Simon & Schuster, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
reads as a series of four loosely connected vignettes, focusing on Coldwater Creek High School students, who end up
for various offences and rites of passage, some much more serious than others. The last sentence - which tells us that '
high school was about learning the secrets of life, discovering our true identities, growing up, looking out for our friends, and trying not to get busted
' - summarizes the topic well.
n the senior class ski trip, both students and supervising teachers are shocked by what they uncover after one senior is
for drinking and being out of his room. Next we join a math class with a
teacher, where a student sets up a lucrative betting ring (based on who the teacher will eject from the class next) until he's
by a fellow offender. Then there's the vicious bully who targets everyone in his environment - from an aging teacher to vulnerable nerds, a confident cheerleader, and the school janitor. Why does Principal '
' Danzig, who came down hard, and with
, on the lesser ski trip misdemeanors, delay taking action? Finally, there's a group of high-achievers, who are
for regular drug use. But one of them knows something - can it save his friends from the punishment due to them?
n the background of all these accounts is an unusual principal (with an
approach), who trades off leniency for certain offences against information from his students about developing situations - in a similar fashion to police management of their informants. Phil Bildner, who worked in New York as a high school teacher, offers a raw read in
, but one that reflects (and I hope exaggerates) certain realities of the high school experience.
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