The Calypso Chronicles
The Calypso Chronicles is a series of four young adult books written by Tyne O’Connell with the assistance of teens from Eton and St Mary’s Ascot. While inspired on the life and pupils in these two schools the characters and stories are entirely fictional. The books are published by Bloomsbury USA and Piccadilly Press in the UK.
The books are set in England between the fictional all girl’s boarding school of St Augustine’s and the all boys boarding school of Eades in Royal Berkshire, where everyone is titled (the Horrible Hon.’s) or rich in a terribly grand, “its so common to talk about wealth” sort of way.
These are the daughters of royalty, rock stars, super celebrities and international world leaders all living together, carrying out dorm raids, secret escapes for midnight feasts, posting YouTube clips, updating their Facebook pages creating sensational headlines and manipulating the media. These books are like being told a naughty secret – like living within the pages of Hello, OK and Grazia magazine for the teen set.
Our main character, Calypso Kelly, stands out for lots of reasons. Firstly she’s “po” (poor) by St Augustine’s standards as her parents are successful writers in Hollywood and while that might make her well off by average standards it marks her as common at a school where everyone is the son or daughter of aristocrats, celebrities or the Good & the Great. So it’s no wonder Calypso feels like a fish out of water.
After four years as the school misfit. With Post Its of “American Freak“ being slapped on her back daily, she’s returned to school after summer break resolved to reinvent herself. No more ‘Miss American try hard’ for Calypso. She’s determined to be one of the Horrible Hon.’s with a total reinvention of herself as a hot boy magnet girl of mystery and fathomless depths. But even with the headshot of her hot new (pretend) boyfriend on her pin board she can’t seem to catch a break.
Everything changes when she unexpectedly finds herself fencing Prince Freds, heir to the British throne and catches his eye. Has her luck changed or has she made a rod for her own back with Honey, Queen of the Horrible Hon’s?
Calypso is about to discover two things, not all Hon’s are horrible (in fact some of them are really lovely and kind and fun with the same neurosis as Calypso) and boys. One boy in particular; the heir to the throne, Prince Frederick (Freds) who, despite what Calypso’s inner chatter wants to believe, is very, very keen.
The first book focuses on Calypso’s realization that her prejudices against the Horrible Hons.’s aren’t entirely warranted as she discovers that not all Hon.’s are horrible. The cute meet between Calypso and Freds takes place at an inter-school fencing match.
As the story continues Calypso and friends firefight their way through the plots of the Horrible Hon.’s while trying to manipulate new opportunities to see Freds and his friends through a series of moon walks through Pullers Woods, dorm raids, midnight feasts, pod casts, YouTube clips, sensational headlines and phone listens.
Freds heir to the throne is keen and intrigued by Calypso but the Achilles heel of his fear of paparazzi or people selling photographs and stories, makes him vulnerable especially for a Horrible Hon. Fortunately Sister Constance has a few tricks up her habit and Calypso continues to grow.
The fifth book picks up her relationship with Freds in Oxford in freshers week. They haven’t seen one another for a year and Calypso has put her dreams of princes behind her. Freds has been dating a girl he met on his gap year in Kenya but will the old chemistry from school pull them together again?
The Calypso Chronicles are classic books about boarding schools.
St Augustine’s School for Ladies
The venerable old school has hosted the education of Britain’s oldest and grandest Catholic families along with many European royal houses. Based on St Mary’s Ascot, it is in running distance of Eades (Eton), which is alongside Windsor Castle in Royal Berkshire and almost as old.
Sister Constance & The Nuns
The devout – if sweetly naïve, quant little nuns that teach and wander the grounds with their ever watchful eyes on the happiness and confidence of the girls. They always seem to know more than they are letting on. While for the most part they seem blissfully unaware of the girl’s more outrageous schemes they are clearly nobody’s fools and formidable foes of the media who are forever prowling the grounds for a story or snap. When it comes to protecting their girls these little women are ferocious. And while the girls are ingenious when it comes to covering up the schemes the nuns seem to have a sixth sense of who the bad eggs are.
Sister Constance, the headmistress is particularly wily and always has a trick up her sleeve to defy the expectations of the girls.
An international cast of privileged teens full of the entitlement of wealth and class while still having all the same insecurities and fears as the average teen.
As well as the Calypso we see, there is the Calypso in her own head, always questioning and doubting herself. She is her own worst critic, which makes her endearing. She misses her well-intentioned parents Bob & Sarah but sees them as a liability. Calypso is the grown up in the relationship.
The Horrible Hon.’s
Titled girls from Hons to Lady’s to Princesses. Lead by the not so Honorable Honey O’Hare, these girls switch allegiance depending on which way the wind is blowing, meaning Honey is actually just as vulnerable as the girls she targets with her cruel schemes. Honey’s vulnerability makes her a complex evil character.
Calypso’s best friend. The quintessential rock chick with a pet rat Hilda and snake Brian. Calypso’s Star is a cherub in black; a little bit Goth, a little bit Emo and incredibly sweet and loyal. She will always put herself out on a limb for those she cares about especially Calypso. Daughter of Tiger famous lead singer of the heavy metal band Dirge, she has grown up around drugs and badly behaved adults and is deeply unimpressed by showoffs.
The heir to the throne, the heartthrob of the world but ultimately one of the guys at Eades. He’s known all his life that he will one day be king so he’s never wanted to, or needed to impress which makes him relaxing to be around. By virtue of his position he has a loathing of standing out. Avoiding the limelight is his idea of thrill seeking. He is ever so slightly paranoid about people betraying him to the press and does all he can to escape the body-guards that shadow his life. His paranoia is his Achilles heel.
The media men and women who are always lurking and sometimes manipulated by the Horrible Hons (particularly Honey) for her own nefarious reasons. Many of the boys at Eades have personal body guards but the nuns of St Augustine’s unnerve the press more than all the military trained retinues of the boys.
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