When a Tennessee senator’s daughter is expelled from her posh prep school, she faces challenges at her new, public high school.
Seventeen-year-old Taylor, a white girl, has always been the perfect student. She’s an ace soccer player, maintains a 4.2 grade point average, and has an SAT score of 1520. She’s determined to follow family tradition by going to Yale and then working in its investment business—but now she has to do it without Dad’s help, and the classes at her new school don’t compare with those at her private school. Meanwhile, a possible romance looms with her childhood heartthrob Ezra, also white and well-to-do. But she can’t shake the stigma of expulsion. She was found with drugs, and she can tell no one that she was actually covering up for her boyfriend, Ben, so the white boy would not lose his scholarship. She carries on as best she can, but she finds herself wondering if she even knows what she really wants. Worse, will Taylor’s mistake have an impact on her father’s re-election? Kenneally effectively evokes the stress experienced by the college-bound, including drug use to enhance performance. She also explores class issues—but not racial ones—as Taylor adjusts to her new school, but this exploration is undercut by the way Ezra and Ben are played off each other.
Read it for Taylor’s journey but not for anything deeper. (Fiction. 12-18)