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10th Grade: A Novel Paperback – January 14, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812966627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812966626
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,477,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For all those times you wished you knew what your high school crush was thinking, Joseph Weisberg's 10th Grade provides a generous--and hilarious--peek inside one boy's journal of a year marked by unrequited lust and awkward social maneuvers. A sophomore at Hutch Falls High School in New Jersey, Jeremy Reskin trolls the halls and writes what he sees from his vantage point as a social nonentity. Not much of a student, not much of a jock, and definitely not much of a ladies' man, Jeremy reveals his talent for expressing himself through writing (even though his every thought reads like a giant run-on sentence, complete with dyslexic spelling and sporadic punctuation). Jeremy's sophomore story is so achingly familiar that it's nearly impossible to put this book down. Weisberg deftly captures a time that readers will feel nostalgic for--even while cringing--and he creates a very real cast of characters that any one of us could have known in class. The complicated, often traumatic limbo between childhood and adulthood rings so true from the beginning to the end of this debut novel that you will want everyone you still talk to from high school to read it. As for Jeremy, all we can hope is that things get easier by the time he graduates. --Emily Russin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Weisberg touches plenty of familiar bases in this pedestrian debut novel, a coming-of-age affair that tracks protagonist Jeremy Reskin's second year of high school in the vanilla New Jersey suburb of Hurst Falls. Jeremy is a bright, reasonably popular and athletic adolescent who plays soccer, gets decent grades and has an ordinary family life with two sisters, a penny-pinching but well-meaning lawyer father and housewife mom. The plot weaves around the arrival of a sexy new classmate, Renee Shopmaker, who quickly touches Jeremy's heart after she becomes his dialogue partner in Spanish class. But it takes the entire narrative for Jeremy even to consider the possibility of seriously dating Renee, something he muses about during their final conversation after each winds up with a different date at the prom. In between, Jeremy spends his time dealing with the semiromantic friendship of a serious, rather melodramatic girl named Gillian until their potential relationship peters out just before the prom. Weisberg captures the essence of adolescent stream-of-consciousness in Jeremy's narration, and he sensitively presents the usual array of coming-of-age scenes, including Jeremy's sexual initiation, a bonding trip to New York with his dad, his exploits with the soccer team and his first foray into the world of drugs and alcohol. But the absence of any romantic developments between Jeremy and Renee makes the ordinary scenes seem all the more bland; the result is a decent novel of character with little to distinguish it from the raft of genre fodder. Weisberg is a solid storyteller who knows his way around his characters, but he'll need some stronger plot lines to build on this debut novel. (Jan. 22)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book just simply isn't very good.
Robert Guyette
Weisberg's characters are thoroughly developed and come to life in these pages.
David Michel
I read A LOT, and I am telling you this book is brilliant.
Brian Sofer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Written from the perspective of a 15-year-old, Weisberg's debut is the journal of a New Jersey boy as he enters and progresses through 10th grade in 1981 or thereabouts. The conceit here is that the prose is supposed to mirror the syntax, vocabulary and punctuation one might find in such a teenagers journal. So, one encounters entire pages without commas, sentences that run on and on and on, and the use of numerals such as 1, 2, 3, instead of the words one, two, three. Weisberg has exaggerated these stylistic tics for comedy sake, but the end result is that the book is a bit of a trial to read. Yes, it makes sense in context, but it's a gimmick that wears thin very early (and will doubtless insult many a 10th-grader). The diarist, Jeremy, is somewhat of an everyman. This is both a positive and negative: the easy-go-lucky good-hearted kid doesn't do anything extreme that might alienate the reader, but he's so average that the reader never gets much of a feel for him. Yes, he's likeable and inoffensive, and you root for him, but he never truly comes alive as a living, breathing character. And yet his relatively smooth journey through the ups and downs of sophomore year makes for a modestly enjoyable read.

The bulk of the story revolves around his friendships and a secret crush on the new girl at school. At first he falls in with a circle of pseudo-outsiders: one fat girl, one hot girl (who has a 23-year-old boyfriend), one cynical guy, and a plain girl. They hang out together at lunch and in various people's rec rooms. A lot of this is pitch perfect, as the group subtly shifts to include him, and it becomes clear over time that one of the girls is interested in him. His own ambivalence to her is slightly implausible, as he's holding out for someone better looking.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David Michel on February 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed 10th Grade, a wonderful, funny novel. Other reviews have called it a "knowing glimpse" and "absolutely credible" account of high school life. As a high school teacher, I find the novel to even more compelling. It rings true for me, as I remember my own experiences and as I see life through the eyes of my current students. Unlike many recent books about teens, Mr. Weisberg captures the underlying truth of adolescence, that life is marked not by hyperbolic and surreal events (teen suicide, incest, drug overdoses) but rather that these years are ones of yearning, frustration, and of love, real or imagined. In the language and tone of his protagonist we experience sophomore year, from the opening of school to the Prom. Weisberg's characters are thoroughly developed and come to life in these pages. The novel is both hysterically funny and honest. As I read it, I laughed out loud and felt a strong sense of deja vu. While I would never wish to be back in high school, Weisberg's 10th Grade made it worth visiting.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James J. Yohe on July 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
"10th Grade"
by Joseph Weisberg
I wanted my third January novel to be light-hearted. I can only say that "10th Grade" was the perfect choice. I teach mostly 10th through 12th graders so a novel that provided the innermost words and thoughts of a young teenager offered me cathartic allure. In addition, the idea of a novel written by a 15-year-old sophomore (named Jeremiah Reskin) seemed delightfully escapist. Basically, the book was written as if Jeremy was keeping a detailed journal of his sophomore year. The grammar, vocabulary and pace of the novel reflected a typical male 10th grade student. Trust me, I teach enough of them to know.
I started reading this book on a Saturday, and I ripped through the pages to its final completion by the following Monday morning. Jeremy's viewpoints of sophomore year were extremely funny but amazingly truthful. Jeremy dealt with the social structures of school, the strange way friends were acquired, the constant internal attraction to females, the peer pressure to try drugs and cigarettes and the lack of importance placed on academic achievement. The book was a real eye-opener as well as a nice release from the deep subject matter of the previous two novels I read in January.
Jay's Grade A-
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wellen on August 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My congrats to Joesph Weisberg, a product of the chicago private schools on being able to write a novel about a big suburban high school in New Jersey. It was a wonderful and hopeful book. Jeremy is about as average as you can get, but has a good and decent heart. He is a kid struggling to find his place in the world. 10th grade is a year that many ignore--Weisberg was wise to set his novel during that year. In fact, the era, the early 1980s is evoked with great care. Jeremy even likes Air Supply. His quirks and nuances make him all the more real. The way he makes friends and floats through school is pitch perfect. I think the fact that Weisberg did not go Hutch Falls but still captures the feelings of being speaks to the universality of being young. One huge strength of this novel is that is hopeful. It reminds me, as a school teacher, that kids are wonderful. Kids are hopeful, and in the end, they are going to be ok. This should be required reading for teachers and students everwhere. I loved this book.
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