Daniel Parker, Author . HarperCollins/Avon $4.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-440806-6

The first of The Wessex Papers trilogy starts off like a great beach read, full of arch observations by and about its protagonists, overprivileged teens at a highfalutin boarding school called Wessex Academy. Most of the main characters belong to the elite clique known as ABs, or Alumni Brats. Sunday and Allison show up to the headmaster's welcoming party wearing—horrors—the same Lily Pulitzer dress; once-preppy Hobson has come down with "I'm-From-The-Hood Syndrome" ("His baggy pants hung low. He flashed signs for nonexistent gangs. His friends became his 'dawgs' "); Noah, the smart-mouthed slacker, dreams up a plan for a "guerilla barbershop quartet" to be called The Schwa Sound ("You know, after that little upside-down E that dictionaries use"). But wit quickly gives way to sophomoric plotting. The overextended story line involves conspiracies among corrupt faculty members; illicit sex (the new English teacher seduces Noah); and tedious roommate squabbles and romantic tiffs. In a bizarre closing twist, a non-AB and Sunday (who team up to "take the BS out of boarding school") peek through the headmaster's window late one night and spy him and a student watching a porn movie starring Noah. The story resembles a drifting soap opera, complete with dangling plot lines, and readers are not likely to tune in to the next installments. Ages 12-up. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/10/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-71478-5
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-195751-2
Show other formats
Discover what to read next