Friday Fun: Back to School…

*The above title is meant to be read in Billy Madison’s whiny sing-song voice…

First, the FIVE, hosted by Paper Hangover, a fantastic group blog offering writing tips and advice, book reviews, weekly blog topics, and teen interviews. Here’s today’s prompt:


I chose the following five YA books specifically for their uniquely authentic portrayal of the high school experience. Plus, they’re all incredibly well-written and compelling (great for back-to-schoolers AND grown-ups like myself… :)). All summaries are from Goodreads.

1. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers – Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard–falling from it is even harder.  Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High… until vicious rumors about her and her best friend’s boyfriend start going around.  Now Regina’s been “frozen out” and her ex-best friends are out for revenge.  If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day.  She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully.  Friendship doesn’t come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend… if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don’t break them both first.

2. The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney – Some schools have honor codes. Others have handbooks. Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds. Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way–the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds–a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers. In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl’s struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone–especially yourself–you fight for it.

3. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta – Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys’ school that pretends it’s coed by giving the girls their own bathroom.  Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an an impossibly dorky accordion player.  The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can’t seem to stop thinking about. Then there’s Francesca’s mother, who always thinks she knows what’s best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling who she really is.  Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

4. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles – When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she’s worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.  In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

5. A Separate Peace by John Knowles – John Knowles’ beloved classic has been a bestseller for more than 30 years and is one of the most moving and accurate novels about the trials and confusions of adolescence ever written. Set at an elite boarding school for boys during World War II, A Separate Peace is the story of friendship and treachery, and how a tragic accident involving two young men forever tarnishes their innocence.


And a high-school-inspired Would You Rather…?

Would you rather be constantly gossiped about or never talked about at all?

Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

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17 responses to “Friday Fun: Back to School…

  1. Um, how has A SEPARATE PEACE been off my radar? Sounds excellent!

  2. Your “would you rather” reminded me of that Oscar Wilde quote…something like, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” 🙂

    Great book picks!

  3. Definitely Never Be Talked About At All. At least that’s how I was in high school.

    • That’s how I was in high school too, Melanie. Though in hindsight, I wish I would have been more out there and comfortable with myself. Who cares what people say? 🙂

  4. Ohhh, Some Girls is going on my TBR list – that one looks good! Might have to check out Saving Francesca while I’m at it!

    And for your would you rather question? As Bonnie Raitt once sang, “let’s give them something to talk about”! 🙂

    • I’m with you, Erin! At this point, I’d rather be talked about… otherwise I’m just blending in.

      SOME GIRLS ARE and SAVING FRANCESCA are both excellent. I hope you check them out!

  5. The Mockingbirds is totally going on my TBR list. Love your recommendations!

    And I am a sad, sad soul, but I have to be honest and say I’d rather be gossiped about. I know. I’m horrible. But it’s true.

    • You’re not alone, Alison. I’d rather be talked about too, though that wasn’t my attitude when I was in high school!

      THE MOCKINGBIRDS is great… looking forward to its follow-up, THE RIVALS.

  6. I REALLY need to read Saving Francesca. I know I’ll love it…I don’t know what my problem is.

    I’d rather be gossiped about. I’m a bit of an attention whore. 😉

    Happy weekend!

    • Read FRANCESCA! I loved it (though JELLICOE ROAD is still my favorite!). And if you’re an attention whore then so am I. I’d rather be gossiped about than forgotten!

  7. Hey Katy – we’re in the same YA campaign group:) I love your list here! I’d probably add Before I Fall and Anna and the French Kiss to it as well. Looking forward to getting to know you better!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Lindsay. 🙂

      I love ANNA too… that would be a great addition to my list! And I have BEFORE I FALL sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read. I’ve only heard wonderful things about it!

  8. My instant reaction was ‘I don’t want to be gossiped about because gossip=bitchiness’, but that’s not necessarily true. If I was getting talked about because I was wildly successful and had an amazing guy in my life then of course I’d prefer that to safe anonymity. This question is actually fairly deep because it can reveal whether you’re an optimist or pessimist (are people saying good or bad things?) and how much of a risk-taker you are. Like you said in response to a comment, if you’re not getting talked about you’re not making enough of an impact.

  9. I loved A Separate Peace. Haven’t read the others, but I’ll keep them in mind.