- File Size: 809 KB
- Print Length: 278 pages
- Publication Date: July 2, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00DRF87VY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,371 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
The protagonist can be a little too perfect and precocious to identify with sometimes, but she's spunky, caring, and has her own interesting worries and challenges that might challenges some of the unspeakble taboos of American popular culture, like that wealth is the answer to all problems, or that showing braininess is a curse. It offers a very interesting blend of sharing with the reader what an emotionally enviable family might look like, offering many views of respect, acceptance, and forgiveness in and between its lines in a way that is clearly intended to share and extend that portrayed good fortune to the reader's experience. The story also conveys the weighty complexities, dark times, limits, and exuberance of life struggling to come into balance the fast changing adolescent world, within that world and as a wide range of worlds collide; it shows so clearly how the emotional resources of family, friends and strangers can make a huge difference to any individual and at noticed pivotal moments.
Lots here about coming to understand and process the other-ness of another, the universal longing for acceptance, and the usually-present possibility of making a very big difference with a very small act of participation that might require courage. I read Catcher in the Rye as a teenager, loved it, but have doubts I was ready for it or that it did me any emotional good when I could have used a lot of good, and I wish I had read Hollywood High instead or at the same time. We can forget how hungry we are as teenagers to learn the basics of how to cope and how to build faith in ourselves that we can cope—rather than lose ourselves in the mere poses of coping.
Amy Kaufman Burk is admirable in the ease with which she brings class, socioeconomic, and race issues into the world of high schools, where they are rife, both in their presence and absence, but barely addressed. Kids (and parents) can have very active imaginations about the kinds of schools they've never been to, even as they have lots of feelings and assumptions about where they are, and all of that affects how they see themselves and the world. The book is noticed more for its kind and helfpul portrayal of LGBT issues and the power of exposure to change attitudes, but for me a lot of its underground strength is in its taking up of class and socioeconomic differences, even if at a fairly simple level, from both ends of the spectrum. This is largely taboo as a serious matter to talk about in adolescence, and perhaps in our still adolescent mainstream American culture, precisely when it is being powerfully felt and reckoned with, but often in unspeakable sadness and fear on all sides. The author seems brave and determined, as her main character is, to bring more genuineness to the conversation on these matters, between kids, and within their families, about and across class lines.
Interesting commentary on the less-protective but more emotionally supportive options of trusting kids to help them develop and rely on their own good judgment rather than helicopter-parenting them, but without going to the opposite extreme of not taking much interest in how they're doing being more on their own. Caroline's parents ask what might be going on and offer to help if she seems to be struggling or upset, but they trust her feedback and don't persistent in worry if she says, and looks like, she can handle it.
This is also a perfect book for all of us novel gobbling baby boomers who love a bit of nostalgia. I had so much fun comparing my 1970's high school to Hollywood High (my school was much tamer.) I think that this would be a perfect selection for book clubs because it would spark great discussions about intense adolescent friendships, loves, hopes, challenges and achievements. It is the "historical" component of this book that really makes it a rare contribution to YA literature. Caroline is the Holden Cauldfield of the 70's and those of us who came of age during that time will claim her as our heroine.
I do have to admit that having been born in the 70s but not growing up in it, I have a soft spot for stories set there. There was enough of the 70s in the book to remind me I wasn’t reading a present day story. The throwback to the styles and the music from that time really shined, but Burk used the right amount of restraint to keep the setting from upstaging her cast of delightfully quirky characters.
Caroline, the protagonist, was a charming and an interesting mix of rule-follower/ hell raiser. I particularly like the mystery of why she left her old school, and Burk did a real nice job with pacing that particular storyline. It unveiled itself in a way that enhanced my appreciation of both Caroline and her interactions at Hollywood High.
Youth of today may be surprised to read there were drugs and gangs in 20th century high schools. Caroline is new to gritty Hollywood High, where the motto is "Achieve the Honorable." Burk does an excellent job keeping the reader wondering why Caroline left a tony all-girls private school at the beginning of her sophomore year. Caroline is a smart, savvy girl with supportive parents. Still, she needs her new friends to help her survive the tough terrain of the school and its environs. A self-defense class is also put to good use when a pimp from across the street assaults and attempts to rape her. Caroline wishes she could have prevented the murder of a gay student, and starts to speak up in support of LGBT people.
There are light moments in Hollywood High, especially in the banter among Caroline and her friends. The kids are creative, too: Kayla must have grown up to work in advertising, as the act she devises for the school talent show, of singing America the Beautiful in several languages, was a Coke 2014 Super Bowl ad! (Note: this book was published in 2013.)
Highly recommended for young adults and those who lived through the crazy 1970's.
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