but in how he thinks and talks. I know I’ve talked about the books overall being clever, but Lemony really has all the cards. While looked down upon by adults, he is quite possibly smarter than all of them. He really thinks outside the box and the results are phenomenal. I’m in awe of this character.
Need I say what I’ve said for the last two books of this series? Original and dangerous and surprising. There’s never a dull moment. From light humor to moments of sorrow to the great A-Ha! Go read this!
“Children are the future of the world, and we must keep them safe from harm.” (Sharon to Lemony, p. 41)
“It is not pleasant to have a number of people glaring and sighing at you at the same time, even if you meant for them to do it.” (Lemony, p. 52)
“The treachery of the world will continue no matter how much you worry about it, L.” (Kit to Lemony, p. 106)
“There’s more to a library than the library.” (Ellington to Lemony, p. 171)
“Everyone tells you it’s all right to cry, but not enough people say it’s all right if you don’t want people to know.” (Lemony, p. 174)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? On Your Side by Thriving Ivory.
Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.