Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororit"/>
 

The Overachievers: The Secret Life of Driven Kids

Alexandra Robbins, Author
Alexandra Robbins, Author . Hyperion $24.95 (439p) ISBN 978-1-4013-0201-6
Reviewed on: 05/22/2006
Release date: 08/01/2006
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 978-1-4013-8638-2
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 978-1-4013-8615-3
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-1-4013-8616-0
Paperback - 439 pages - 978-1-4013-0902-2
Ebook - 978-1-4013-8639-9
Ebook - 978-1-4013-8613-9
Hardcover - 271 pages - 978-0-316-28887-3
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In this engrossing anthropological study of the cult of overachieving that is prevalent in many middle- and upper-class schools, Robbins (Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities ) follows the lives of students from a Bethesda, Md., high school as they navigate the SAT and college application process. These students are obsessed with success, contending with illness, physical deterioration (senior Julie is losing hair over the pressure to get into Stanford), cheating (students sell a physics project to one another), obsessed parents ( Frank's mother manages his time to the point of abuse) and emotional breakdowns. What matters to them is that all-important acceptance to the right name-brand school. "When teenagers inevitably look at themselves through the prism of our overachiever culture," Robbins writes, "they often come to the conclusion that no matter how much they achieve, it will never be enough." The portraits of the teens are compelling and make for an easy read. Robbins provides a series of critiques of the system, including college rankings, parental pressure, the meaninglessness of standardized testing and the push for A.P. classes. She ends with a call to action, giving suggestions on how to alleviate teens' stress and panic at how far behind they feel. (Aug.)

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