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Academy X: A Novel by Andrew Trees
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Academy X: A Novel

by Andrew Trees

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3.5 stars

This book is set at an expensive private high school in New York City. Mostly the richest kids are here; kids who's parents are able to buy their kids' way into, not only high school, but also Ivy League Colleges. John Spencer is an English teacher teaching a class focusing on Jane Austen. He has a small group of kids in his class, two who really stand out for him: Laura, smart girl, but not rich like most of the other kids; and Caitlyn, pretty, popular, rich, and smart. When the two girls compete in an essay writing contest, things get very heated and they accuse each other of plagiarism. When John finds that one of them did, in fact, plagiarize, he must figure out what to do.

I thought this was good. It really picked up in the second half once the plagiarism accusations were out there. I thought about upping the rating slightly after the second half, but I decided to leave it where it is. It was definitely interesting to read about the ethics of this kind of thing, really not even just the plagiarism, but the rich parents trying to buy their kids' ways into schools and such. The author is a teacher at a private school, so I assume some of this may have come from real life situations. ( )
  LibraryCin | Aug 25, 2014 |
This book was dreadful from beginning to end. Hardly any story, heavy-handed cliched characters and the entire subtext explained on the back cover. Money Rules. The book makes the points that kids of the rich don't go to prison for drug-taking, don't get suspended for plagiarism, don't get expelled for false accusations of sexual harassment, but get into Ivy League colleges instead.

It is hammered home that Jews are nerds and not-quite-socially-acceptable and neither are the middle class and that the rich will bribe their way out of situations and pay for what they want whether or not it's legal or moral, certain in the knowledge that almost everyone will certainly take the money and touch their forelock. Almost everyone - not the teacher who is protagonist of this story? Him too, but he finds a way of justifying it.

Badly-written rot, it also reads as though the author had an eye to a future screenplay or tv series. I hope not though it is the kind of schlock that turns up daily and is endlessly repeated.
This book is relieved with occasional humour and a rather clever naming of each chapter with the title of a classic book. There is a funny conversation where both the words spoken on each side are illuminated by a subtext of what is really meant and its a very fast read. But these little glimmers of light don't rescue the book from the darkness of the bottom of the box of books to be given to the next Red Cross jumble sale.

One and a half stars. I didn't hate it but I can't say I enjoyed it either. ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
Slight but moderately interesting novel about an English teacher at a posh le prep school for college-bound seniors and what their money and privileged status impel them to do for those coveted Ivy League acceptance letters. The author has lived the life he writes about so maybe this novel is more fact than fiction. ( )
  kageeh | Dec 6, 2006 |
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John Spencer, an English teacher at the elite Academy X, is struggling through the final weeks of the spring semester. But keeping his students focused on the genius and wit of Jane Austen is the least of his problems. His crush on the sexy librarian is beginning to warp his judgment. An unexpected promotion leaves him drowning in a sea of academic intrigue. Pushy parents demanding higher grades lurk behind every corner, and a favorite pupil suddenly reveals a cunning and sophistication far beyond her years. With each bumbling effort to keep everyone happy, John digs himself deeper into trouble until his very career is at stake. Academy X is a peek into New York City's top private schools - indeed into elite schools all over the country - where parents risk everything for their child's academic success, and no price is too high to achieve a coveted admission to Harvard, Yale, or Princeton.… (more)

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