So far I can completely relate to what Iversen is trying to convey with his book. I am currently in my mid's, which he was when he went undercover, and I am the generation that he "infiltrates. However, by reading Iversen's book I reminded of the daily grind of high school, and how badly it could suck. Even though he So far I can completely relate to what Iversen is trying to convey with his book. Even though he was living on the west coast at the time and I grew up on the east coast, I think it shows that every teenager that believes that their experiences alone are unique is quite mistaken.
Oct 28, Leah rated it it was amazing Shelves: own. High School Confidential is an interesting autobiography about how it's author, Jeremy Iversen, went undercover for one semester at Mirador High School to find out just what it is that makes teens the way they are in society today. The footnotes in the back also offer explanations High School Confidential is an interesting autobiography about how it's author, Jeremy Iversen, went undercover for one semester at Mirador High School to find out just what it is that makes teens the way they are in society today.
The footnotes in the back also offer explanations of statistics and words that older readers may not pick up on easily. All in all, I found I enjoyed this book a lot and I'm certainly glad I bought it! Apr 01, Hank rated it really liked it. I thought that both the quality of the writing and the quality of the journalism here was quite good.
Iversen did have to use composite characters, obviously, so that he could protect the identities of the juveniles he observed while undercover at a southern California high school. What he saw, and what he describes in this book, will shock you. And, no, it's not the drugs, drinking, and sex that is the most most surprising aspect of modern high school life. Mar 25, Summer rated it liked it Shelves: , cultural-studies.
Interesting expose of contemporary high school culture. This book would have been better if not for the extensive literary license taken the experiences of many students compressed into a few archetypes, the use of statistics in building character portraits instead of actual experience. Reading the inevitable drama fallout on Amazon is pretty entertaining. Jan 31, Roxanne Nichols rated it it was amazing. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. They had no foundation of rational thought because they have been spoonfed from the school system and consumer-fed from their community and media.
Oct 21, Chris rated it it was amazing. I really liked this book, because the author really got into the heads of his so called classmates, and I was fascinated by the way he pulled his ruse off, but if this book is all true, and high schools around America are all like this, I weep for the future! Jul 31, David rated it really liked it.
Very fast, easy read.
It gives a good idea of what life is like in High Schools. Iversen goes back to high school undercover after graduating college. He is accepted as a student and writes about it firsthand. If you are involved with high school age kids, I highly recommend it. Aug 08, Andra rated it liked it. An interesting look at modern high school, a repeat of Cameron Crowe and "Fast Times.. Scary how corrupt the world is. I must have been a serious geek in HS to miss out. Nov 08, Hillary rated it it was amazing.
Jun 28, Renz Homer Cerillo rated it really liked it Shelves: coming-into-age , young-adult. Jan 27, Kelley rated it it was amazing Shelves: summer-reads. Loved it! Really understand perspective about how the author begins to feel loyal to his subjects. Reminds me not of my hs but the district where I teach. I remember the time I saw this book under a rack from booksale S. I read the back and was astounded that it is a journal of a true undercover student. Since the premise is good, I bought it without hesitation.
I like how it started, it excites me and made me curious. I want to know what will happen to him as undercover student. It turns out the story revolves to six different kids, who are diverse from each other. Theodora Margarid Danielian- The eccentric but artistic wealthy sophomore who is anonymous to the eye of the school. It happened in a harsh way- it turned her world upside-down. The one she thought as euphoria actually doomed her.
Charity Warner- Although superficial, she was a victim of excessive bullying-like gossiping. She had an initiative like a bull fighter, a compulsive attitude, and has honest loyalty. She do what it takes to get herself clean for she know the truth from what everybody thought is true. Victor Maria Reyes-Has potential but buoyed in a world of barbiturates, nicotine, and marijuana. A trouble maker in nature, he was struggling to graduate with three strike contract. Cody Adam Reisling-A steroid raging athlete whose bestfriend died in a car accident- who defines his life.
