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Jummy at the River School

Book Synopsis

Jummy has won a place at the River School, the finest girls’ boarding school in Nigeria. Nothing can dampen her spirits, not even when she learns that her best friend Caro won’t be joining her.

By the Shine-Shine River, school is everything Jummy dreamt of, with friendly new girls, midnight feasts and sporting prizes – but when Caro suddenly arrives at the school to work, not to learn, Jummy must bring all her friends together to help.

From a fantastic new talent in middle-grade contemporary fiction, Sabine Adeyinka, based on her own experience of attending boarding school in Nigeria

A joyful, glorious collision of classic boarding-school story with vibrant 1990s Nigeria

Irrepressible Jummy investigates an intriguing mystery as her best friend from home turns up at the school

Our Review Panel says...

Jummy at the River School is an immersive introduction to life at boarding school in 1990s Nigeria. Many of the themes of friendship and bravery and justice are universal, but the vividly described River School setting, and Jummy’s own unique voice, make the story sing.

Jumoke has always dreamed of being accepted to Nigeria’s best girls boarding school, and the reality is everything she hoped for. The grounds are beautiful, her dorm mates take her under their wing, and before long she is caught up in a whirlwind of midnight feasts, picnics, school songs and working hard to win the house prize. Everything seems perfect, the only fly in the ointment stuck-up Bolaji who thinks she is better than everyone else. However, it is not long before Jummy finds that, to her surprise, her best friend from back home, Caro, is also at the River School. Jummy’s initial elation turns to confusion when she realises that Caro; brave, funny, clever Caro; is there as a maid to the matron, to work not learn. Jummy decides that everyone deserves the opportunities she has, and with the help of her new friends, resolves that there must be a way to help Caro join them at school….

Suitable across the KS2 age range, Jummy at the River School is very accessibly written, with short chapters averaging 8 pages and large, well-spaced text that is easy on the eye. The underlying poverty and class differences affecting Jummy, Caro and Bolaji are never shied away from but also never overwhelm the joyful nature of the story and the light-footed writing that keep you wanting to turn the next page. Perfect for fans of school stories and as a class reader linked to Africa, Jummy at the River School is as juicy and sweet and captivating as Caro’s favourite agbalumo fruit.

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