BLURB: “Darrell and her friends are delighted to be back for their third year at Malory Towers. This year there are some new faces too – the snobbish American, Zerelda, and the tom-boyish Bill. But it’s Mavis with her precious singing voice who causes the biggest upset of the year.”
REVIEW: The third book in the wonderful Malory Towers series opens with Darrell heading back to Malory Towers without her best friend, Sally, who is in quarantine for an illness, leaving her instead stuck with one of the new girls, an overconfident American girl named Zerelda who likes to pretend she is much older than the rest of the schoolgirls. Zerelda, with her make-up and fancy hairstyles, struggles to fit in at Malory Towers despite the admiration of Gwendoline, who it seems will never learn her lesson at the school. She is also joined in being an outcast by Mavis, a boastful young girl whose singing voice has given her dreams of becoming a famous opera star. The other new girl, Bill, however, fits in much better and provides some drama and excitement by bringing her horse, Thunder, along to Malory Towers, who provides for me the most upsetting moment of the series when he becomes unwell with colic and Bill struggles to save his life. Mavis also provides some drama when she decides to flee the school in the middle of the night in order to compete in a village competition, leading her to damage her voice possibly forever. This is one of my favourite books in the series, with the interactions of Zerelda providing some light relief, as well as the sneezing pellet trick – and once again, provides a heartwarming tale showing how people can change for the better.