Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger (2013)
I really enjoyed this book. I had to take it back to the library already or I would have included some of the clever lines of text. Rats, I did take a photo of one of my favorite bits of repartee but cannot find it now.
The book has sly, clever bits of dialogue scattered throughout. Since the protagonist is only 14 years old, it gives a nice change from having “love interests” cluttering up a perfectly good story.
A touch of Harry Potter suddenly off to wizard school, in the case a rambunctious young girl goes off to “finishing school” that is more of a spy school and therein lies the fun.
I saw this book in a list of good “steampunk” stories and it fits that genre nicely. Toss in the “you can never miss with vampires and werewolves” elements, and it is a fun world to live in. I will definitely be reading more by this author.
I will try to find the photo of the page with the good repartee and post it here later. It was some casual query to the 14-year old protagonist about whether or not she was an assassin, to which she replied without missing a beat something clever (that I cannot recall exactly). I adore those kinds of throw away lines that amuse.
To the point that the protagonist is a 14-year GIRL, the jacket cover really seriously misses the boat. One of the worst Photoshop fails I have ever seen, especially one on a professionally done book jacket instead of an ad for weight loss or similar. First, the WOMAN portrayed is an adult. The distortions of her arm is particularly laughable. The shame of it is that it otherwise captures a very appealing image that suits the book well enough.
The very good news is that this is an accomplished author who has written several more in this series and other series as well, so once you discover the delight and clever characters, there are more you can read without having to wait another year or two. I put the link to her author page on Goodreads so you can pop over to see the other titles available.