The Branston (a.k.a. Brimstone) High School Class of 2001 has got it all: Damon is the jock, Meredith the slut, Jennifer the good girl, David the computer game addict, Kitty the anorexic, Neesha the sistah, Rob the stud, Sheila the lesbian. And Boyd the angry and scared neo-Nazi with an arsenal in his basement and a list of "everybody who ever blew me off, flipped me off, or pissed me off."
Through a series of poetic journal entries from 15 students, author Ron Koertge chronicles the sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and ultimately chilling lives of fictional high school students in contemporary America. With just a few words from each character in each entry, readers glean more than a glimpse into their complex and often troubled worlds. Koertge's characterizations are compelling, if clichéd, although omitting two or three of the student roles might have made keeping up with who's who a little easier. Social messages covering racism, classism, homophobia, and an entire high school melting pot of "isms," come across a little heavy-handedly, but work well as an intentionally pointed illustration of the perils young people face today. Subject matter and language make this appropriate for older readers. Koertge is the author of several acclaimed novels, including Confess-O-Rama. (Older teens) --Emilie Coulter