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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (May 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596911786
  • ASIN: B001UE7DG4
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,461,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Academy X:
 
"Mr. Trees demonstrates a Kingsley Amis-like ability to extract humor from the travails of his hapless hero."--New York Times
 
"A hilarious upstairs-downstairs story set in the absurd world of Manhattan's most elite private schools. I couldn't put it down."--Karen Quinn, author of The Ivy Chronicles

About the Author

Andrew Trees teaches at a private high school in New York City. He is the author of a work of nonfiction, The Founding Fathers and the Politics of Character. This is his first novel.

More About the Author

My most recent work is a novel called Club Rules. It explores the inter-connected lives of several couples in a wealthy suburban town. One reader described it as Gatsby-esque--of course, that reader is my wife, so she is not an entirely trustworthy source.

I have an M.A. and a Ph.D. in American history and an M.A. in English literature. I taught for several years at a number of colleges and universities. And I have written about a wide array of subjects ranging from the founding fathers to a novel about elite private high schools. My previous book, Decoding Love, explored the latest scientific research on human attraction--everything from the role that smell plays in attraction to the dollar value economists place on a good marriage. I still appear on television occasionally to discuss the latest findings and how they might help your dating life

Customer Reviews

Very talented writer with a unique style.
A. Carlson
Anyone who ever went to private high school will love it--in fact, anyone who went to high school will love it.
Charles Tharp III
It had no plot whatsoever and very flimsy characters.
Cuyler Dietz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Beta Dad on June 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Trees has accomplished several laudable feats in this novel. He has written a compelling page-turner that includes memorable characters and literary overtones. He has simultaneously indulged in and satirized academic pretension. While providing a glimpse through the keyhole into the sordid affairs of the ultrarich elite, he has managed to address universal themes concerning ethics, education, and entitlement. Perhaps most impressively, though, he has achieved the golden ratio of satire: the proper balance of highfalutin literary allusions and fart jokes.

Teachers from elite and not-so-elite schools alike will recognize many of the characters in this novel, from the oblivious department chair to the eerily omniscient wunderkind/slacker. In fact, anyone who has gone to high school will see some familiar faces among the student body at Academy X. If I were to nitpick about the portrayal of adolescents in this book, I would only point out that Trees's high school students are much less stereotypical than the real ones I see every day in my own classroom.

Trees's style is sophisticated yet unassuming, written from the point of view of a likeable but flawed English teacher who is treated like the help by both the students and administrators. While the protagonist asserts early on that his story is nothing like an Austen novel, the reader will likely demur. Like Austen, Trees has written a biting social satire in the guise of a voyeuristic frolic. Academy X provides page-turning pleasure with just enough literary merit to obviate any guilt.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm on May 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book was brilliant. Having gone to an Ivy high school, this book hits very close to home for me. Trees brought both humor and undeniable truths into his work, and in the process revealed the disgraces that happen at these schools. Bravo for him for speaking out.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie P. Weldin on June 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bravo to Andrew Trees! He's blown the lid off the goings-on in the private school sector. Interestingly enough, a lot of what he recounts in this "roman a clef" will pique the interest of those who teach in some of the more affluent suburban public schools, too, where "affluenza" is epidemic: Micro-managing parents, grade-grubbing students, school administrators who enable and placate ad nauseam...Academy X has it all and for those who've taught in this type environment, this book tells all. Andrew Trees calls it as he sees it and his witty style provides for a rollicking good read! It's a must-read and teachers everywhere should put this on their summer beach-reading list!
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By David A. Caplan on June 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Academy X is a trenchantly comic look at an exclusive private school in New York City. Written from the point of view of a male English teacher, the novel's narrow focus is on the final weeks of a senior class. It treats the demoralizing effect on the teachers of students' cheating, the pernicious influence of wealthy parents in the school, and even inappropriate apparel. The corruption affects, among other things, college admissions and class prizes. The author, Andrew Trees, is a funny writer, but the novel is realistic enough to make the reader indignant about the action at the imaginary school, especially when the reader inevitably suspects Trees' position as teacher at the elite Horace Mann school has inspired some of the story. Although written in the spirit of a lampoon and with the quick pace of popular fiction, Trees shows a serious literary sensibility. The only things I would criticize are his too frequent use of gags about bad food in the school lunchroom and a disturbing false accusation of sexual misconduct. Nevertheless, the book is generally a pleasure to read and this reader hopes the school life depicted is greatly exaggerated.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Cohen on June 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The merciless way Trees skewers the private school set in the first few chapters are reason enough to read the novel, but I also found myself drawn in by his hapless romantic blunders (full disclosure: not a particularly smooth operator myself). The book isn't just funny--it has a lot of heart and a pretty compelling plot. The story revolves around an english teacher's possible promotion, his pursuit of the leggy librarian, and his difficulties with his students, particularly one girl trying to get into princeton. It's been a while since I applied to college, and if it's really like how Trees says it is in the book, God help students today.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Charles Tharp III on June 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This was the funniest book I have read in a long time! It blows away similar books, such as The Devil Wears Prada. Anyone who ever went to private high school will love it--in fact, anyone who went to high school will love it.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Allan on July 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Academy X is is an entertaining book, I found myself grinning and chuckling throughout. And while Andrew Trees in no Jane Austen (Academy X revolves in part around Austen's _Emma_), I did get my money's worth, which is more than I can say about cable television! And now the disclaimer - I did NOT go to Academy X, and so did not have my own pretensions skewered by the novel!
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I didn't go to Academy X, and I don't think you did either. If you did attend that august (but imaginary) upper-crust Ivy-prep institution or one of its Manhattan counterparts, I expect you aren't reading this review --- you already have your copy preordered, so you can tell who the players are without a scorecard. The rest of us will have to muddle through, as we always do.

The Academy X that first-time novelist Andrew Trees describes is similar to your high school and mine only in the awfulness of its institutional cuisine. This particular school is a chunk of neo-Gothic architecture in a ritzy Manhattan neighborhood, reserved for the best and brightest of the children of the upper class. (Well, maybe not the brightest. And maybe not the best, for that matter.) The purpose of Academy X is placing its young, fresh-faced clientele into Ivy League colleges, or as close as the "college counseling department" can manage.

At one point in time, it might have been possible to deposit one's child into an Ivy League college, just as one deposits money in a trust fund --- or, to be more accurate, a college endowment. But competition for a very few places in Ivy League freshman classes, we learn, has become so vicious and cutthroat that even parents who send their children to places like Academy X have to strain just to shoehorn their children into the door. (You see, one can't risk having one's children missing out on Princeton and having to go to Wellesley.) Then there's the consideration that some of the children that Academy X is trying to squeeze into the doors of America's top collegiate institutions simply are too drug-addled or weak-minded to compete, even with generous parental donations greasing the skids.
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