He has ascetism towards his good natured parents that force him to live under the roof of his sexed-up brother who do nothing but to compare their differences. With a pessimistic perspective of life, in which he thought that made him go living, made him miserable. Living behind the shadow of fear. Everything associated to her is thought to be perfect in or out the school, which in reality — she was a withering symbol of perfection. She was in a state of confusion whether to follow the domestic mandatory submission or to go with the flow of life. She has to control destiny to search for her true happiness.
Derrick Ian Littlefield- An administration puppet, a perfect image but living in a viracious state. He has no voice, just doing what others told him, using him for their own welfare. He need to get out of his illusions and face his manic depression to express what he feels about anything that is wrong-as in between he is omniscient, as a leader, a friend and as an individual.
And the administration that will stop at nothing to make their failing school to look good. When it comes to the middle of the book, my interest dwindle a bit. The flat parts are mostly character building devices that takes almost two hundred pages. In that part, nothing really happened, scenarios that can be put aside.
Samuel Pepys begins his diary
It is even out of the plot, just an index of the characters that are affected by the story. The chapter Two Weeks Go Deep can be removed from the book without affecting the whole story. I wish that it is not written because readers got bored at that part. Although, I still continue reading.
He was observing and narrating what happened without his involvement. The plot is not a unified story, but a patch work of different story-the struggles of the different characters, how they face it and the results of their actions. So why two stars? The characters are very distinct which is like they are having an extremist personality than a deviant one.
Superflawed heroins, no likeable one. The author lacks plan on the book. Flat part is almost half the book. Concept, theme and message is not actually delivered to the reader. This is a real story conveyed in a composite world. What is also written in the book is true to this time. The ages which is High school in America and college in the Philippines face the same problem. I am second year college and to be honest what are we always do is drink, party and the like. During the time I read this book, I find myself believing in the credibility of the author.
I like the writing style of the author. He was an erudite. He has a lot of potentials, and he was an intelligent writer. I hope he write something else than his usual books about beer boon and beer pongs. But, that aside, this book is not a work of fiction at least not a work of complete fiction , so we must pause and reflect on what its contents mean for teens of today and the state of education in our schools!
As far as the book itself goes, I was torn on how to rate it. I was intrigued at the beginning, but after the first 30 pages or so, I found the book complete soporific. I actually used a section of about pages to help myself fall asleep for several nights when sleep was eluding me. But then, suddenly, I found myself completely invested in these students and their stories. So that says something, right. Another aspect of the book that left me torn was the language. There were sections of the book that my high school students would LOVE — real teen dialogue and real topics of interest to them using the language they would actually use.
But other sections of the book… well… the language could be described as nothing other than grandiloquent. It seemed as if Mr. Iverson has challenged himself to use as many multi-syllabic SAT words in one sentence as he could. Reflecting on this book, I did come to one relatively easy conclusion: I will not be recommending this to any of my students. But this IS a book that I will recommend to other high school teachers.
I think it has some universal lessons in it that are important for us to hear. We have to keep that in mind. And sometimes, just sometimes, the things going on in their lives are really heavy and require patience and respect from us. And this learning needs to be provided by teachers; we are not their friends, we are not military drill instructors, and we are most certainly not their romantic interests! Finally, we need to practice what we preach.
If we say that school time is valuable, then we need to MAKE it valuable, not fill it with loosely-related movies, silly assemblies, or games and parties. I seriously considered dropping it on more than one occasion. Maybe that means the book actually deserves 4 stars?!? Who knows? While there are boring parts, challenging parts, and parts that just seem absolutely too absurd to be true, there are LOTS of valuable nuggets of truth to be taken away. And, I think that makes everything else insignificant! Oct 29, Michelle rated it it was ok. Hmm, not so sure how I felt about this one.
The Paralegal Who’d Rather Not Commute to a Date
So Jeremy Iverson goes undercover as a senior in an Orange County high school to expose what high school is like these days. Well, actually not really. He really wanted to go because he didn't want to get a normal job after college, but hey, I don't really blame him. And he wanted to experience high school as part of the "me generation" instead of his generation, which was apparently anti-teenager right in between the John Hughes 80's movies and the m Hmm, not so sure how I felt about this one. And he wanted to experience high school as part of the "me generation" instead of his generation, which was apparently anti-teenager right in between the John Hughes 80's movies and the me generation, I think.
