Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: How to Win at High School by Owen Matthews

How to Win at High SchoolHow to Win at High School by Owen Matthews
Published on March 3, 2015 by HarperTeen
Purchase: Amazon
Using Scarface as his guide to life, Adam Higgs is going from zero to high school hero.

Adam Higgs is a loser, and he’s not okay with it.

But starting as a junior in a new high school seems like exactly the right time to change things. He brainstorms with his best friend, Brian: What will it take for him to take over Nixon Collegiate?

Adam searches for the A-listers’ weak spot and strikes gold when he gets queen bee Sara Bryant to pay him for doing her physics homework. One part nerd, two parts badass, Adam ditches his legit job and turns to full-time cheating. His clients? All the Nixon Collegiate gods and goddesses.

But soon his homework business becomes a booze business, which becomes a fake ID business. Adam’s popularity soars as he unlocks high school achievements left and right, from his first kiss to his first rebound hookup. But something else is haunting him—a dark memory from his past, driving him to keep climbing. What is it? And will he go too far?

How to Win at High School’s honest portrayal of high school hierarchy is paired with an adrenaline-charged narrative and an over-the-top story line, creating a book that will appeal to guys, girls, and reluctant readers of every stripe. Adam’s rocket ride to the top of the social order and subsequent flameout is both emotionally resonant and laugh-out-loud funny.

My Thoughts:
This was like Can't Buy Me Love with a side of after school special.  It was entertaining though I have to give the author that.  Was it a knock, but it did show me that guys have it just as hard in high schools as girls do.

So basically Adam is a loser. I wouldn't necessarily call him that but that's the way he sees himself.  No girlfriend, not popular, and no social life at all.  He feels lonely and feels like he got duped because his older brother would have been a god if he hadn't of gotten into an accident that stopped him from playing hockey.  Adam fully believes that he would have been an honorary god if his brother had continued playing and his life would have been filled with parties, girls, and friends.  Now he's on his own and with no other option he decides to start up a business that he knows the popular kids won't say no to.

Thus begins Adam's decline.  I'm pretty sure you can figure out what happens throughout.  Adam gets addicted to being the big man on campus and has to find bigger and better ways to keep his social life. Things spiral eventually and he does hit rock bottom.  This part of the story I knew right from the beginning because that's how every story of this type goes.  So my 3 star rating is for the writing and for the way the author delivered the story not the story itself.  I enjoyed the writing style and I even liked the narrative.  It gave an otherwise boring story energy and kept me engaged.  I wasn't attached to any of the characters and I honestly couldn't wait for the ball to drop, but I still wanted to read it from start to finish.

Okay correction I liked Sam.  I think Sam, Adam's brother, got the raw end of the deal and deserved a better brother.  I was so mad at Adam for what he did to Sam and I think that was what finally pushed me disregard Adam as anything except a moron.  Yes that is harsh but you know what Adam was a horrible character from start to finish and didn't deserve Sam.  Was Adam's life sad yes, but it wasn't as terrible as he believed.

If you pick this up just prepare yourself for an after school type plot, but forget about that if you can. Focus on the writing. It is different and gave the book life in my opinion.  This is probably the only time in my reading life that I will say that.  I am always about characters and plot, but with this one the writing really struck something with me and I ended up enjoying this for what it was.

One more note this book has a LOT of language and mature themes.  

3 snowflakes


Post a Comment