Customer Reviews for

The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted October 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Insightful- A Must Read!

    This book has is very enjoyable. It contains many characters, each one with their own story to tell. Alexandra Robbins gives an interesting peek into the lives of the most driven, talented, and overworked students around the nation. I like how she puts in interesting facts on the subject of our educational system. I think it could have a wide audience because it's not only for students but also the parents, educators, and the people who support them.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2006

    High School Junior

    This book was fantastic and too true. I think any student could relate to this book. It had the perfect blend of facts and the personal lives of the students Robbins interviwed. In places the facts are dry, but the kids lives are interesting and makes one forget they are reading a non-fiction piece. I read this for my AP English class and would highly reccomend it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommended...This Reads Like a Novel

    "The Overachievers" is a great book. It reads like a novel and is never boring. Alexandra Robbins makes it interesting by having first hand accounts of Overachievism. She observes a total of five students and tells it like it is. She does not sugar coat the good, the bad, and the ugly. She explains why one observee loses her hair due to stress, and how one Overachiever's mom loses custody of one of her children because she never lets them have a life. It tells of the pathetic battle to maintain perfectionism and the competition to get into top ranked preschools even before the aforementioned child is born. This is a captivating tale of what one goes through to be perfect.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2007

    A reviewer

    As a diligent, hard-working high school student myself, I found The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids completely engaging. Straight-A students with numerous extracurriculars and high test scores are commonly stereotyped as untouchable, unrealistic, and plain nerdy. However, Alexandra Robbins¿ novel brings to life the routines, stresses and lifestyles of driven students. It showcases the goal-oriented society in which students across the country are sacrificing their teenage years just to get into a ¿good¿ school. Parents especially are overlooking the benefits many non-Ivy league schools have to offer. Despite statistics proving otherwise, people are still fixated on the fact that attending a recognized undergraduate school will guarantee lifetime success. Robbins approaches her novel very appropriately by telling the stories of several high school students of differing interests and ages. Personally, I identified most with Julie, a senior perceived as ¿the superstar.¿ Her life was completely swamped with cross-country and track practices as she tried to balance a rigorous AP schedule as well as volunteer work and honor societies. The thing that struck me so much about Julie, as well as the rest of the characters, was how astonishing her introduction was. I almost didn¿t want to continue reading, let alone apply to some of the schools she was considering, because there seemed to be no way to compare to such an applicant. But as I read further, I realized every last one of these students had flaws. They felt so much pressure to compete against their classmates that they were joining new clubs just to add to their college resume, whether or not they enjoyed the activity. The novel opened my eyes to many of the practices, including cheating, which many committed students feel pressured to execute. It is not that any of these overachievers are lazy they simply don¿t have enough time in the day to complete all of their work. The number of applications to the most selective colleges has skyrocketed over the last few years, and with the rising number of applicants comes rising expectations. Everyone thinks they need to take a million AP courses (well, only 16 in the case of ¿AP Frank¿), while still being the number-one varsity athlete, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, and class valedictorian. However, by interviewing a few readers of college applicants, Robbins put to rest some of the rumors regarding how over-blown resumes are attractive to colleges. The only blemish in her statistics was how some responses only consisting of 25% of opinions were portrayed as an overwhelming majority. Though all of us applicants strive to look perfect on paper, the reality is that not everyone can be accepted into top-tier schools. However, happiness attained by every student by the end of the novel is proof that hard-working students can make any college their ¿perfect¿ fit. Very well-written with morals pertinent to any college applicant, I would highly recommend this novel to any stressed-out senior.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2007

    Hands down, a must-read

    This is the best book of the admissions genre, and perhaps even of the high school genre. A quick read, engaging, pulls you in, leaves you feeling like you really care about these kids. A gem of a read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2006

    Read this BOOK!!!

    Wonderful, to put it simply!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2007

    Every Parent Should Read This!

