“Pohi” seems like a great last name for a fictional high-school applicant invented in an International House of Pancakes: IHOP, Pohi, see? It's a a lark for Bobby and his friends, sitting there surrounded by all those privileged Whitestone Prep kids, to fill out a Whitestone application for "Rowan Pohi," Boy Scout, National Honor Society inductee, soup-kitchen volunteer and football player. But when "Rowan" gets accepted to Whitestone, Bobby takes a good hard look at his wrong-side-of-the-tracks life and realizes this could be the opportunity of a lifetime. Whitestone's teachers and facilities are miles away from those of Bobby's crappy public high school, and of course there's the girls. Bobby almost immediately falls for Heather, "a study in whiteness: white T-shirt, white shorts, white teeth, blonde hair. And long legs." Bobby has antagonists both in and out of school, but his ultimate success at Whitestone seems undeserved; the class inequities of the system are less important to the Whitestone decision-makers than the fact that Bobby’s a nice guy with a tragic back story. A recurring evocation of faux–Native American stories, culminating in a 5-year-old's assertion that "[b]eing Spider-Man is way cooler than being an Indian," will insult Native (and other) readers.
Lightweight fluff in the Chris Lynch/Chris Crutcher mode, if that's possible. (Fiction. 13-15)