Surviving High School

( 57 )

Overview

What's the secret to surviving your freshman year of high school?

Emily Kessler thinks she has it all figured out. She eats, sleeps and trains for competitive swimming. All she has to do is keep her grades high and swim times short — short enough to live up to her sister Sara's. But walking the crowded maze of unfamiliar high school hallways is like diving headfirst into shark-infested waters. Shark #1: Dominique, her biggest competition on the swim team and all-around mean ...

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Surviving High School

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Overview

What's the secret to surviving your freshman year of high school?

Emily Kessler thinks she has it all figured out. She eats, sleeps and trains for competitive swimming. All she has to do is keep her grades high and swim times short — short enough to live up to her sister Sara's. But walking the crowded maze of unfamiliar high school hallways is like diving headfirst into shark-infested waters. Shark #1: Dominique, her biggest competition on the swim team and all-around mean girl. Shark #2: The adorable and popular Ben Kale... Emily can't resist his smile no matter how hard she tries. When the pressure builds to the point where Emily isn't sure she can stay afloat, she begins to question the strict path her life has always followed.

Maybe there is more to life than studying and swimming. Maybe the secret to surviving high school is just to have a little fun.

The hit mobile game Surviving High School comes to life in an original novel about perfection, failure, and following your dreams.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This novel by screenwriter Doty (who is also the game-writer for the Electronic Arts mobile game the book is inspired by) follows the trials and temptations of high school freshman Emily Kessler in the months following the death of her older sister, Sara, in a car accident. A competitive swimmer and top student like Sara, Emily follows the strict diet, exercise, and sleep regime set forth by her domineering coach (and father), a former Olympian. Narrative tension builds as Emily’s longing to satisfy her father competes with her desire for normal teenage experiences, heightened by her growing awareness that Sara kept many secrets from her—like a boyfriend. An engaging cast of supporting characters includes Emily’s best friend Kimi, who makes pro/con spreadsheets of her crushes; Dominique, Emily’s nemesis and chief competitor both in and out of the pool; and Ben Kale, a popular bad boy with a good heart, whose unexpected interest in Emily upends her world. Although the conclusion resolves conflicts too tidily, Doty’s story is a fast-paced, entertaining read. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
SLJ
"The story moves along at a compulsively readable pace. Teens will want to clear their calendars after they start this one."
From the Publisher
"Snappy dialogue [and] adorable chemistry..."—Kirkus

"The story moves along at a compulsively readable pace. Teens will want to clear their calendars after they start this one."—SLJ

SLJ
The story moves along at a compulsively readable pace. Teens will want to clear their calendars after they start this one.
Kirkus Reviews
A flimsy, frothy and fraught chronicle of freshman year. Until her fatal car accident, Emily's sister Sara was The Machine, known for her dedication to a punishing fitness regimen and her peerless skill as a swimmer. Emily worshiped Sara, and she's continued her efforts to live up to her late sister's legacy by embracing an 8,000-calorie daily diet, a strict sleep schedule and daily three-hour training sessions with her dad, the obsessive and demanding coach of her high school's swim team. Emily's schedule leaves no time for a social life outside of nightly instant messaging and a monthly sleepover with best friend Kimi. And romance, even with puckishly appealing senior Ben? Out of the question. Her intense rivalry--in and out of the water--with teammate Dominique soon prompts Emily to sneak out to attend Ben's latest party, where romantic sparks fly. Cheating on her sleep schedule to spend time with Ben and happy for the first time, Emily questions her commitment to swimming and learns that Sara, too, had a secret love life. It all culminates in two clichéd confrontations with Coach Dad. The charms of Emily's story--snappy dialogue, adorable chemistry--can't buoy the soggy clichés of maniacal Coach Dad, too-perfect teachers and a thoroughly unbelievable final competition. Inessential. (Fiction. 12-16)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Emily is starting high school, but unlike other students whose main concern might be fitting in, she hopes to spend her freshman year avoiding the boy who killed her sister in a car accident. Her schedule is regimented with honors classes, grueling swim practices, and sleep. Without time for social events and dating, Emily is dubbed "Swimbot" by her swimming rival and tormentor, Dominique. After a magazine publishes an article about Emily's quest to continue her sister's swimming legacy, her social stock suddenly soars. Her budding crush on Ben becomes more attainable and, as the students get to know her, she finds a new fan base that improves her swimming. However, her father, also her coach, becomes suspicious as her performance starts to fade due to secret late-night dates. When he finally catches her, she loses any chance she may have to maintain a normal social life and her new romance with Ben. After learning the truth about Sara's accident, Emily decides to abandon her father's regimen and her goal of competing in Junior Nationals. Despite some one-dimensional secondary characters and a couple of plot inconsistencies, the story moves along at a compulsively readable pace. Teens will want to clear their calendars after they start this one.Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316220156
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Series: Surviving High School Series , #1
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 294,060
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

M. Doty is an award-winning screenwriter, game-writer and novelist. For the last six years, M. Doty has worked as a writer for Electronic Arts' hit mobile game, Surviving High School.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 57 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(46)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 25, 2012

    A story that's not particularly lengthy, but full of a wealth of

    A story that's not particularly lengthy, but full of a wealth of emotion, Surviving High School is proof that size sometimes doesn't matter.

