Sometimes in the face of great tragedy can come tremendous change. Our view of the world during those times is altered and, with courage, we can find ways to make a change for the positive in our lives and in the lives of those around us. In Valerie Ipson’s Ideal High, Taryn Young is a survivor who sets out to make that change for the better.
First there was the terrible fire and loss of life, and Taryn knew life would never be the same. The book deals with the emotions that anyone can feel after a devastating loss: grief, guilt, mourning and despair. From the ashes, Taryn is able to not only find a message to share with the world, but also herself, accomplishing more than she would have ever imagined she could have.
Then there is the mystery. What isn’t adding up? What is the author keeping from us? This book is an absolute page-turner. From the very beginning of the book, Ipson sets up the reader to wonder what the plot twist is going to be at the end. There is a mystery that the reader knows is somewhere around the bend, and it is hard to put the book down because of the anticipation.
The book covers one additional theme that has a lot of relevance in today’s world. Bullying has become a hot topic these last few years, and I think this book does a good job of covering this issue. Unfortunately, it is a major issue that can’t just be ignored. Ideal High teaches an important lesson that all parents would want their kids to learn, the lesson that you, as an individual, can help make a difference in your life and the lives of others. At times, the story might be, as the title suggests, a little too ideal but I believe a work of fiction requires leniency for the author to get their thoughts across.
With additional themes such as friendship, betrayal, and romance, Ideal High transports us all back to our own high school days. I think Ipson paints a very accurate portrayal of high school and teenage emotions, making this a must read for any individual trying to navigate parenting a teenager.
If Ipson set out to write a book with a lasting message and call to action, she succeeded tremendously. Ideal High is a well-written, well-intentioned read that can help spread a much-needed message in today’s society.