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Better Than Yesterday
     

Better Than Yesterday

4.0 18
by Robyn Schneider
 

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At the elite Hilliard Preparatory School, the competition is fierce, the gossip is worse, and Blake Dorsey has just arrived back on campus after an unexplained two-year absence.

Skylar Banks has a hunch Blake's in trouble. Skylar's the most likely candidate for valedictorian, but she's no stranger to tricky situations herself. She's got a reputation for taking her

Overview

At the elite Hilliard Preparatory School, the competition is fierce, the gossip is worse, and Blake Dorsey has just arrived back on campus after an unexplained two-year absence.

Skylar Banks has a hunch Blake's in trouble. Skylar's the most likely candidate for valedictorian, but she's no stranger to tricky situations herself. She's got a reputation for taking her relationships straight from JV to varsity, and that rep is about to catch up with her.

Charley Morton doesn't have time for Blake's problems—not if he plans to get into Harvard like his parents expect, or to win over his dream girl (a.k.a. Skylar). But then Blake takes off for New York City, and Charley, Skylar, and her roommate, Marissa, have no choice but to risk their perfect transcripts to find him. It's a journey that will change the way they see each other— and themselves—forever.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Robyn Schneider’s smart and witty coming-of-age story has it all: friendship, school pranks, fashion and first love. . . . I read it all in one sitting!”—Sarah Mlynowski, author of Bras & Broomsticks
Children's Literature - Denise Daley
High school can be complicated for everyone, even the smart kids. Skylar is an extremely intelligent and sexy high school senior who is trying to live down the reputation that she mistakenly made for herself. Charley is a competitive seventeen-year-old boy who feels guilty when he isn't studying. They meet up with several other old friends at Hilliard Preparatory School. Some of the group has changed for the better; others have changed for the worse. Skylar, Charley, and another friend sneak off campus and travel to New York City in order to locate Blake, a troubled member of their small group who may be headed down a dangerous road. Together, the four friends come of age in this young adult novel that dabbles with issues of teenage sex, prescription drug and alcohol abuse, unreasonable parental expectations, and college and career choices. The story is well written and provides a fascinating account of the common problems that confront most teenagers, regardless of their socioeconomic class.
KLIATT - Myrna Marler
YA novels frequently use a journey as a vehicle for the protagonist's exploration and maturation. In this case, the protagonists, four friends, don't go far: from their upper-crust private school, Hilliard Academy, to the streets of New York. One of their group, Blake, mysteriously disappeared after his freshman year, then reappeared in his senior year. Yet, he is troubled and in spite of his happy-go-lucky manner he is in emotional turmoil. Soon he ditches school and heads for parties in the Big Apple. His friends—Skylar, "the school slut"; Charlie, "the school grind"; and Marissa, "the school nerd"—quickly risk their academic standing to find and reclaim him. They do this by scoping out various parties on the New York City college scene, all while staying in a luxury hotel. In the process, Skylar shows she is brilliant and courageous and not slutty at all. Charlie comes out from under the thumb of his dominating father, and both Skylar and Charlie come to appreciate Marissa's uniqueness. Skylar and Charlie take turns as the narrative voice, and each is distinctive and amusing. The book is rife with cultural allusions to shopping icons such as Prada, iPods, and Sex and the City. This is life among the pubescent wealthy and worldly. The themes are friendship and independence. Sexual liaisons and drugs and drinking are a humming undertone but never depicted in the manner of, say, Prep. In the end, all is well and all four are headed to the colleges of their choice. It's not deep, but this is an escape novel with a message.
Kirkus Reviews
Two prep-school friends cope with changes and difficulties as they attend summer session before their senior year. Skylar and Charlie have always competed for valedictorian. They're nearly equal, but Skylar comes by her success easily, while Charlie struggles to please his demanding parents, who have mapped out his life without consulting his own wishes. When their dissolute friend Blake disappears, the two rivals, with Skylar's good-girl roommate Melissa, take off to New York City to find him, without notifying their school. Eventually, they find more than they were seeking. Written in alternating chapters from Skylar and Charlie's points of view, the narrative seems a bit confusing at first, as the two teens speak with nearly identical voices. Once the plot thickens, however, this debut moves along at a nice clip. Newcomer Schneider understands her characters' quirks and insecurities. Young readers should find it entertaining and satisfying. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385733465
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
08/12/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

1.

Skylar: Out, Out Damned Spotlight

Convocation was supposed to start at noon, and because the chapel didn’t have air-conditioning and the gym was, well, a gym, the ceremony was set up on the grass out in Hamilton Quad with a makeshift stage and lots of white folding chairs.

