When the pressure to excel becomes too much, a group of teens bands together to save each other.
At elite North Shore High School, students are expected to be the best of the best; the school has a 98-percent college-attendance rate and wants it to be 100 percent. Driven overachiever Mallory is borderline bulimic from the pressure, while newcomer Simone lets herself be taken in by the drive for success above anything else. Owen refuses to participate, focusing on his nonacademic interests and pot. Best friends Stephen and Kent work hard on their MIT applications, but they handle the stress very differently. What do these different students have in common? They are all affected by the suicides of their fellow students. And when two students in their year kill themselves, everyone decides it’s time to change, announced in a few soapbox moments. Will that be enough to save lives when even some of their parents are unwilling to reduce the school pressure on their children for fear of lowering property values? While the students cover a range of attitudes and backgrounds (Mallory is white, Stephen is Korean, Owen is Jewish, and Simone is mixed-race—white and Indian), the answers seem to come too easily, boiling down to supportive parents.
An oversimplified take on the profoundly complex problem of teen suicide. (Fiction. 14-18)