- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 500L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Viking Juvenile; First Edition edition (June 23, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670036447
- ISBN-13: 978-0670036448
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,989,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The New Rules of High School Hardcover – June 23, 2003
From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up-Max heads toward his senior year with everything he could ever want: he's been named editor-in-chief of the newspaper and debate-team captain, he has great grades, and a beautiful girlfriend. Life gets a little out of whack when the overachiever breaks up with Cindy for no apparent reason. The taste of freedom is sweet for a while but things get complicated when an overbearing, boy-crazy freshman throws herself at him at a party and conveniently lands a job as columnist on the school paper. Her controversial column, "The New Rules of High School," puts the Owl's popularity over the top, forcing Max into an uncomfortable mentorship. As the year progresses, this relationship improves as other friendships suffer through Max's growing pains. Largely dialogue driven, the story evolves from various characters' interactions and conversations with Max. His younger sister, Drea, is the information maven, not only for her own grade but for the high school as well, and she takes on an amusing role as her brother's romantic advisor. Whether Max is grieving over his breakup or testing the waters of singledom, readers are empathetic to his emotional vulnerability. The novel involves a wide variety of high school types-the punks, nerds, jocks, etc.-and successfully reflects the ambivalence in which they coexist. The teenage voice is dead-on, and Max pulls readers by the hand, right into his world, without missing a beat.
Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 9-12. Readers of Nelson's adult novel Girl (1994) will recognize the premise and setting of his latest effort: a restless Portland, Oregon, teenager at the end of high school struggles through social minefields. In this novel, the narrator is a boy: Max Caldwell, a straight-A student and school-paper editor who breaks up with his longtime girlfriend without really understanding why and then launches into a period of confusion about school and social life. "I still have the vague feeling that something really profound happened during that year," says Max, and many readers will come away with the same feeling about the book. Max's voice is detached and not particularly likable, his problems are mundane, and he seems to have grown very little by the novel's end. Even so, there's a refreshing honesty in his "averageness" and in his bewildered disconnection, particularly when he loses his virginity. High-achieving students may question whether Max's voice and lifestyle really belong to a Yale-bound kid, but many teens will recognize the book's rapid dialogue, school politics, and the young man's wandering, often painful ambivalence. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Max is at his crossroads of leaving behind his childhood and wandering aimlessly into adulthood. Nelson provides a great story for Max,his friends, and family. Another great book reminiscent of my youth.
Max is the kind of guy who does the "right" things. He's dating a great girl, he's in a bunch of clubs and organizations, and he's on track to become the editor of the school paper. But one day he breaks up with his girlfriend without being able to explain why. This book shows the path that he goes down as he tries to figure out his life and what he stands for.
I don't even know how to explain it, but this book just flows really well. Something about the way Nelson writes makes it so... real. Max seems like the perfect guy, training to go off to some great college and be successful. But he questions his decisions and choices just like everyone else.
Who would I recommend it to? Everyone. The kinds of things that Max deals with are things that everyone deals with. I honestly think that everyone can get something out of this book.