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A Field Guide to High School

Review

A Field Guide to High School

At 5:30 in the morning, on the day Andie's sister Claire heads to Yale, Andie loses her seat in her parents' car to a mini fridge. She figures she'll go back to bed and maybe hang out with her best friend Bess and order pizza with the money her parents gave her for dinner.

At 5:45 in the morning, on the day Andie's sister Claire heads to Yale, Andie's cell phone rings. It's Claire, and she asks, "Did you find it?"

It is a book that Claire has created for Andie and left in her bed. Four years before the book begins, Claire was recruited by Plumstead Country Day School, an exclusive college prep academy. To Andie, it's obvious why Plumstead wanted Claire: she's smart (she was even the valedictorian), confident and a good athlete. Andie is also headed to Plumstead for her freshman year, but she'd rather be going to the Catholic high school with Bess. Claire and Andie never really got along, so Andie is surprised to see that Claire has taken the time to make the book for her.

The book, A FIELD GUIDE TO HIGH SCHOOL, is divided into two sections: "Poisonous Plants" and "Venemous Animals." The first part is a guide to everything social, political, academic and athletic at Plumstead. Claire has labeled everything from the sports that are socially acceptable to play (field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse) to the best ways to navigate the social scene (never be seen shopping with mom and/or dad) with her trademark sarcasm and know-it-all attitude. The second part gives a rundown of Plumstead's cliques, from the Hiltons (pretty, popular mean girls) to the Hawkings (science nerds). Andie and Bess can't stop reading, and by the end of the book, Andie has learned almost as much about Claire as she has about high school.

Claire's funny, fascinating field guide is something that everyone who has ever been through high school will wish they had --- and that those about to enter high school will want. Sadly, the information on cliques, sports and campus traditions only applies to Plumstead, but the secret last chapter is pretty good advice for any high school student anywhere.

Reviewed by Carlie Webber on August 28, 2007

A Field Guide to High School
by Marissa Walsh

  • Publication Date: August 28, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0385734107
  • ISBN-13: 9780385734103