But I wasn’t sitting in the folding chairs with the rest of my classmates and their pastel-clad parents. I was on the stage, unfortunately trying to keep everyone in the front row from getting a free peep show (okay, thong), and wishing I’d worn a longer skirt. I was the senior honoree, which was supposedly a Very Big Deal, because it meant I was ranked first in the incoming senior class and was getting tapped as the most likely candidate for valedictorian. Senior honoree was always a boy, and my presence on that stage, never mind the length of my skirt, was an unknown variable that many students were eagerly trying to solve.

Actually, the first-ranked boy in my class was Charley Morton, and I would have rather let him sit on the stage and take the award. I didn’t want it. It was probably going to be a certificate. Hilliard Preparatory School couldn’t have come up with something useful, like a gift card to Barnes & Noble? Or a Prada bag?

I glanced at the girl who was sitting on my left, this junior I’d never spoken to in my life, and said, “What do you think’s the holdup? This ceremony is taking longer than a download of Janice Weiner’s blog.”

Random fact: Janice Weiner (presumably drunk at the time, though I shudder to guess her intentions if she had been sober) had posted half a dozen “lingerie model” pics of herself on her blog over spring break of our junior year. Someone saw them in her blog and sent the link as a mass email to everyone with an @Hilliard.edu e-mail account. Such a scandal.

The girl I’d spoken to didn’t say anything, so I sat there staring at my watch for the next three minutes until the first curl of music drifted through the quad. Some assholes, the same reckless upperclassmen who thought it was terrifically witty to hoot in assembly during the year, clapped and yelled in approval. The marching band, in their stiff white uniforms, traveled slowly forward as they blared the school song sans words.

As the band played, the door to Lerner Hall opened and the faculty who were staying on for summer session poured out in their ceremonial robes, caps and hoods, which were probably still dirty from commencement two weeks ago. Mr. Bloom’s robe definitely had a stain on the right shoulder. I wanted to give him a bar of soap and a squirt bottle of Febreze, then explain the difference.

Everyone’s parents shifted in their seats so they could see the colors on each teacher’s hood and determine whether or not they approved of the degree, school, and major. Most of the students watched the faculty procession for a different reason: to see which teachers weren’t doing summer session, and to see which teachers were new.

As if the information wasn’t on the school Web site or in the crinkled programs on their laps.

As Headmaster Bell welcomed the “esteemed guests, distinguished faculty, and current Hilliard students” to the first day of summer session, I totally couldn’t focus. It was so hot out, and everyone was staring at the stage, which meant that

Contention 1: They were staring in my general direction, so
Subpoint A: Chances were some of them were staring at me,
Subpoint B: They could see up my skirt, and
Subpoint C: They knew I was senior honoree.

Well, why shouldn’t they know? I mean, I’d freaked when I found out about it, because I hadn’t been trying to beat out Charley Morton or anything. It just happened. Like the whole eighties revival thing.

One day I was invisible, totally under the class rank radar and off everyone’s secret hit lists of who they were going to blame next year if they didn’t get into Princeton early decision. Then my mom got the letter in the mail. She almost didn’t find it. We get a whole tub of mail a day, which the postman absolutely loves, because Mom is a literary agent and we’re always getting manuscripts sent to the house. Tucked underneath a batch of query letters was an envelope with the Hilliard school crest.

Basically I was screwed. Everyone who put two and two together and got 4.0 today would realize that I had beat them out. Me. The girl who’d supposedly calculated the exact obtuse angle to which she spread her legs (more about that scandal later). Suddenly I would be their biggest threat. It was laughable, and what hurt me most was that I couldn’t deny the absurdity of the whole affair.

Finally Headmaster Bell ended his long-winded obey-the-rules-and-welcome-to-summer-session spiel and invited the quiet junior girl to sing the national anthem.

Polite clapping. She minced up to the lectern and planted her scuffed black flats with the toes against the wood, ruining them even more. Everyone stood up and placed their hand over their heart.

The same boys who had hooted earlier made whooping yells after she sand the words “land of the free” and I rolled my eyes. God. I was so ready for college.

After she finished with all those show-offy voice curls that the girls who never win on American Idol do, the girl sat down and an a cappella quartet led us in singing the school song, which I mouthed absently, a knot of nervousness in my stomach.

Bell took the lectern again. He had something in his hands. A certificate, big surprise. I tried to pay attention, but the heat was making my eyeliner smear, and my ass cheeks had formed covalent bonds with the chair. I wondered if my lack of focus meant I was going crazy, or if it was just too hot to concentrate.

