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Restless Virgins: Love, Sex, and Survival at a New England Prep School Hardcover – August 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061192058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061192050
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,272,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jones and Miley are journalists and Milton Academy graduates who dig deep into the recent sex scandal at the prestigious Massachusetts prep school, focusing claustrophobically on seven classmates (four female, three male) over the course of their 2004–2005 senior year of high school. All seven are well liked, accomplished and pressured by their families. Eagerly subscribing to an intricate hierarchy of cliques among the Pryce Girls (named for a popular boarding dorm), the Day Student Girls and the most desirable boys, the seven are also stunningly sexual. At parties laced with alcohol and drugs, the girls engage in sexual play to gain popularity points and maybe a boyfriend. The authors catalogue a numbing litany of such hookups over the year, culminating in the revelation of a 15-year-old student's sexual encounter with five older boys in the locker room. The discovery led to the boys' expulsion and national publicity, but the real shame revealed in these puerile chronicles is the degree to which bored rich youth struggle to mimic the behavior of adults. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In 2005, a student sex scandal marred the reputation of Milton Academy, an elite prep school located near Boston. Rather than focusing on the specifics of the incident, the authors, both Milton alums, try for a broader view of the school's sexual culture in this intimate account that follows a handful of seniors through their academic year. Bystanders to the scandal rather than participants, the profiled students face the ubiquitous concerns of privileged teens: college applications; the difficulties of balancing extracurricular activities, social life, and academics. What may seem startling, though, are the politics of the students' casual hook-ups and the language both sexes use to describe their attitudes and encounters. The unfocused narrative is weakened further by excessive detail that's often more mundane than revealing. Still, the authors, who base their telling on extensive personal interviews with their subjects, emerge with an honest portrait of contemporary teen sexual life that may prompt discussions across generational lines. For more insight into the sexual pressures affecting young adults, suggest Deborah Toman's Dilemmas of Desire (2002). Engberg, Gillian

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Customer Reviews

If you want to read a light fun book, this is also not it.
Johanna Ebers
The characters do not at all come to life in this drawn-out, repetitive waste of a book...why should I care what they think, feel or desire?
Book Maven
I recommend that parents and teens read this book so they can talk more openly together.
Beth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen on August 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Let's be honest, it's easy to make fun of prep schools. Unfortunately this book is a really lousy read, and completely unenlightening. If it's based on a true school as it says, then the authors have no one to blame but themselves for the weak character development and canned 'insights'. I was definitely disappointed and wouldn't recommend it - whether or not you liked "Prep" or prep schools.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Book Maven on November 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a non too-distant prep school grad and former high-school teacher, I though this book would shed insight into the minds of high-schoolers. Though the book starts out well, after I while I was bored reading about high school jocks having crazy sex and the titular "virgins" (a brainy trio nicknamed "The Hysterics" by classmates) doing pretty much nothing. The characters do not at all come to life in this drawn-out, repetitive waste of a book...why should I care what they think, feel or desire? In addition, the books is sold as a story of seniors who were at Milton when "the incident" happened (the incident involving one 15 yr old girl and five male sophomores and juniors, all apparently consentual). But the seniors are at best distantly related to the 5 guys in question: two of about 6 main characters know the accused boys, and the scandel hardly rocks the boat of any of the students we follow.

As an expose of teen sexual beliefs and practices, it is equally bland. Kids give eachother oral sex as young teens; who didn't know this? Some may be shocked and appalled, but come on. Many girls their same age (14-16) bear children across the world (including my former students). Since I was in high school nine years ago, not much has changed, it's just more known in the media that teens like sex. But even though the books sells sex, we see no aftermath of sexual activity, save the briefly mentioned incident. What about the emotions, reputations, repercussions? We get none of that.

All in all, this book is a waste of time. I can't even give it to my friends becasue I'm unable to not say, "But it's really, really bad." Sucks for the poor shopper who will buy it at Goodwill after I donate it.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Hadley Goodman on September 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was not familar with the Milton scandal at all before this book. I found it interesting and eye-opening on several levels, and it quite frankly made me scared to have daughters. Much of the book promotion was on the scandal itself, however, most of the book was about teenage sexual behavior in general... how the scandal was only a scandal because the participants got caught. I recommend this book to naive parents who refuse to acknowledge the shift in casual sexual behavior, as well as to people who feel they are liberal on the subject.

Another great book that depicts the pressures teens face today (although fiction) is The Time Keeper by Kevin E. Cropp.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By lbm on November 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When this book first came out, it was hyped as being an important and insightful look at the pressures experienced by today's high school students. The book is anything but. Instead of a thoughtful examination of high school and its social and academic pressures, the book is a vapid narrative of seven incredibly self-absorbed, boring young people written by equally boring, vapid, self-absorbed young people. I learned nothing other than apparently the very rich young people of Milton Academy are empty-headed and rather pathetic. The seniors at Milton who participated in this book appear incapable of having any thought not related to themselves and their tiny world.

To me, the only thing this book did was make me question the value of prep schools and Ivy League educations. If the lame, cartoonish writing of Abigail Jones and Marissa Miley exemplifies in-depth journalism and critical analysis, it speaks poorly of the institutions these two young women attended. They appear incapable of critical thought and write as if the book were a cheap romance novel.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By H. Allinson on September 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is perhaps one of the worst books I have ever read. I completely agree with another reviewer who said it was so poorly written it is amazing it was published at all. The characters are entirely one-dimensional. It is hard to care what happens to any of them. The authors hammer home the point of teeenagers being so preoccupied with social standing and what makes people popular. But it is insulting as a reader to feel that the authors don't feel that we get it in the first hundred pages.
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ellen on September 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's amazing what a title can sell. In truth, it's hard to believe these "women" graduated from anywhere, considering their poor writing skills. The entire book was the same dullness, over and over and over. And, it wasn't a question of repeating the same thing in novel ways--it was always the same thing in basically the same way. Hard to believe editors and publishers picked this one up--anything for money. Don't waste yours. This will be on the dollar shelf soon enough if you really must see what a waste of time this book is.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By love books and music on October 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Non-fiction initially got my attention. Wondering what the scandal was.
Ultimately this book is one of the worst I've ever read, and finished.
It is not about much more than all the different sexual "hook ups" that occurred at this New England Prep School. Much of the description rests on the guycentric sexual practices in this high school, which apparently are widespread these days. It's a sad statement, sure, about the world teenagers live in, and although I bought it with the idea of sharing it with my 16 year old daughter, after reading it I'll send it off to Half Price Books or maybe throw it away. I don't want her to waste her time with it, as I did. All you really need to know is that oral sex is happening casually all across the country and that teenagers are basically going to be teenagers. Most will make it through adolescence alive and hopefully whole. Parents - we know what we need to do. Keep those communication lines open.

READ another book instead. NOT recommended.
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