I, Claudia
I, Claudia

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Annotation: When disaffected teen historian Claudia is unexpectedly thrust into leadership at the Imperial Day Academy, she finds herself wielding unexpected power and asking the question: does power inevitably corrupt? Contains mature material. Contains Mature Material
Catalog Number: #182068
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Adult Language Adult Language Mature Content Mature Content
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 418 pages
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-512-44846-X Perma-Bound: 0-7804-4404-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-512-44846-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-4404-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017038714
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Imperial Day Academy's student senate and honor council wield great authority. When Claudia McCarthy realizes how nasty high-school politics taint these institutions, she charts a path to leadership with the goal of improving things; eventually her motivations shift. Claudia's narrative alternates with transcripts from a school hearing and therapy sessions. In this retelling of Robert Graves's I, Claudius, points about power and corruption resonate in a cut-throat private-school setting.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up Claudia McCarthy is the (possibly unreliable) narrator of this modern take on I, Claudius . She leads readers through four years at the exclusive Los Angeles Imperial Day Academy. The teen is an amateur historian and an outsider who becomes more and more enmeshed in the inner political circle of the student senate and honor council. There are no friends at Imperial Day, only potential supporters and adversaries; alliances and allegiances shift constantly. Adultsboth teachers and parentsare distant and mostly unimportant: the students determine who is popular, who is elected to office, and whose reputation will remain untarnished. This Lord of the Flies like work is packed with political intrigue and maneuvering. Interspersed with Claudia's commentary are conversations with her therapist, as well as transcripts of an Imperial Day Board of Commissioners hearing, both of which add insight and uncertainty. McCoy's cast of schemers and sycophants is complex and finely detailed, and readers will never be quite sure of their motivations. The plot twists and expert foreshadowing will keep teens guessing. VERDICT A must-read for YA fans of political thrillers or school-based stories. Suzanne Fondrie, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
The last thing Claudia McCarthy wanted was power—that is, until she had some.After years of being teased for her limp and her speech impediment, Claudia enters her new high school, Imperial Day Academy, with only one goal in mind: to be as invisible as possible. That is, until her mortal enemy, the powerful Honor Council member Livia Drusus, orders her to run for Student Senate, thereby thrusting Claudia into the spotlight. Against all odds, Claudia wins her election and, after uncovering a financial scandal within the current Senate, becomes vice president. As Claudia becomes more and more powerful, she begins to question the motivations of everyone around her—including her own. This retelling of the novel I, Claudius (1934) is a gripping political thriller told through a complex narrator whose facility for coldhearted political calculation is exceeded only by her capacity for self-doubt. Claudia is white, and the story features a diverse set of characters who are neither immune to the impact of nor entirely defined by their race, queerness, or physical ability. This narratorial approach is particularly refreshing when it comes to Claudia: Most notably, unlike the majority of disabled characters in young adult fiction, Claudia falls in (reciprocated) love with a popular, nondisabled student.A disturbing, suspenseful coming-of-age story about power, corruption, and the choices we make both for ourselves and the ones we love. (Thriller. 16-adult)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* The talented and dynamic McCoy (Camp So-and-So, 2017) tackles power, politics, and history in this loose retelling of I, Claudius. Imperial Day Academy, an elite prep school in Los Angeles, has teachers, administrators, and an elected student senate. But the true power at Imperial Day lies in the honor council, an elected group of students that uphold the school's strict honor code. Claudia is a self-proclaimed outsider. With chronic health problems and an oft-mocked stutter, her proximity to power comes only from her benevolent older sister's honor council position. But Claudia is also a student of history, and as she recounts the corrupt reigns of a string of honor council presidents for an unnamed jury, the reader will begin to realize that her years of studying political machines have turned Claudia into one herself. McCoy pulls off great feats of craft here, managing to keep the narrative riveting and suspenseful while focusing on minute details of student government. It becomes as difficult to tell whether Claudia is manipulating her classmates as it is to tell whether McCoy is manipulating her readers, both to delightful effect. Smart, witty, and featuring an unforgettable (and possibly unreliable) narrator, as well as a seamless stream of political history, the audience that finds this novel will be unable to put it down.
Word Count: 102,568
Reading Level: 6.6
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.6 / points: 17.0 / quiz: 199075 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: 940L

A 2019 Michael L. Printz Honor Book Disaffected teen historian Claudia McCarthy never expected to be in charge of Imperial Day Academy, but by accident, design, or scheme, she is pulled into the tumultuous and high-profile world of the Senate and Honor Council. Suddenly, Claudia is wielding power over her fellow students that she never expected to have and isn't sure she wants. Claudia vows to use her power to help the school. But there are forces aligned against her: shocking scandals, tyrants waiting in the wings, and political dilemmas with no easy answers. As Claudia struggles to be a force for good in the universe, she wrestles with the question: does power inevitably corrupt?

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