A FIELD GUIDE TO HIGH SCHOOL by Marissa Walsh

A FIELD GUIDE TO HIGH SCHOOL

Age Range: 12 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Because there is no room in the car, Andie, the soon-to-be ninth-grader, is left behind, as her parents drive her older sister Claire to start her freshman year at Yale. Once at home, Andie finds the Field Guide that Claire wrote for her using chapter headings from a real guide. Andie will be entering the same posh private school from which Claire recently graduated as valedictorian. The first half (POISONOUS PLANTS) is comprised of detailed ins and outs of private school and advice that tends toward overbearing (“Don’t dress up too much. . . . Don’t introduce yourself as my sister.”) and the accumulated effect eventually emphasizes poor Claire’s own fierce alienation. The second half (VENOMOUS ANIMALS), mostly humorous and clever, categorizes every specimen of the high-school genus and species. While the book-within-the-book idea is an interesting one, its potential never seems to develop fully. Andie’s minimal response may leave readers wondering about its purpose—for kids to laugh at themselves or to articulate a more subversive message about individuality? Backmatter includes lists for top reads, music and television. Glaringly omitted is Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak (1999), to which, in part, this book may owe a debt. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-385-73410-3
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2007




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