    I'm a 21 year old college senior and I could NOT put this book down, it seemed like she was describing my life for the past 10 years exactly! I immediately sent a copy to my parents and after reading it they said they finally started to understand what I mean when I discuss the new pressures facing teens today. Well written and very engaging!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2006

    Scary, but True

    This book rings true on every level. I am a college student now, but it describes my high school experience perfectly. I don't think people realize how cutthroat high school has become, and this book uncovers that and reads like a fiction novel. One of the best books I have read in a long time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2006

    A New Form Of Identity Theft

    Identity theft while still in the womb. Go figure. It happens everyday. And Alexandra Robbins, a gifted Journalist, is calling it like it is. During our teenage years, we're supposed to be searching for our identity. It's the age of discovery, seeking passions, trying on new faces a time to figure out who we want to be when we grow up and think about what we hope to contribute to the world. As the author details in this book, those days are a distant memory. This milestone book tells the stories of several teen's personal experiences about the competition that often happens during the pre-college, and college acceptance process, over the course of a little more than a year. We follow the lives of a varied group of juniors, seniors and a freshman at Harvard, all hailing from Bethesda, Maryland's upscale Walt Whitman High School the same alma matter as the author. Interspersed between the stories of these students in real time, Ms. Robbins provides us with anxiety producing accounts, facts and figures of the competitiveness that often begins at the pre-natal stage to get a child into the 'right' pre-kindergarten. Whatever, 'right' may mean. Some companies even prey on parents prior to conception or during pregnancy, by marketing educational products. They claim that these products, when played close to the belly during the justation period, provide the unborn infant with a leg up on educational prowess. To be fair however, status obsessed parents often put their unborn or unconceived child on a wait list fours years in advance, for a prestigious pre-k program. Sadly, the baby boomers of the 1960's and 1970's have done a 180 from their touting of 'non-conformity' to myopically branding their offspring into a clone they hope will be accepted and thrive at an ivy-league school, top graduate school and high-prestige, high-figure money making profession. As Ms. Robbins points out numerous times and through numerous examples, this is often done at the expense of the child. It hinders the important discovery process of the child's search for it's identity. These children not only don't have the opportunity to build a personal toolbox to figure out what is, and what will be rewarding to them, but their mental and physical health suffers as well. Ms. Robbins conclusions are significant in many areas. The author suggests ways of 'right adjusting' this competition frenzy for parents, high schools, colleges and students. Hopefully, her suggestions will be considered and implemented appropriately.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2006

    interesting direction

    The Overachievers follows students, labelled by their peers as Meathead, Flirt, Slacker and the like, over the course of one year. I was taken in by these characters and their stories made me understand what the author was trying to say about the educational system. I guess I never had thought about the plight of students who could actually hack it. We read so much about the students who aren't cutting it that it's an interesting thing to think about the students who are smart and graduating, and yet so sad and overwhelmed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2006

    Strong characters, good story, excellent social points

    This is a very good effort. An excellent window into the life of today's high school from the view of top students and some at times heartbreaking and at times hilarious looks at their lives, families, and friends. A good read all around and, in my opinion, worthy of praise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2006

    THE REAL DEAL

    THIS BOOK IS BASED ON WALT WHITMAN HIGH SCHOOL IN BETHESDA MARYLAND. SOME MAY THINK THAT THINGS ARE SLIGHTLY RIDICULOUS AND COULD NEVER HAPPEN IN HIGH SCHOOL, BUT IT DOES. READ THIS BOOK TO GET INTO CHILDRENS MINDS FROM WALT WHITMAN HIGH SCHOOL. THIS IS WHAT REALLY HAPPENS.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2006

    Read it!

    As a recent high school graduate, I completely related to the stories of the students whom Alexandra Robbins follows in this book. Thanks to the author, I now realize that I am not the only teen who struggles with the incredibly high demands of today¿s society, and I feel more at ease with myself because of that. I strongly recommend this book to everyone, especially parents and students. (I am making my mom read this book now that I am done!) It¿s a fun, easy read that just might change you-and your child's life-forever. Fantastic job, Alexandra Robbins!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2006

    thank you miss robbins!

    this book was so good. after i read it i gave it to my parents so they could see that high school isn't like it was when they were kids. it's really different now, and my friends and i get so stressed over everything related to it. i loved the way the characters told their stories. i wish i could meet them in real life!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2006

    This is AMAZING. Seriously, I LOVED it.

    Alexandra Robbins blew me away with this book. I was taken in by the kids she followed, both outraged at some of what they had to go through, but captivated by their personalities. Ms. Robbins makes her points with style and class in an impressive, quick, story-driven read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2006

    This is the bomb! Lovin' this book!

    Fun, funny, and sad, all at once. I like the character Frank!!!!! He's tight, in a not-quite-cool, but not-quite-dorky way. He could hang with my crew anytime.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2006

    SImply Superb

    I was blown away by this book. It is a powerful, smart read that kept me interested and entertained by the antics and travails of the students. It follows four juniors, three seniors, and one college freshman through a year and change. The kids are sweet and earnest, just trying their best in what has obviously become a messed up education system. Makes me glad I'm not in school anymore, but I enthusiastically recommend this title.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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