Fair enough. He joins the popular crowd, which I wasn't sure if it was to get a better story drinking! Some parts were really amusing. Some parts were so dead on, omg, this was my high school. Some of it I spent most of the time wondering if this was actually the truth, or if he wrote a piece of fiction and framed it as the truth to make it a more interesting story.
Samuel Pepys begins his diary | History Today
That probably doesn't make sense, but I'm thinking of The Princess Bride by William Goldman, how Goldman was acting as if he was abridging a tale by S. I love Goldman, though, I'm unsure of my feelings for Iverson. Also, could we have a better conclusion to the story? What happened to Thea? Did any of these people go to college and graduate? Do any of them have a brain? And also, I really must know if any of the teachers were fired after this book came out, no matter how much he tried to conceal their identities.
This book is why we need to pay our teachers more. So quality people step forth and lead our youngsters, instead of subpar idiots. Dec 08, Emmy rated it did not like it. This book was condescending, egotistical, and mostly a fictionalized caricature of the students he meets. Iversen writes that his book is a "guiding star" to the "world of high school" and you can "explore at your own pace" or something like that I gladly returned the book the library, so I can't quote word for word , and then basically indicates that all of the characters and situations are just representations of what actually happened.
And while I don't doubt that the situations are real, This book was condescending, egotistical, and mostly a fictionalized caricature of the students he meets. And while I don't doubt that the situations are real, I DO doubt that all of them happened to each of the given characters.
Additionally, there is a big chunk of the book written about events that took place before he even "infiltrated" the school. Word for word, right? I'm also annoyed that he provides such a negative view. Sure, sex, drugs, and rock and roll or emo, in this case sell, but I'm positive those weren't the only situations encountered in this high school. That shouts "sheltered life" to me. And I've lead a pretty sheltered life myself. Anyway, I could go on, but I really need to go to bed. Bottom line: don't bother. Feb 17, Tanya rated it liked it Shelves: read-in , memoir-biography.
I was browsing education books in the library when this one caught my eye. I am a high school teacher and I have worked in two different school districts. I wanted to see what this guy found and if it was similar to my experience with high school life. I still was surprised at some of the things he encountered. I grew up in Orange County so I kept trying to figure out which school this was. Yeah-I know he makes up composite characters so that nobody can figure out who is who.
I'm still not sure how much is fact and how much is fiction. I can see the different types of students and there will always be the "cool" kids and the "artsy" ones. Still there is a lot of drinking and drugging and sexing going on. The teachers barely teach and as a teacher, that makes me sad. My favorite part is the WASC accreditation process. I have gone through that twice and it seems like such a bunch of BS at times. How can you judge a school on some data and a couple days of observations? You know that everyone is putting on a show. It's just like when some teachers get evaluated and they suddenly dress different or do this cool lesson that never happens again.
Oh vey. So I am not sure this is earth shattering, but it is a bit of fun to read about "real" high school students every now and then. I wish the adults weren't so clueless. Nov 21, Scott rated it liked it. Can you imagine that conversation? Cameron: Hi, I'm some guy in my 20s, and I want to come to your school and pose as a highschool student for a book I'm writing. It might even eventually get made into a movie.
I'm totally not going to sleep with any of your students or party with them. Or possibly a combination of all three? In A Clockwork Orange , the future is a violent, broken place. Vonnegut satirizes a range of targets, from American provincialism to banana republic dictators to the jet set, but ultimately has eyes on something bigger. He plays the futility of the human condition for laughs, in a way that highlights rather than disguises the bleakness of his vision.
Few dystopian stories are also horror stories, but Ellison has always enjoyed surprising his readers. In this astounding work of short fiction, he conceives a world where only five humans are left and their lives are dominated by a sadistic and omnipotent supercomputer known as AM. The original edition of Androids was set in ; later editions place the story in the 21st century.
