A much-needed Indian take on school fiction, Alone has all the ingredients of boarding school literature that we love, and more.


If you have ever traveled to a foreign land or shifted houses, the transition is sure a strange phase! For some it might be exciting but for the rest it might be dreadful. Either way, it is understandable that there is an initial struggle until you get accustomed to the new environment. But have you ever experienced being alien in the same place you once felt ‘at home’?

A.Coven in her book Alone documents the life of Elizabeth in her seventh grade. Her school is the same campus as that of her sixth grade but almost everything else had changed. The Hill School is restructured on holistic approaches with its new principal, Palak Nanda, promising that it will be a space of exploration, which means no exams. And no, this is not a fantasy story!

School girl challenges

Four classmates, Ayesha, Elizabeth, Mahrukh, and Maitreyi are part of this first experimental batch for the school’s new philosophy. Elizabeth lost her best friend to an international school and grew more apprehensive about being in her own school. The teachers constantly reinvented themselves and came up with activities that were unheard of and sometimes weird! These four classmates with varied characters group into a team for one such project not by choice but because they are left with no other option. When they have enough academic and social barriers to deal with, they are pushed to the limits of their threshold with an unexpected turn of events.

Did Elizabeth and her friends achieve what they set out to do on their project? Do they become friends or stay ‘Alone’? Do they face life threatening danger? You should read the book to find out!

A great combination of plot and purpose

What started as a casual high school story, takes us through a roller coaster of feelings, fresh ideas, exciting incidents, nail biting moments, thrilling explorations and before you know it, you are almost in the middle of a strange case of playing detective! What’s impressive about this book is that it is engrossing and yet it packs in all the important questions and challenges that teens face in India.

Watch out for the other books in The Hill School Girls series — SecretsStrangers, and Trouble. In Secrets, the school has a new addition to its curriculum in the form of Information Technology. This book is from Ayesha’s point of view and she has a big secret. It is interesting to see a book that addresses Internet safety, privacy and other issues but at the same time, gives us a riveting plot. Don’t miss these books from Duckbill!

Cover image credit: Scroll


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