Already known for providing readers a new angle on a familiar subject—e.g., college sororities (Pledged, 2004), obsessive students (The Overachievers, 2006)—Robbins now applies that same incisive inside scoop to the lives of high-schoolers who feel…different.
In schools across the country, thousands of students often feel “trapped, despairing that in today’s educational landscape, they either have to conform to the popular crowd’s arbitrary standards—forcing them to hide their true selves—or face dismissive treatment that batters relentlessly at their soul.” The author introduces what she calls “quirk theory,” the idea that outsiders thrive after high school for many of the same reasons that they were misfits in high school. Fully immersing herself in the lives of a wide variety of “outsider” students—including the “band geek,” the “artsy indie,” the “loner” and the “gamer”—Robbins demonstrates the ways in which their “quirk” is a good thing. This likely won’t be news for many readers who have long survived high school, but it’s a useful reminder to all of us to discover and encourage the quirks that make certain students exceptional. Robbins offers real hope to adolescents who must realize that “it gets better” is far more than wishful thinking. The author has a gift for writing fact like fiction—she reminds us what it was like to be in high school and helps us relive all the anxiety and angst—and the students and their stories are thoroughly engaging. The author also includes a helpful appendix, “31 Tips for Students, Parents, Teachers, and Schools.”
These stories are not just entertaining but important, reminding us to celebrate our quirks and those which we see in others as well.