Humanity was nearly wiped out during another global conflict, and now, robotic versions of animals and humans are part of everyday life. While nuclear war was a serious threat when Dick wrote the book, the stark look at a future Earth after mass environmental destruction seems all too real now. The Hainish cycle of books and stories contains many of these, including The Left Hand of Darkness , about a planet whose inhabitants have no fixed gender, and The Dispossessed , set on twin planets with radically different forms of government.
The Lathe of Heaven , though set on earth, has just as heady a concept: protagonist George Orr a name with plenty of dystopian resonance on its own possesses the ability to rewrite reality itself. Working with his therapist, Orr begins to use his ability to ostensibly improve the world. A wish with the intention of making things better, however, often has the opposite effect — thus allowing Le Guin to, in this short novel, showcase a number of ominous outcomes for humanity.
When you think of the most iconic Dr. Like Samuel R. Many dystopias focus on the ways in which human flaws and obsessions can transform society for the worst. Specifically the idea that, in the event of some extraterrestrial lifeform visiting Earth, they might not even bother to contact us, leaving humans to puzzle over the bizarre artifacts they leave in their wake.
This brief, brutal novella, written by Sheldon under a pseudonym, is about a girl who gives up her life of poverty and physical deformity, instead becoming the remote brain for a perfect, young, machine-made starlet. As a vision of the future, The Girl Who is full of sci-fi tropes like remote brains and 3-D holograms.
More presciently, and more pointedly, it also speculates that advertising would become a hidden, embedded part of entertainment. Some dystopian novels take their cue from the breakdown of an existing social order; others focus on the conflict between two incompatible worldviews, and the devastation that they leave in their wake. As he tells the story of a wanderer arriving in an isolated city, Delany uses a host of experimental prose techniques to leave the reader as shaken as his characters.
The Girl Who Owned a City , familiar from many middle-school reading lists, is simpler and smaller than the Hunger Games cohort of young-adult dystopias. After Lisa loses her house to a gang of kids, she moves her nascent collective into the local high school.
Its smallness and the simplicity of its language are a benefit rather than a detraction — as an introduction to dystopia and an act of imaginative future horror, it can hit a year-old square in the chest. Woman on the Edge of Time feels atypical for a dystopian novel: Connie, its protagonist, lives in New York in the s, and its opening suggests the reader is in for a bleak work of literary realism. But soon, Connie is contacted by a representative from a utopian society in a possible future timeline, and things grow infinitely more complex.
As science-fiction writer and critic Jo Walton observed in an essay on the novel, s New York comes off as pretty dystopian here as well. Connie is repeatedly deprived of her freedom by patriarchal forces as sinister as anything you might run across in Atwood. Soon enough, however, the conversation at familial functions turns to the state of the world, which is headed toward rapid societal collapse. Casual talks about genetics in the early going take on a new significance as the book advances; this is a tale of a grim future, the evolution of humanity, and the questions that face the society to come.
Perhaps most impressive is how subtly the novel changes: Without ever losing sight of the personal, it takes on societal and environmental changes on a grander and grander scale. The Stand is his magnum opus when it comes to writing about the end of civilization, and the ensuing battle to decide what direction humanity will go in as it tries to rebuild.
Beginning with The Shadow of the Torturer , Wolfe wrote a number of interconnected works that explored the fate of humanity in the far future and earned a whole lot of acclaim along the way. These are generally grouped together as the Book of the New Sun set on Earth at a time when the sun has dimmed , the Book of the Long Sun set on a massive generation ship , and the Book of the Short Sun set on a number of distant worlds. The Shadow of the Torturer is where it all began, featuring an apprentice torturer with an eidetic memory venturing across a bizarre world long after our own civilization has vanished.
The setup is simple: A group of teenagers in a futuristic megacity stumble across something that transforms one of the kids into a troubled god; the End of Days ensues. A character at one point punches the goddamn moon and makes a significant dent, and it never looks silly, somehow. Atwood presents a fully realized and terrifyingly timeless world in the Republic of Gilead, where rape is reframed as a sacred and clinical ceremony. The Postman made into a much-maligned film in is set after a series of wars — both international and civil — have led to the end of the United States as we know it.
