Monday, May 21, 2012

The New Rules of High School


"Weird."

That's what I said out loud after finishing Blake Nelson's The New Rules of High School. This coming of age story felt aimless and like it trailed off, which is fairly appropriate for a story about an adolescent, I suppose. Still, I was left wanting so much more.

Max Caldwell has spent his whole life being perfect: straight A's, President of the Debate Club, Editor of the school paper, and one half of the couple. In his senior year, though, he finds himself not caring about any of these things and slowly distancing himself from the Max that everyone loves. That's basically it. The novel follows Max through his senior year, a constant stream of parties, extracurricular activities, family moments, none of which he wants to engage in.

Nelson's depiction of suburban malaise is accurate, yet unengaging. Older readers usually want their YA novels to have more drama or some sort of lesson; readers of Max's age will find no escape or wisdom in this book. Skip it.

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