Mental Parliamentary Debate number one:
Skylar Banks is going crazy–Discuss.
Prime Minister: She cannot concentrate. Therefore, she is crazy.
Leader of the Opposition: She is stressed out and being stared at, so the lack of concentration is due to nerves.

“This student served as the copy editor of the Hilliard Howler. She is one of the senior class’s sixty-five National Merit Scholars and last year’s Policy Debate state semifinalist. This year’s senior honoree, from Tarrytown, New York, Skylar Banks.”

I stood up, gave my skirt a good yank into place, then tottered over to the lectern on my mint green Miu Miu espadrilles and shook Bell’s hand.

People clapped, but that still didn’t drown out the sounds of half the student body whispering furiously–about me. I caught a glimpse of my parents in the front near Alison Forsyth, my sworn enemy. I privately thought she was the highlight of the ceremony, because I’d heard her complain earlier, “Omigod, I’m so bored I could shoot myself in the head with a knife.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Robyn Schneider grew up in Orange County, California, and is a student at Barnard College of Columbia University. She began writing Better than Yesterday, her debut novel, when she was in high school.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Better Than Yesterday 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Frank16FR More than 1 year ago
Save your money--you really don't want to buy this book. The tone is nothing but pretentious and the characters are completely unbelievable. The references the author made will date the book, and it's probably dated already. If you're keen on this sort of fiction, stick with GOSSIP GIRL--you'll be glad you did.
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Four friends together again in summer session at boarding school. Can you even imagine the adventures?

Skylar, Marissa, Charley, and Blake are seventeen. It's the summer before their senior year. They are moving into Hilliard Preparatory School for the summer session. They spent summer session their freshman year together and are hoping to relive those great times.

However, things have changed. Skylar regrets her freshman experience learning about "love" from Blake's older brother, Kyle. It wasn't really a boost for her reputation. Charley's always had a crush on Skylar, but figured it was hands-off because of Blake. Blake's parents have recently shocked him by announcing the news that they've lost their fortune. Marissa, as Skylar's conservative roommate, is about to risk it all to save another.

It's a learning experience for everyone. There's learning about real love and the bonds of friendship. There's discovering the courage to stand up for what one believes, even if that means defying the wishes and dreams of parents. All four characters live life to the fullest during this last summer together. Despite their crazy and often unwise adventures, their story is filled with positive life lessons many teen readers will relate to and many adult readers will remember.

Robyn Schneider has written a winner. Her characters are believable even if you didn't attend boarding school. She entertains with typical high-risk teen behavior, but she adds the important lessons we all want to communicate to our children. Readers should definitely give Schneider a try and be on the lookout for what she serves up next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's because the book's already out in hardback! But the book sounds really cool. I admire the plot idea.
Guest More than 1 year ago
umm how could u read it in one day when it hasnt come out yet? just wondering cuz it does sound good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Four friends together again in summer session at boarding school. Can you even imagine the adventures? Skylar, Marissa, Charley, and Blake are seventeen. It's the summer before their senior year. They are moving into Hilliard Preparatory School for the summer session. They spent summer session their freshman year together and are hoping to relive those great times. However, things have changed. Skylar regrets her freshman experience learning about 'love' from Blake's older brother, Kyle. It wasn't really a boost for her reputation. Charley's always had a crush on Skylar, but figured it was hands-off because of Blake. Blake's parents have recently shocked him by announcing the news that they've lost their fortune. Marissa, as Skylar's conservative roommate, is about to risk it all to save another. It's a learning experience for everyone. There's learning about real love and the bonds of friendship. There's discovering the courage to stand up for what one believes, even if that means defying the wishes and dreams of parents. All four characters live life to the fullest during this last summer together. Despite their crazy and often unwise adventures, their story is filled with positive life lessons many teen readers will relate to and many adult readers will remember. Robyn Schneider has written a winner. Her characters are believable even if you didn¿t attend boarding school. She entertains with typical high-risk teen behavior, but she adds the important lessons we all want to communicate to our children. Readers should definitely give Schneider a try and be on the lookout for what she serves up next. **Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka 'Readingjunky'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was the best. I didnt want to put it down. I found it from a friend and she let me borrow it. One of the best books I read so far.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very good! The plot takes an interesting turn and the characters have a depth about them that makes you want to keep reading! I really enjoyed this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing.i read the whole thing in one day. i loved the way the book was romanitc, funny, and down to earth. It was like some of the things in this book could actually come true. the way Robyn Scneider wrote 'Better than yesterday'. I would definately read other books by her.