Though the setting is dystopian, Brin pursues the question of how a nation can be rebuilt — whether through a set of shared beliefs or a group of working institutions. The presence of an adversarial strain of violent, hypermasculine authoritarianism makes for some chilling parallels to the present moment. But in his prime, Card captured a range of emotions with a power and immediacy seldom seen in sci-fi.
Imagine British boarding school, complete with arbitrary games that determine your future, taking place in the grimy workaday spacecraft of the Alien series. With the help of Janson and Varley, the great comics auteur Frank Miller crafted a story about Batman returning to active duty in middle age, seeking to re-conquer a Gotham that looks suspiciously like Times Square circa , writ large. The dystopian aspects of the story are deliberately over the top: talk shows fawning over serial killers, street gangs dressed like Johnny Rotten in a German porno, televised talking heads grinning through the madness, and so on.
Told from multiple perspectives, the book frequently evokes the onset of the AIDS crisis, but magnified and transposed to a few years from now. Plenty of tales of dystopian futures focus on everyday people trying to live out their lives even as sinister forces prey upon them. Hint: not good. Ryman is the sort of novelist who reinvents himself with each work, covering a vast amount of emotional and intellectual territory along the way.
In the case of The Child Garden , the setting is a futuristic world in which advances in medicine have resulted in a cure for cancer — which has the side effect of dramatically shortening the human lifespan. Despite being a product of the U. First introduced in , this long-running series of comic books explores a vicious future city where the streets are a war between motley crazies and brutal law-enforcement officers called Judges.
Dredd himself only appears peripherally; the joy here is in seeing the world he defines. Many of the works on this list have been overshadowed by cinematic adaptations, but arguably none more so than The Children of Men. After the cyberpunk movement made its mark on science fiction in the s, Stephenson came along and took a crack at the genre with this novel of a futuristic world in which virtual spaces coexist with the physical, and dangers can arise within each. Its tone is brisk and occasionally over-the-top: this is, after all, a novel in which the main character is literally named Hiro Protagonist.
As in his subsequent works — including The Diamond Age and the Baroque Cycle series — the nature and dangers of language play a significant role here. Depicting a Southern California beset by fires, drought, mass unemployment, and the slow collapse of social services, Parable of the Sower brought the ways race, gender, and community could alter survival strategies into the sci-fi imagination.
Lauren Olamina, a young black girl afflicted with a painful psychosomatic empathy condition, is forced to flee the gated community in which her family eked out a precarious stability. A full Earthseed saga is one of the great lost works of science fiction. The Giver is the prototypical example of a utopia with a dark side — perhaps the prime example in young-adult literature of a seemingly perfect society that had to sacrifice something to become that way. Jonas lives in a structured community in which marriages, careers, and families are all chosen for citizens by a preternaturally wise group of capital-E Elders.
Perhaps the sparsest dystopia is the bleakest one of all. For all that Infinite Jest is hailed as a towering work of American fiction, and for its numerous literary innovations and digressions Footnotes! Circular structures! Infinite Jest is a loud, ambitious, perniciously unsettling book. There are plenty of advantages to having the lead character in a story of a strange future be a journalist.
For starters, you can show a bunch of different aspects of the world and have a character with a vested interest in exploring them. While there are clear parallels intended to, say, the rise of Tony Blair in the s, Transmetropolitan remains deeply and uncomfortably relevant to contemporary politics as well.
The drama plays out in a Toronto in which infrastructure has collapsed; the affluent have fled to the suburbs, and danger remains for those who have persevered. At times, the setup for the novel reads like a half-dozen urbanist trends accelerated at a frenzied rate. Some dystopian fiction focuses on the terror that can emerge; Hopkinson leaves room for everyday joys and hope.
In The Elementary Particles , the apocalypse has already hit in the form of the cultural revolutions of the s. Raised by a psychotically vain and feckless hippie mother, the two main characters — half-brothers Michel and Bruno — wander through life utterly lonely and unhappy, in complementary ways. Michel is isolated in his mind and his work as a geneticist; Bruno is saturnine and compulsively seeks out sex.