    Surviving High School tricked me. When I saw that it was based on a game, and contains a mere two hundred, eleven pages, I thought it would be sort of a "fluff" book. A book that skims the surface, nice, but never digging too deep. Boy, was I wrong.

    Surviving High School centers around Emily, a girl who is beginning high school in the shadow of her newly deceased sister. Since her sister, Sara's death, Emily has been pushed into her role: model student, perfect athlete, quiet daughter. She even eats and trains exactly like her sister did. The other girls on the team? They're not Emily's competition. She's competing against her sister's swim times. It doesn't help that her grieving father is also her swim coach. He pushes and punishes Emily to the very edge, not realizing what a loose grip she has. When Emily becomes involved with a boy from school, and realizes she wants a life outside of the pool and the constraints, she begins to unravel. How long will it takes her perfect life to fall completely apart? And does she even want to save it?

    Surviving High School was very nicely written. The third person narrative, and the manner in which the story is told gave me the sense of watching the story unfold from above. Sometimes that doesn't work for me, but in this case it was nice. Emily's emotions were conveyed so simply, yet strong enough that I didn't feel disengaged.

    I find it very interesting that the story, and subsequent series is based on a game. I'm curious as to how it plays out, and I may even buy it for myself. I would love to talk to someone who has actually played it. The next book in the series, How to Be a Star, is based on Emily's best friend Kimi, who is an absolute riot. I'm definitely interested in reading that book as well.

    Surprisingly thoughtful and full of depth, yet fun, Surviving High School is a book that I can recommend to adults and teens.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 4, 2012

    I found this book through the game (I play the Free version on m

    I found this book through the game (I play the Free version on my iPhone). At first I wasn't sure about diving into the world through a new character (Emily), but I was able to really relate to her. She's a sweet girl starting out at a new school as a high school freshman. She holds herself to really high expectations in everything that she does, from academics to her really aggressive training schedule--she's training to be an Olympic swimmer. The pressures on her are really deeply drawn: Her dad is her coach, her sister was on her way to breaking tons of records before she died in a terrible car crash. Emily feels like she needs to live up to her sister's reputation and in a sense, live for her sister now that she's gone.

    You might expect a story like that to feel kind of bleak, but it was actually filled with excitement. I think this in large part thanks to the fun characters. Ben Kale, Emily's crush, is a party guy and prankster who isn't afraid of breaking the rules. Emily's best friend, Kimi, is super aware of popularity and has very unique ways of looking at high school, some of which include spreadsheets of how popular or dateable the guys are.

    I really loved this book, particularly the ending. I cried when I played the episodes leading up to the novel (for anyone who hasn't played the game, the last few episodes chronologically before the start of the novel show Sara's life and the real story behind how she died) and I teared up at the end of this novel too.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens next for Emily in the game! It was fun to see everyone from the game in the novel, and now I'm looking forward to seeing the characters from the novel back in the game to see what happens next in their story. I don't want to say any spoilers about the end of the book, so that's all I'll say.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    ..........

    I really loved this book! I finished it in about an hour and a half, but it was worth it! Cant wait for book two!!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    This book was very addictive. I finished in around 2-3 hours. Em

    This book was very addictive. I finished in around 2-3 hours. Emily Kessler and Ben Kale are a match made in heaven!! Plus the storyline really teaches about how you want to live your life. Since I'm a freshman in high school as well, I could see what Emily was going through. 

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Please: the rating is for the language

    Please do not use bad language when writing reviews. I would appreciate it instead if you just simply said you dislike the book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    A girl

    She sits by a tree.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    Kiekeh

    Walks in

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Rick to kiki

    R u here

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    Tsubaki to jake

    Hello?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    Ambet

    Ur a bitc*

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2014

    S

    Im at 3

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2014

    Annie

    I am two.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Mary clair

    Im sorry but rember you were despreate and asked guys for s.ex and i bet u do it even with a husband

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Nova and Glow

    They walk to the next result to talk to Tails.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    Moonstar to tails

    I told the people at locker about it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    Tails

    Hey guys. Glad your here chapter 57 will be ready in a few days but first I need to speak with Nova and Glow in the next res. Please.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    Trying not to get bullied everyday

    My freshman year is so bad right now that i have been getting bullied everyday and it really scares the hell out of me because i am tired of getting my ass getting beat up by other teenager who don't give damn about anything except for themselves. So just wait until my cousin Braxton finds out and yes he will be pissed off. Well go mustangs and we are SE!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    To confessions remake

    Yes, you should continue. But i have one thing to say..
    Las Vegas is in Nevada. XD Seriously, i've been there! ;3

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2013

    Amazing!!!

    Love your story! Can I be a charater?
    Name- Victoria P.
    Looks- A tan girl with short black hair up to her shoulders.
    Traits- Smart, Kind, Shy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    What

    This book is great but anyone no what the person below me meant?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews

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