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

2.7 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061192058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061192050
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,750,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am surprised at how polarized the reviews on this book are. Most readers seem to either love it or hate it. I found myself somewhere in the middle. In my mind, the authors accomplished what they set out to do: they gave us a window into the dynamics of sex and dating in modern high school.

Having not left high school so very many years ago, I can tell you that the stories in the book seem extreme when put all together, but they are not really surprising. This may be something that bothered other readers--the book has a fairly narrow focus. It doesn't give a well-rounded view of what it is like to be in high school, nor does it intend to. It captures a single year in the lives of a group of high schoolers and deals with many of the personal issues which we all know, in retrospect, have very little to do with the real world, and are not as important as say, the drug war in the streets of Mexico, or Maoist rebels fighting in the jungles of India. But in the insulated, hormone-pumping world of high school, these problems are everything to the people living them. We can point out the stupidity of these teenagers all day long, but somehow, I can't find it in me to blame them.

One weakness of the book is its cast. There are a lot of characters, and I found myself struggling to keep track of names. Some, we get to know well, and their personalities are well-developed. Others, not so much. I guess that is one of the challenges of writing about people based solely on interviews and reading IM chats.

Also, the book seems about 50 pages longer than it needed to be. Again, this is part of the problem of having such a large cast. Then again, if characters were cut, I think it would feel a lot less like high school.
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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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Format: Paperback
As a Milton Academy Graduate, all I can say is that this book is an awful portrayal of Milton and that it's embarrassing that Milton graduates wrote this book. Milton has some of the most vigorous English classes, but this book was poorly poorly written. These are not the thoughts of students and the events that happen in these books are completely fictional. This book is terrible and I feel as though no one should waste his or her time reading this.
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