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Initiation Paperback – May 8, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Mauricio Londoño, the child of immigrant parents, didn't know what he was getting into when he entered the hallowed halls of St. Stephen's, the premier all-boys school in New York City, as a freshman. Though shy and uncertain in the classroom, he's befriended by nerdy Alexander and wealthy, brilliant Henry, who help him navigate his new, confusing environs. But it's Zimmer, the guy who comes into class alternately hungover and decked out in bling, who confuses Mauricio the most. Seemingly despised by everyone at school, Zimmer's FaceSpace friend list nevertheless numbers in the hundreds and includes the very people who hate him. It's when a case of cyberbullying meets the moneyed that things get messy, and Mauricio finds himself caught in the middle, struggling to understand whom to trust. A more literary counterpart to Cecily von Ziegesar's "Gossip Girl" series (Little, Brown), Initiation pays careful attention to the greater spectrum of students attending prestigious prep schools without playing to stereotypes. A supporting cast of female characters adds depth to the story; there's Henry's beautiful twin sister who piques Mauricio's interest in spite of their differences and a tough but inspiring English teacher. With a pitch-perfect teenage voice, alternating between poignant realizations and descriptions of bodily functions, Fine has crafted a book that has wide appeal for both genders.—Jennifer Barnes, Homewood Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

After many years in New York City, Susan Fine said goodbye to Zabar’s and Grey’s Papaya in search of an affordable apartment. She, her husband, their two young boys, and 10,000 pieces of Lego landed in Chicago, where they love everything except the weather. When she isn’t reading The Dangerous Book for Boys, she’s working on her second novel. A former English teacher, Susan can still hear a me/I error from about a mile away. For assistance with sorting out the me/I conundrum, check out pages 110-113 in her first book Zen in the Art of the SAT.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 920L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Flux (May 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738714666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738714660
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,074,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jenifer Fox on May 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
Susan Fine captures the emotional life of boys and their confused acts of bullying with clear and memorable detail. Her experience as a teacher comes through in her sympathetic portrayal of her characters and her experience as a mother comes through in the way she cares for her protagonist--however, what I was most struck by is the author's creative voice. She is a writer to be watched as there is surely more to come from her. A great read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Rosenblatt on April 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Wow, I could not put this book down. It is both shocking and believable at once. Funny but also intense. I'm not sure I could make it as a guy -- I never thought about their hierarchies and rules and cruelties. "Mean girls," sure, everybody talks about mean girls, but I don't think it's so easy for the boys either. A must read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Kaye Oldner on June 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
INITIATION is an appropriate title as the story tells of Mauricio Londono's first year at one of Manhattan's most elite private schools, St. Stephen's School for Boys. At first, I really thought this book would be more of a coming-of-age story. It had all the right ingredients. He deals with bullies as well as his social status or his lack of it. Joins the wrestling team and sucks at it, finds a friend who doesn't seem to care about all that and falls in love - well, it's more like lust with his friend's sister. And then, the real chaos begins.

Trouble had been brewing all year. As much as possible, Mauricio stayed low, tried not to be noticed. That didn't work out. When things blew up, he was right in the center of things. The bad part was he had no clue what was going on.

I thought this was an exceptional book. What caught my attention about the book was its cover. I love it and can't for the life of me explain why. As far as the contents, this was a nice change. I normally read books with a female as the lead character. Jimmy, my son - age 15, felt it "portrayed life realistically." I couldn't agree more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Weglarz on March 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book for boys to read who are starting or in prep school. I went to a prep school not unlike the one detailed in this story. I had no idea what I was to encounter and would have appreciated a story like this to get me up to speed on all the craziness within and around school life. So many things happened that I would never have expected. This book captures the overall feeling that you get in these places very well. Great job! to the author and I hope she writes more...
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