Surviving High School
"Because the day, it was school. It was the bells too loud or rattly in broken speakers that would never get fixed. It was the bad floors squeaky and footprinted, and the bang of lockers. It was writing my name in the upper-right-hand corner of the paper or Mr. Nelson would automatically deduct five points, and in the upper left-hand-corner of the paper or Mr. Peter would deduct three. "—Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
High school is a strange existence. It is a minefield of cliques, relationships, and hopefully schoolwork. There are several authors who have found a sharply accurate voice when writing as teens, John Green being the most successful.
When it does ring true, scenes and exchanges strike with the power to take us back to our most vibrant adolescent memories. These are the books that hold this ability for me. They are great high school narratives dealing with isolation, cliques, peer-pressure, and simply trying to survive.
Confession time: I am news junkie. Obsessed to the core with headlines, bylines, and editorials, I love starting my morning with a hot cup of coffee, a good podcast, and the online editions of my favorite papers.
Like martial arts, magic, and high school heartbreak? Amanda Sun’s Ink has got you covered.
It’s not easy moving to Japan, and Katie Greene was having an especially rotten day. She forgot to change from her school slippers—again! and ended up barging into a huge break-up scene between moody, gorgeous kendo captain Yuu Tomohiro and his leggy, book-smart girlfriend of the glittery nails.
Lexi is fed up. It is bad enough knowing that her sister gets all the attention and praise, but when the sister in question is a seven-year-old beauty queen, it's so much worse. Mackenzie is a tornado in a tiara. Demanding, unappreciative, and mean. Lexi has had just enough of Mackenzie's reign of beauty and terror. It is time for the Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality.
In The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander, Josh and his brother JB are the stars of their school basketball team. The sons of professional baller Charlie "Da Man" Bell are a force to be reckoned with. That is fine when Josh and JB work together, but trash talk, a family crisis, and a new girl is about to come between these two, making teamwork nearly impossible.
“She’s perfect now.”
Nicole Castro is the most popular girl in school—a brain, a jock, a great friend—but what everyone is struck by is her beauty. Her perfect, perfect face. Or, they were until somebody attacked her, erasing half of her. Or, did they? In Paul Griffin’s Burning Blue, the mysteries of who did this to Nic and who she really is are slowly revealed to everyone, including herself.
Level Up's title is a video game reference, but it is also a metaphor for accepting responsibility and gaining maturity as one ages, which are qualities that Dennis Ouyang needs serious help with.
From the first time Dennis ever saw a Pac Man console as a child, he was mesmerized by the power that video games had. The idea of endless entertainment, based on skill and incredibly interactive, transfixes him.
Troy Billings is about to kill himself. At 296 pounds, he's tired of being a joke. Every aspect of his life, the way he looks, moves, even the way he breathes, has become a punchline for his peers. If Troy had his way, Fat Kid Rules the World would be a pretty short read. Thank goodness Curt MacCrea enters the picture.
If King Dork's cover seems vaguely familiar, that's because it looks like a defaced copy of The Catcher in the Rye. The title and its author Frank Portman are scrawled in ballpoint pen with a blatant disregard for the granddaddy of all coming-of-age novels.
This sums up how Tom Henderson feels about Salinger's classic novel. He notices a Catcher cult amongst most adults, who sing the praises of the book changing their lives. Tom thinks all of this is, to borrow a phrase from Holden Caulfield, "phony," but a particular copy of the book is about to turn his world upside down and inside out.