It's very 1920s with the anti-soppism stuff, and very obviously an early effort with the classic GO storylines of the heroine dramatically winning a tennis match in a close deciding set and then winning an important scholarship, not to mention the use of fancy-sounding names which Joey is gently mocked for doing in her first effort at writing a book
I think Rosamund's uncle is harsh for criticising her, but it's interesting that, in this book, several of the school's pupils die in an epidemic, which is something EBD shies away from in the CS books. It's also interesting to see the head girl and prefects come to the fore during a time of crisis for the school: the CS's HG and prefects don't feature that much either in the first half of Exile
or in Gay
However, I'm going to be grumpy and say that I don't like the way the "soppiness" is dealt with. In DFB's Dimsie Goes To School
, the "Anti-Soppists" are juniors who tackle their own classmates. In this book, the anti-soppist storyline comes across to me as bullying by the school's ruling clique of anyone who doesn't do things their way. They humiliate the younger girls by making them read out their soppy notes in public (with the objects of their crushes amongst those listening), and they gang up on and make fun of Adelicia.
The younger girls haven't done anything worse than sigh about how AN Sixth Former is "divinely beautiful", and Adelicia, when she asks why everyone's picking on her, is told that it's because she wanted to be known by a pet name, asked everyone to be nice to her and kept calling people "dear" or "darling". OK, soppiness can be annoying and is a big no-no in GO books of the time, but it doesn't hurt anyone and I don't see that it was necessary to treat people like that. Imagine being about 14 and being forced to stand up in front of the object of your crush and a whole load of other people and read out a soppy note about the wonders of the said crush-object which you hadn't intended to be seen by anyone except your best friends - they were probably all mentally scarred for life