The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids

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The bestselling author of Pledged returns with a groundbreaking look at the pressure to achieve faced by America's teens

In Pledged, Alexandra Robbins followed four college girls to produce a riveting narrative that read like fiction. Now, in The Overachievers, Robbins uses the same captivating style to explore how our high-stakes educational culture has spiraled out of control. During the year of her ten-year reunion, Robbins goes back to her high school, where she follows heart-tuggingly likeable students including "AP" Frank, who grapples with horrifying parental pressure to succeed; Audrey, whose panicked perfectionism overshadows her life; Sam, who worries his years of overachieving will be wasted if he doesn't attend a name-brand college; Taylor, whose ambition threatens her popular girl status; and The Stealth Overachiever, a mystery junior who flies under the radar.

Robbins tackles teen issues such as intense stress, the student and teacher cheating epidemic, sports rage, parental guilt, the black market for study drugs, and a college admissions process so cutthroat that students are driven to suicide and depression because of a B.

With a compelling mix of fast-paced narrative and fascinating investigative journalism, The Overachievers aims both to calm the admissions frenzy and to expose its escalating dangers.
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Hachette Books
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Published on
Aug 8, 2006
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Education / Counseling / Academic Development
Education / Student Life & Student Affairs
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In a smart, entertaining, reassuring book that reads like fiction, Alexandra Robbins manages to cross Gossip Girl with Freaks and Geeks and explain the fascinating psychology and science behind popularity and outcasthood. She reveals that the things that set students apart in high school are the things that help them stand out later in life.

Robbins follows seven real people grappling with the uncertainties of high school social life, including:
The Loner, who has withdrawn from classmates since they persuaded her to unwittingly join her own hate club The Popular Bitch, a cheerleading captain both seduced by and trapped within her clique's perceived prestige The Nerd, whose differences cause students to laugh at him and his mother to needle him for not being "normal" The New Girl, determined to stay positive as classmates harass her for her mannerisms and target her because of her race The Gamer, an underachiever in danger of not graduating, despite his intellect and his yearning to connect with other students The Weird Girl, who battles discrimination and gossipy politics in school but leads a joyous life outside of it The Band Geek, who is alternately branded too serious and too emo, yet annually runs for class presidentIn the middle of the year, Robbins surprises her subjects with a secret challenge--experiments that force them to change how classmates see them.

Robbins intertwines these narratives--often triumphant, occasionally heartbreaking, and always captivating--with essays exploring subjects like the secrets of popularity, being excluded doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you, why outsiders succeed, how schools make the social scene worse--and how to fix it.

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth is not just essential reading for students, teachers, parents, and anyone who deals with teenagers, but for all of us, because at some point in our lives we've all been on the outside looking in.
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