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Dream School Paperback – December 6, 2011

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“In 1994, Blake Nelson’s seminal coming-of-age text, Girl, introduced us to Andrea Marr, a bright, sensitive, Sassy-era Holden Caulfield for tortured, wannabe-rebel good girls. Nelson’s intimate depiction of Andrea — equally unmoored in the grunge clubs of Portland, Oregon, and in her high-school locker room, rocked by teen lust and a desire for independence — created a cultish following, the tales of frequent rereadings the stuff of legend. Today, Nelson hooks us up with Andrea in Dream School (Figment), an elite East Coast college, where the exquisite hell of searching for meaning and self rolls on. So clear the weekend and make room in your backpack.”—Vanity Fair December 2011

"Dream School is first and foremost an enduring account of what it looks, feels and sounds like to be young."—The New York Times

"For a certain ’90s-obsessed set, Blake Nelson’s Dream School is the most anticipated book of the year."—The Daily

"I’m almost finished with Dream School and completely enjoying it: Girl heroine Andrea Marr leaves Portland for an East Coast private school, where she carries on being daffily privileged and obsessing about fashion and “coolness” and trying to decide what boys to sleep with and why. It’s a lot of fun."—The Portland Mercury

"You guys, it’s really good!"—xoJane

"How great is Blake Nelson? Read Girl, then Dream School. We dare you not to love these books."—I Heart Daily

"Nelson writes flawlessly in the voice of Andrea Marr, a tainted innocent who's busy negotiating the mixed messages of modern culture."—Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone

"In Dream School ... Nelson takes up the voice [of Andrea Marr] without skipping a beat ... it's the missing link between Bret Easton Ellis and Tao Lin."—The Stranger

"If you grew up reading Sassy Magazine, you know who Blake Nelson is."—BUST Magazine

"The missing link between Bret Easton Ellis and Tao Lin." — The Stranger

About the Author

Blake Nelson grew up in Portland, OR. He attended Wesleyan University and NYU. He began his career writing short humor pieces for Details magazine. His first novel Girl, was serialized in Sassy magazine and was made into a film starring Selma Blaire and Summer Phoenix. Nelson has since published ten more novels, including Rockstar Superstar and The New Rules of High School, Prom Anonymous and Gender Blender.

His science fiction novel They Came From Below was a Kliatt Editors Choice pick in 2008 and his 2006 novel Paranoid Park was made into a film by Gus Van Sant which won the Cannes Special Anniversary Prize Award in 2006, as well as Italy's Grinzane Literary award. His latest book Destroy All Cars has been praised as "Smart and Entertaining" by the New York Times, and was called "A wonderful novel" by the Los Angeles Times. His newest novel Recovery Road was released in March of 2011.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Figment (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983723206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983723202
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Blake Nelson grew up in Portland, OR. He began his career writing short humor pieces for Details Magazine.

His first novel GIRL, was serialized in SASSY Magazine and was made into a film starring Dominque Swain, Portia De Rossi and Selma Blaire.

His 2006 novel PARANOID PARK was made into a film by Gus Van Sant.

His newest book THE PRINCE OF VENICE BEACH (Little Brown) was released in June 2014.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Cohen on January 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
As a long time Blake Nelson fan, and one who was weaned on "Girl", I loved loved loved the sequel. Andrea is growing up and I love who she is-she's really coming into her own, and still true to who she was years ago. Still funny, smart and interesting, ready to try anything, and a true original.
The college stuff rings totally true, and makes me think of my college days, and all the stupid decisions I made and regretted..
I had been waiting and waiting for a sequel to "Girl", and this did not disappoint! I hope there's more, I'd love to follow Andrea as she navigates her life, she's a great character, completely accessible and interesting, and Blake Nelson always populates his novels(esp "Recovery Road" and "Destroy All Cars")with lots of marvelous and funny secondary characters. I always want a book about Andrea's friends-Sybil and Todd Sparrow, and now Carol Smith and Andrew!

5 stars! Please, write more sequels! I need more Andrea!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kristin on January 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Blake Nelson's Girl at least a dozen times when I was high school. I idolized Andrea Marr and found her to be mostly realistic (it always kind of infuriated me that she was oblivious to the fact she was completely gorgeous and got to be with guys like Todd sparrow). It has been over 10 year since I last saw Andrea and I was ecstatic to find this sequel. I can't say that it matches the riveting, authentic narrative of Girl but it was interesting enough for me to finish it fairly quickly (a couple of lunch breaks and a Saturday afternoon).
This is not a bad book but it is not a great one either. I have to take into account that I was around the same age as Andrea when I read Girl but it has been several years since I was in college so that may explain why portions of the book caused some eye rolling and just didn't seem believable. There are some spot on observations about college life but this does not come without a lot of mundane, repetitive party scenes and lifeless characters who are only introduced for a few pages and then forgotten about. Also, there were some anachronistic errors that were particularly bothersome. For instance, the book begins in the fall of 1994 and during Andrea's first semester she visits the home of a friend and someone watches a Gwyneth Paltrow DVD. The friend's family is supposed to be well off but DVD's weren't around until around 1997 so this was a bit over the top and sloppy in my opinion. The book goes on to be fairly entertaining and there was some really nice stuff about racial identity and Andrea's response to friend's suicide attempt. The ending, however, is a bit of cop-out and leaves the door open for another installment that would be completely unnecessary.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Fulsom on January 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
You read Girl and you loved it. You need to know what happens to Andrea Marr. You can't resist. What I write in this review won't change your mind. You are going to get Dream School and read it. By all means do, but be forewarned.

I read Girl and Dream School back-to-back, and there is no doubt that Girl "wins". Like Girl, Dream School does a great job of accurately portraying a time and place (college/young adult life). The author again masterfully uses the first-person writing style itself to develop the atmosphere and main character. But unlike Girl, Dream School is neither edgy nor insightful. No passages or events really stood out as memorable for me. As a continuation of the story, it largely ignores the history, characters, and themes from the first book, and at times seems to be little more than the author's own autobiography.

Maybe it's my age now compared to then, but I don't see myself re-reading Dream School like I re-read Girl. It just isn't as good. It's not that Dream School is a bad book, it's that Girl is such a tough act to follow that this sequel unfortunately only barely lives up to the original.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Girl when I was in college, and fell in love with the stream-of-consciousness thinking of Andrea Marr. I was never into the underground street scene in high school and found her views on life to be so refreshing and interesting. I didn't even realize there was a sequel until last week. When I saw there was one, I immediately ordered it, and was NOT disappointed!

I related a lot more to Dream School than I did with Girl, because I totally got where she was coming from in this book. As someone from the West Coast who went back East to a small liberal arts college, I can tell you that there is an EXTREME difference between "Eastern" and "Western" cultures. I found her observations about feeling out of place, and the images that stood out to her to be extremely dead on. Trust me, we may be living in the same country, but when you go from one coast to another, it sometimes feels like you're on another planet! I think that Nelson did a great job at capturing the duality.

At certain moments in the book, I felt my heart breaking for Andrea. And I closed the book with a twinge of hope that Nelson will write a third book and complete the trilogy. He's really got a unique style that if you love, you love. And if you don't love, you tend to hate. Andrea's the same way - you either love her or you hate her. Personally, I opt for the former and can't wait to reread this book over and over again (like I did with Girl).

Like I said in my title, if you loved Girl, you'll ADORE Dream School - Happy Reading!
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