Thank you to Bloomsbury Children's Books (via NetGalley) for the e-galley of The Académie.It's hard to really describe what this book is about. The story takes place in France in the Fall of 1799, right before Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the French Directory, who was ruling France after the French Revolution. The author used the setting of an all girls school in Saint-Germain called The Academie to tell what was happening in France during this time period through the eyes of three young girls. The story is told via three different point of views: Eliza Monroe, daughter of the future President of the United States, Hortense de Beauharnais, step-daughter of Napoleon Bonaparte, and Madeleine de Pourat, a fictitious daughter of a fictitious Creole actress at the Comedie Francaise. Eliza, Hortense, and Caroline Bonaparte (Napoleon's sister) all attend the school together, and set out on many adventures, several of which don't achieve the hoped-for outcome. Madeleine is involved simply because she is in love with Hortense's brother, but she doesn't meet either Eliza or Hortense until almost 70% through the book.I am sort of mixed in my opinion of this book. I felt like the first half was really slow-moving, as the author tried to introduce the characters and let the reader know how they were all connected. I felt sorry for Hortense from the first; Caroline is openly vindictive and treats her terribly, simply because she doesn't like Hortense's mother. Eliza's narration is suitably young - she is only 14 - but I found her incredibly grating. She's selfish, arrogant and easily manipulated by Caroline, and I found her constant cataloging of what was happening as being good fodder for letters to her mother quite annoying. I felt horribly sad for Madeleine, who has the worst time of it by far than any of the other characters, and enjoyed reading her chapters the most.And then, the second half of the book happens. It definitely picked up, and you could see the plot lines coming to a head. At times I was almost breathless with what was going on. But the feeling the book left me with was sort of one of disappointment. It wasn't that I thought that these couples (aside from Caroline) were going to be able to stay together or whatever - I know my history, thanks to Wikipedia (LOL) - but I wasn't expecting everything to end in the manner it did. I was quite shocked with the climax.And while we're talking about couples, let me just say that all of this "love at first sight" stuff that was going on was a little ridiculous. Hortense falls in love with the music teacher's son, because, what, he plays music? And Eliza's in love with Eugene because he's handsome? And then they do really stupid things because of said love? It just got really stupid and was a bit overdone, in my opinion. Also, I was really unhappy with Hortense at the end; I mentioned that I felt bad for her above, but by the end of the book found her to be just as selfish in her own way as all the others. Her actions left me with a bad taste in my mouth.All in all, this was an okay book. It's an interesting snapshot in French history, and I enjoyed parts of it immensely and others much less so. But it definitely wasn't a favorite.