Sunday, March 30, 2014

Review Time #56

Surviving High School by M. Doty

What's the secret to surviving your freshman year of high school?

Emily Kessler thinks she has it all figured out. She eats, sleeps and trains for competitive swimming. All she has to do is keep her grades high and swim times short -- short enough to live up to her sister Sara's. But walking the crowded maze of unfamiliar high school hallways is like diving headfirst into shark-infested waters. Shark #1: Dominique, her biggest competition on the swim team and all-around mean girl. Shark #2: The adorable and popular Ben Kale... Emily can't resist his smile no matter how hard she tries. When the pressure builds to the point where Emily isn't sure she can stay afloat, she begins to question the strict path her life has always followed.
Maybe there is more to life than studying and swimming. Maybe the secret to surviving high school is just to have a little fun.
The hit mobile game Surviving High School comes to life in an original novel about perfection, failure, and following your dreams.

Emily has just started her freshman year and all she wants to do is survive it. After her sister dies tragically in a car accident all of her father's pressures about making it to nationals for swimming double onto Emily. While her father wants her to do nothing but swim, study and swim, Emily wants to have normality in her life. She wants to have a boyfriend, go to parties, dances and do everything that normal teenagers do in High School.

Emily's way to figuring out what she really wanted was what a lot of high school students go through. Even without sport everyone wants to do well, go to university or what ever else they want to that needs good marks from school. Emily and her best friend Kimi going to a high school party is a big thing for them, they want a boyfriend, to be popular like most high school students. While hiding from the one person who was with her sister when she died, Nick, she runs into the school's very popular guys Ben Kale  who can't seem to not look for Emily. Nick and Emily were great influences on each, Emily getting Nick to actually attend class and do well and Nick who helps Emily decide what she really wants to do and that she doesn't always have to follow her fathers plan.

I could really connect with Emily and her story since I went through something similar to Emily. High School in Australia starts at year 7 and I was 11 when I started, from year 5 to year 8 I was competitor in Surf Life Saving and I went to state a few times to represent my club while I did it for fun and wanted to do well, I had a lot of pressure put on me to do so. With this I trained twice a week in the pool straight after school for an hour and a half to two hours. Also at this time I was in high grades for soccer competing in the second highest grade when I played with the boys and the highest when I played girls. It is a lot of pressure to do great, to train hard twice a week, play once a week and stay on top of school work. Since I also had pressure put on me academically I started to burn out when everything starting piling up on me. Like Emily when I started to do them all for fun and not competitively I became better, less stressed and more focused on school.

A great YA novel about coming of age, making the tough decisions and that sometimes high school can be fun. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Keely xx

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