Headlong by Kathe Koja

November 5, 2008 at 6:25 pm Leave a comment

headlong

Where do our leaders come from? There are some who are privileged from birth and feel that they are, indeed, the best – these are the sons and daughters who are educated in private academies and then go on to the Ivies. Is this not their birthright?

Lily is a sophomore at Vaughn, one of the turreted havens for the rich. Academically and socially, she and her cohorts check their grade averages several times per day. But wait – this citadel also opens its doors to a few gifted public school students and gives them scholarships. They, too, then rub shoulders in this heady atmosphere. One such recipient is Hazel, a girl from a city ghetto. The blond elite from Vaughn do not overawe Hazel. The group snobbery or the faculty that transfixes Lily doesn’t intimidate this gifted outsider. It appears Hazel is a lot more savvy about art and literature than the students at Vaughn. She can talk about Modigliani and she has actually read J. D. Salinger. Lily feels an enormous camaraderie with Hazel and thereby becomes estranged from the other students and her parents. The rest of the book covers her feelings and doubts about staying at Vaughn. By the conclusion, however, Hazel returns to her former high school and Lily stays put at Vaughn. This is an interesting book about the search every teen must make to find out who she is and where she fits in. It is about friendships, belonging, mother/daughter relationships, boyfriends, and growing up. More questions than answers remain to be resolved. Recommended by Lily Hecker, Pelham.

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