We follow the brothers and those around them across various humiliations, betrayals, and occasional horror, a forced march through the highlights of lateth century European ennui. The characters conclude that the misery of the human condition is so all-encompassing, only a root-and-branch genetic reconstruction of humanity — one that reproduces asexually and has neurologically disassociated sexual pleasure and reproduction — could possibly improve things. The Elementary Particles is a late classic of the European reactionary literary tradition, both in terms of its unflinching evocation of the failures of modernity and in its cheap and seethingly horny provocations.
Trying to describe the work of the French writer who writes under the name of Antoine Volodine among several others is nearly impossible. His fiction often features futuristic settings and ventures down metaphysical pathways: Post Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven is set in a future where artists and writers run afoul of an oppressive government. Volodine focuses on a number of fictional writers and imagined literary movements; even as he chronicles the grim clashes between state power and artistic freedom, he also creates a sense of delight at how different creative communities affect one another, and how artistic movements transform themselves and those who participate in them.
Lord of the Flies contrasted polite British society with the Hobbesian state of nature and asked whether the two might not be so different; Battle Royale insists that the war of all against all was always already there — the scenario just formalizes the rules. But Takami makes clear that the everyday violence of family and school primed the kids for taking on roles as victims or victimizers. Prepare to be equal parts disgusted and enthralled. Plenty of dystopian fiction makes memorable use of cities.
Feed might have been the darkest dystopia I read as a child because the villain is amorphous and unbeatable — there is no single sinister overlord or town to escape. Anderson makes consumerism and vanity look unbearable and shallow, but also unavoidable. Here, though, one man survives, and so do all of the women. How exactly does the world fall apart? What nations become powerful? What skills become rare? What resources become valuable? Like most dystopias, the series is also a product of its particular moment — some of its political gestures already feel a touch out of place.
But it is still remarkable for how thoroughly it imagines its new world, and how well it executes its epic survival quest. In it, a group of youngsters befriend one another and their idealistic ambitions get the better of them, leading to extremely well-intentioned destruction that makes this both a dystopia and a great postapocalyptic tale. Why this collection of short stories flew so low under the radar is a mystery. Derby is one of the masters of surrealist dystopia, weaving together big ideas and raw emotions to create a tapestry of depression and alienation that spans decades.
Despite the fact that the stories are framed as being the tales of humans long lost to time, retold by a monkish order in the distant future, each tale stands on its own as a document of fallen-world—building. Women are forced to harvest so many eggs that their hips crack, food crises lead to everyone eating just meat, children start mysteriously floating, warriors fight with sound guns … the level of imagination is staggering, but the book remains grounded in the dismal fact of human adaptation or is it resignation?
Reading The City of Ember is an experience tinged with a constant, low-grade anxiety, like the moment before a jump scare in a horror movie. Lina Mayfleet lives in a world of scarcity, with food supplies depleting and no means of getting more. Even more terrifying, she lives in a world of encroaching darkness — the sky and world beyond her underground city are black and, like the food supply, the light bulbs are running out. When the book begins, flickers and power shortages are commonplace, and Lina never knows when an outage might be permanent.
Of course, we get the standard dystopian tropes: career assigned to you in this case by picking out of a bag , no strong parental figures, a younger sibling to care for. But what makes it unique among the bevy of early aughts young-adult books is how visceral her fear is. There is a clock running out, and we have no idea how much time is left.
With the self-centeredness of just about any high-school-aged kid, narrator Kathy details the drama of a love triangle and the sexual awkwardness that comes with being young and curious. But as she grows older, it becomes apparent that Kathy and her schoolmates are meant for a different life: to be cogs in the wheel of a larger system that is so dominant, so all-consuming, that mere thoughts of rebellion never even emerge. Here, she finds state-of-the-art fitness equipment, art and cultural materials, and a friendly staff. It all seems decidedly pleasant — except for the mandatory nature of it, and the fate of all of the residents there.
The result is a powerful meditation on questions of societal obligations, families or the lack thereof , and how one best leaves a mark on the world. Instead, he zeroes in on essential questions: What does it mean to be part of a family as the world reverts to a state of nature? Is it more important to uphold some remnant of morality and idealism in this broken world, or does survival take precedence over everything else?