A Field Guide to High School – Melissa Walsh
Age Level: 11+
Reader’s Annotation: Confused as to what to expect going into high school? Have no fear, you hold in your hand’s the Field Guide to High School – everything you need to know to navigate your crucial freshman year.
Summary: This title is exactly that; a field guide to high school. Graduating senior Claire decides to impart on her leaving to college a “field guide” to her young sister Andie who will be starting high school in the fall. The entire novel is told in entries made by Claire and pasted into a Peterson’s guide book about poisonous plants and animals. So, for instance, cliques and groups are discussed under the heading of “Poisonous Animals.” Andie spends the morning that Claire leaves for college reading this guide with her best friend who will be attending a different high school come fall. While the idea of the novel is fantastic, there is no character development or storyline to speak of. Instead readers will get a play by play of the high school environment without ever caring about any of the things you learn. Despite this, the book will find many readers simply due to its title, and will certainly help younger readers form opinions about high school during the summer after 8th grade.
Evaluation: A short and fast read. Since tweens tend to read up, this is a sure bet by younger teens wanting to know what high school is really like.
Booktalk Ideas: the truth about high school
Selection: I thought it would be interesting to hear what high school is “really” like. I’ve now determined that like pregnancy and birth, every high school experience is different.