From the Publisher
“In 1994, Blake Nelson’s seminal coming-of-age text, Girl, introduced us to Andrea Marr, a bright, sensitive, Sassy-era Holden Caulfield for tortured, wannabe-rebel good girls. Nelson’s intimate depiction of Andrea equally unmoored in the grunge clubs of Portland, Oregon, and in her high-school locker room, rocked by teen lust and a desire for independence created a cultish following, the tales of frequent rereadings the stuff of legend. Today, Nelson hooks us up with Andrea in Dream School (Figment), an elite East Coast college, where the exquisite hell of searching for meaning and self rolls on. So clear the weekend and make room in your backpack.”Vanity Fair December 2011
"Dream School is first and foremost an enduring account of what it looks, feels and sounds like to be young."The New York Times
"For a certain ’90s-obsessed set, Blake Nelson’s Dream School is the most anticipated book of the year."The Daily
"I’m almost finished with Dream School and completely enjoying it: Girl heroine Andrea Marr leaves Portland for an East Coast private school, where she carries on being daffily privileged and obsessing about fashion and “coolness” and trying to decide what boys to sleep with and why. It’s a lot of fun."The Portland Mercury
"You guys, it’s really good!"xoJane
"How great is Blake Nelson? Read Girl, then Dream School. We dare you not to love these books."I Heart Daily
"Nelson writes flawlessly in the voice of Andrea Marr, a tainted innocent who's busy negotiating the mixed messages of modern culture."Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone
"In Dream School ... Nelson takes up the voice [of Andrea Marr] without skipping a beat ... it's the missing link between Bret Easton Ellis and Tao Lin."The Stranger
"If you grew up reading Sassy Magazine, you know who Blake Nelson is."BUST Magazine
"The missing link between Bret Easton Ellis and Tao Lin." The Stranger
Read an Excerpt
From Chapter 6 - "Chasing Boys"
The next morning, what a disaster. I woke up and there was Dennis and his huge naked body. His huge naked hairy body. And Marissa just about had a heart attack when she practically stepped on him coming down the ladder. And then when he left she was freaking out: what if she hadn’t had her pajamas on? What about her privacy? What about her boundaries? Things were already strained with her. She had heard about my shower speech, which she probably thought was about her. So now she was convinced I didn’t respect her issues.
After that I didn’t feel like going to brunch. Dennis would be there and everyone would be wondering about that. So I got my Pea Coat and walked down to Dory's Diner by myself. It was a cold walk. It was the last week of February and the snow was dirty and old and bunched up in piles on the edges of the streets.
At Dory's there was a table of Wellington upperclassman in the back and so I sat at a booth in the front and had a milkshake and some eggs. It was good though, I needed a break. Everything was becoming too much. I had been drunk two nights in a row and now I’d spent the night with Dennis and everyone knew about my shower speech. And I wasn’t studying very hard even though my grades were bad and my parents would probably freak out if they knew what I was like here. And I’d been a bad friend to Vanessa and was secretly wishing to be better friends with Carol. It was all so exhausting. I drank my milkshake.
Then Spence walked in. I caught my breath. He didn’t see me at first. He came striding in, undoing his big red coat, blowing on his hands. Then he saw me. He was like, “Andrea?” I looked up at him. “Are you by yourself?” he said. I shrugged. He sat down opposite me. The waiter came and he ordered a cheeseburger deluxe. He took off his coat. He had a beautiful blue sweater underneath it. He was so stylish. Carol would end up with him. It was inevitable. She was the only one cool enough for him.
We talked a little. He ate his burger. I played with the dregs of my milkshake. I didn’t know what to say to him but I was glad he was there. He didn’t say much either. Afterward, he gave me a ride back to campus in his Jetta. That’s when I asked him if he had hung out with Carol more after the beach party. He hadn’t. I said, “You guys are so perfect together.” He looked at me with surprise. So I said: “You know, visually, she’s sort of
but I didn’t know what I meant so I shut up. “Yeah, she’s awesome,” he said, “but you know
” When he said that he looked at me. Like he might like me. It was too weird and probably impossible but it gave me a little shiver up my spine.