Sevag Hopefulian steps out of middle school Special Education and into a tumultuous start to high school where he quickly establishes himself as class rebel. His darkly-comedic narration of the gritty day-to-day reality of high school is like a descent into Hell illuminates as he struggles with the kids who have bullied him for years, but stumbles into a sideways acceptance by the Cool Kids. His comedy of errors escapades as he sleeps through, cuts and disrespects his classes intensify as he not only dates the Cool Kids’ “Virgin” Mary, but manages to fall into an after school job as an apprentice drug dealer and a college-aged girlfriend in New York City. Sevag’s own drug experiments take him into dangerous territory with some serious side effects. No one told him Freshman year would be this consequential.
Throughout this emotional coming-of-age novel the reader is presented with protagonist Sevag—an apathetic, self-sabotaging, drug using character, who is lonely and overall depressed making him a relatable to anyone who had a typical high-school experience. Haha
Despite his flaws, Sevag has a charming, darkly-comedic voice that keeps the reader entertained as he experiences some of his first’s romances and gets sucked into other people’s drama. Through the up’s and down’s Sevag grows as a character, and the fact that the author brings you straight into the pages makes it that much more enjoyable. Overall, a great read.
As a high school teacher, I live in this world from August to June every year. I see what kids go through, and sometimes it feels as though you are beating your head against the wall when you tell kids this part of their lives only lasts for a minute... or it won't be like this for long. When you're going through it, it feels like an eternity... and that is what this author has managed to capture. The eternity of Freshman year of high school. Its ups and downs, its challenges and frustrations and its joys and discovery of oneself.
The characters are very well created, and very authentic and real. You will fall in love with some, and you will absolutely not like some others, just like when you were in high school. The difference here is you are the proverbial fly on the wall, the author allows you to experience this roller coaster ride as an observer, though at times, it certainly feels like you are right there with the characters!
The author has done a fantastic job with the story lines in this book, just when you think you have it figured out, the plot shifts, and you are left wondering where it is going next... and there are simply things you didn't see coming in the book, and I love that!
The author has done a stellar job of making high school scenarios fresh and new, and the book is so entertaining it will keep you turning page after page completely immersed in the story. It is a definite must read, and I, for one, can not wait to read more from this author.
I highly recommend.
As a foster mom, many issues come to light when bringing in teens who weren’t parented their entire lives by me. Many teens who come into my home have struggled in many ways, and I can’t necessarily understand all of their pain and problems. That is why I make a sincere effort to read books, with teen characters, who face common teen problems. High School Society of One, is one of those books that truly allows parents and their teenaged kids to be on the same level of understanding.
Sevag is the main character of this story. A boy who has struggled with bullying much of his life, and goes into high school with the intent of becoming anything but the school’s victim. He wants to be cool. The stereotypical bad boy. And he does everything in his power to become the kid everyone ‘wants’ to be. You follow him through his Freshman year, as he turns himself from bullied Special Ed kid, to the bad boy girls dream of dating.
There are a lot of mature themes in this book. Sevag delves into drug use in a pretty serious manner, including not only using drugs, but selling them. He also shuns authority, disrespects his education system, and uses school as a social gateway rather than a learning experience. The book also delves into sexual issues regarding abstinence and the peer pressure that goes with losing your virginity.
As a foster parent I can use this book in a multitude of ways. I can understand a lot of the issues my kids have faced by relating to the main character in the book. But I can also read this book with my kids. In my home with have a mom/kid book club, where I read books with my children and we discuss them. I hold onto books with storylines that deal with tough topics because I find them to be the most effective in opening up discussions with my children. This book, has certainly become one of my favorites for teens ages 13 to 19- although I would recommend it more for teens ages 15 to 19, typically, because there are so many mature themes in the book.
Sevag faces many things, and because of his issues- I can talk to my kids about what they face in high school. Pressure to try drugs, knowing children who sell drugs, the push to have sex at a younger and younger age, and the bullying that comes with being a bit ‘different’ (which foster kids tend to face- because they are usually the new kid at school when they change homes). I value books that allow my kids to open up. I look specifically for books that bring up tough topics. High School Society of One is one of those books. And I highly recommend it to parents, counselors, therapists, and teachers who are looking for a way to meaningfully connect to your kids.
The older a person gets, it often feels like many people forget what life was like for their younger selves, what it feels like to be a child, or what living like a teenager is truly like. Antranig Dereyan was able to capture that feeling perfectly. While reading this novel I felt transported to my own high school, I felt like I was walking the halls of my old classrooms.
The characters are simply wonderful, and are really fleshed out. I wanted to hug (or punch) several of them. All of the typical high school characters you expect are here, from the jock to the cheerleader, but they all have added wrinkles, new twists that take the story in unexpected directions.
I gave up on trying to figure out where the story was going, the author managed to consistently elude my expectations, consistently keeping me on the edge of my seat. Would they make up? Would he get the nerve to ask her? I'm not sure how the author did it, but these normally tired clichés somehow felt fresh and new.
The pacing was overall very decent. It is tight and precise when needed, but slower and more methodical when the story called for it. I especially like the fight sequence, I was somehow simultaneously inside Sev's head and a member of the audience at the same time. I had to reread the entire segment before I was able to move on.
I was worried about the parts involving drugs, but the author was able to expertly weave them into the story so that it felt like a natural progression, not like a tacked on afterthought. It got a little darker than I personally like, but my tolerance for the topic is probably much higher than most.
I'm not afraid to admit that I cried during a few later scenes, I'll avoid naming specifics to avoid spoilers, but needless to say the events rang a little to close to home for comfort. I wanted to laugh and scream at the same time. While not a perfect book, I highly recommend it, the ride is worth it.
This is a refreshing book which chronicles the struggles of the high school experience. I was hooked right from the start and many of the things inside reminded me of my very own experiences. I'm sure every one of us could relate. I liked the way characters were developed and the story flows nicely and kept me interested the entire time. This is the real deal, I'm glad I stumbled upon this book. Well worth the read.
The author has done a simply outstanding job of capturing the essence of the high school experience! As a high school teacher, I am very familiar with this world, and I don't think that I could have done a better job capturing it myself. I read all summer looking for books that my students will enjoy. I know I've found a winner here, because I enjoyed it so much myself! High school is hard, it's an emotional rollercoaster, it's a time of discovery and no one comes through it unscathed. Though it is *only* four years of your life, it is likely the four years that you remember most vividly the remainder of your life. The author has managed to authentically capture the essence of a Freshman year in high school, no small feat.
Middle school can easily be likened to living in a pit of vipers... and Sevag is more than happy to put that segment of his life behind him, and move on to high school, where he can be himself, make new friends and fit in. Well, the idea is great in theory, but unfortunately, many of the same vipers from middle school are also at the high school now, and not all have matured as much as Sevag.
Sevag manages to find his niche, and while doing so, we are taken along for the ride with him. You will love some of the characters, and you will hate some of the characters... remind you of anything? You will cheer for Sevag, you will want to scream at Sevag when he doesn't always make the best choice, but overall, you will like his story.
The story and characters are very authentic, and very well created. The writing is wonderful, and the plot has enough twists and turns to keep you highly engaged in the book. Just when you're sure you have it all figured out, the author shifts focus, and you have to figure it out all over again.
I highly recommend.