A rich kid fears he won't realize his college dream in this sedate, bloodless drama.
Upper-middle-class high school senior David Ellison is worried that he won't get into Juilliard because he hasn't suffered enough. According to his drama teacher, "Actors can't reach their full potential unless they can find a way to get at the darkest part of their psyches." Fortunately, hot new girl Vanessa is playing the Daisy to David's Nick Carraway in the school's production of The Great Gatsby, and she can provide necessary heartbreak by driving a wedge between him and his girlfriend. He is also distracted by a shady presence known only as The Artist, who is targeting all the high-achieving seniors at his prep school by revealing their secret flaws on a public bulletin board. Though suffering always appears imminent, David's emotional pain is limited to angsting over his unrequited love and potentially college-free future. Though he fluffs the Juilliard audition, he still manages to be the sole student from his school who is accepted to Stanford. And even The Artist is an empty threat, as his or her identity is never revealed and casually dismissed at novel's end.
The One-Percent setting, low physical and emotional stakes and too-tidy ending ensure that this is a must-read for only a select set of pretty white teens with problems. (Fiction. 13 & up)