One of my favorite reasons to read fiction is to get an inside look at experiences I will probably never have myself – such as teaching at an exclusive Manhattan private school and tutoring the children of the super rich. The protagonist of schooled, Anna Taggart is fresh out of college and ready to make a difference in her 7th graders lives with her amazing lesson plans. Soon enough she discovers that the ever present mothers are happier (and send high priced gifts) the less engaged her students are. She is also shocked to find out that most of her student’s work is not actually done by her students, but by high priced tutors like her stylish colleague Randi. And soon enough, she too is lured into the tutoring world…
I enjoyed reading about Anna’s outrageous experiences at school and with the students she taught and tutored – and after seeing episodes of shows like “My sweet 16” I can believe that stuff like kids having Kanye West perform at their “faux mitzvah” really does happen. What struck me while reading was Anna’s singular focus. She does have a couple of friends and her family, but she doesn’t have a boyfriend and never mentions a romantic interest in anyone throughout the whole book – teaching is really her whole life.
The only thing that detracted from this fun novel for me was the way Manhattan tutoring was depicted as all or nothing. Characters were all in and blissfully non-caring about helping students cheat or they were totally against it and despised those who did it. What’s wrong with actually tutoring those who are doing their own work and just want an extra edge? And if you get $250 an hour for it to augment your sad teacher paycheck, all the better.
Schooled is out now in hardcover. I’m giving away my copy (ARC) as part of my November Book Blowout. So if you want it, tell me why you’d like to read it in the comments before November 25th at 9 pm CST. Open internationally.