Review| Tessa – Kayla Tirrell

The first book in the Shelfbrooke Academy series, Twelfth Knight, was released at the end of April and was really good. The second book, Tessa, was released at the beginning of the week and today I want to share my thoughts about this book. A big thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC to read and review!

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Tessa never dreamed of going to Shelfbrooke Academy, but the summer before her senior year, a lawyer visits her family saying she’s a long-lost descendant of the D’Villes—one of the founding families of the school. Encouraged by her parents, she leaves everything she knows behind to finish her studies at the prestigious boarding school.

Once there, Tessa’s ties to the D’Villes give her access to all the perks Shelfbrooke has to offer—secret meetings, private rooms, hot guys.

But when Tessa and Angelo, the artistic student she can’t seem to stop thinking about, are paired for a school project, Tessa discovers not everyone shares the same love for the D’Ville name. Many would delight to see their fall from grace, while others are willing to do anything to climb to the top.

How far is Tessa willing to go to learn more about her past while trying to follow her heart?

Tessa is a modern retelling of the classic novel, Tess of the d’Ubervilles. It’s the second book in the Shelfbrooke Academy series (a collection of retellings that can all be read as standalones) that promises to be a lot more fun than the original!


I haven’t read the classic Tessa is based on, but after reading this I’m very curious. Mostly because I want to find the Easter Eggs the author hid for us in this story. The books in this series can be read as standalones, but it’s definitely worth reading them all!

Tessa is entering her senior year, but will be going to Shelfbrooke Academy for the first time. During the summer, a lawyer contacted her and she found out she comes from a pretty prestigious family and wasn’t aware of this. I loved how Tessa stayed really down to earth and just wanted to be who she’s always been. Yeah, she has some money, but it’s not something she feels she needs.

Angelo is also from a prestigious family and really hates anything that has to do with money. Not really the money, but how many students use it to get away with just about anything. There is definitely some anger there and he can’t wait until he’s 18 and can do what he wants. I loved that Angelo was a bit mysterious in the beginning. It’s clear he’s not like the others, but that’s all we really know. He’s really into music and I loved that side of him.

Of course there is some drama before Angelo and Tessa find their way to each other, but I really enjoyed the journey. How they both need time to find themselves and where they belong. The art project they did really helped that along and I loved that. That there family name doesn’t define who they are. I also loved the friendships Tessa gained when she met Izzy and Bette. I definitely wouldn’t say no if they got their own stories!

Besides the events at school, I loved how much this book focused on family. The author showed us family isn’t always blood. Tessa’s adoptive family is amazing and I think the scenes with her parents and siblings were my favorite. Same for Angelo. I loved seeing him find his way back to his brothers when there is a family emergency.

Tessa is a fast and fun read that I read in one sitting. If you’re looking for swoon-worthy characters, great friends, family, a little romance and even a little update about the characters we meet in Twelfth Knight. I also loved the boarding school feeling this book gives us. I am really excited for the next book in this series!

Kayla Tirrell did it again! She made us grow to love another set of characters in this fun new series. I can’t wait to read the next one! What is your favorite retelling?

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