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High School Confidential Secrets of an…
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High School Confidential Secrets of an Undercover Student

by Jeremy Iversen

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Could have been more interesting if he'd had a point in going back to high school as an undercover adult. Or if he'd had permission to go to a school that wasn't completely terrible. It was still intriguing in some ways, but not particularly compelling. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 31, 2013 |
A 24 year old Stanford grad - (oh wait ex-squeeze me a *Phi Beta Kappa* Stanford Grad - it is after all - how the author's blurb reads on the back cover) - goes under cover as a second semester senior in a California Public High School and lives to tell about all of the debauchery that he witnesses there.

Okay. You probably already guessed. I didn't like this book much.

My first obstacle was the author himself. He spends a lengthy time talking himself up - I guess to let us know that this isn't any old schmuck doing this experiment - but hey it's actually super educated rebel guy! Whoa - he went to prep school - the best in the nation! (the folks at Phillips Academy Andover might argue with that) - but whatever - he went to Stanford - rebel guy! no ivy for him! he was so craaaaayzay. and then - what? wait ? no waaaaay. he danced in a fountain scattering his resumes instead of walking off with the sweet corporate job that he would have no doubt pocketed because did we mention that he is super elite? Yah. Phi Beta Kappa baby! he would have been soaking in his gold bath tub if it weren't for the rebel inside of him. He even had them announce that he was "headed to Hollywood" at his graduation. Man I'd love to see the faces of everyone when they heard that... man. that would have been sweet... or maybe no one really cared... but anyway....

okay - so i found the guy pretentious.

One thing that I assume from the reading of this novel - that his fantastic academic prowess didn't extend to the field of writing - creative or otherwise. This book is so weirdly uneven. It starts with normal enough chapters as we follow his project chronologically - then it stops dead - goes back - and does a whole section of shifting focus chapters concentrating on one person then another. It would have been fine except the voice went from unrelated 3rd person to 3rd person but we knew what the person in question was thinking and feeling and then back to first person viewing the person in question. It was incredibly jarring and strange.

Sprinkled all around were these assurances that every conversation was relayed verbatim and really occurred. He also constantly assured the audience that everything really happened - but at the same time there was a huge disclaimer in the front saying that characters were a composite of people - some other things had been changed to preserve the privacy of the school and the students.

Knowing that he assured the principal that the school would remain anonymous made me constantly wonder how much had to change in order for him to do that - there were HUGE events that happened that would immediately reveal the schools identity to anyone who read newspapers in that area - were all those events tweaked? how can you maintain the integrity of the project if you did so?

And just a last note... about the Endnotes. I seriously can't believe that he had endnotes. It's like this novel was a term aper written by a kid who decided at the end he needed to have x number of endnotes to impress the teacher. Some are mildly interesting - usually statistical in nature. But many are there to explain language and terms - like "riding shotgun", what in-and-out burger is, and that "sick" can mean "cool". Honestly, really? He thinks these are end note worthy? Who does he think his audience is - 85 year old ladies living in rural america?

Ugh. Anyway - I love the idea of this book - I didn't love its execution at all. ( )
1 vote alanna1122 | Aug 26, 2009 |
A 24 year old journelist poses as a high school senior transer student to get a look on the inside of what it's like. Having gone to boarding schools, he missed out on the high school experience, so he wanted to check it out. I was quite disappointed in this piece. It read more like someone trying to recapture his youth than a journalistic effort. He simply lived as a student and recorded all of the drama of his high school friends. As a high school student, I might enjoy this work. As an adult, it left me cold ( )
  kewpie | Jan 4, 2008 |
OK.
So as the mom of a soon-to-be teen, I wanted the "inside scoop" of high-school today.
Not exactly what the doctor ordered.
However, Not that bad either.
Jeremy is quite taken with himself. Never misses a chance to let you know how super duper smart he is.
That said, he goes "undercover" to a CA high school. All conversations "verbatim" I don't think so.
Didn't learn much from this vapid bunch; except sex, drugs, rock and roll still much alive in high school.
The book is a little long - could have done with some severe slashing. I preferred it when he highlighted certain students and got a bit in depth into what makes them tick. Not a sociological study, but an interesting read. ( )
1 vote coolmama | Dec 31, 2007 |
Interesting look at the Milennial generation as seen through the eyes of an undercover student. Lots of controversy about this book, as students from that high school claim they knew Iversen was a fake and that they made up lots of stories to tell him. We'll never know what really happened. ( )
  odurant | Nov 1, 2006 |
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Traces the author's undercover attendance at a California high school, where he participated in classes and befriended fellow students as part of an effort to gauge the modern teen scene.

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