The Education of Hailey Kendrick
Hailey Kendrick has always done exactly what's expected of her. She has the right friends, dates the right boy, gets good grades, and follows the rules. But one night, Hailey risks everything by breaking a very big rule in a very public way...and with a very unexpected partner in crime. Hailey gets caught, but her accomplice does not, and Hailey takes the fall for both of them. In the process, she loses everything--her best friend, her boyfriend, her popularity, her reputation. But some secrets are worth keeping, no matter the cost...or are they?
Set at Evesham Academy, an ultra-exclusive boarding school in Vermont for the children of celebrities, politicians, CEOs, and the like, Cook's romantic comedy is narrated by a "good girl" senior with a distinctively dry, arch voice. After yet another disappointment from her widowed, absent father, popular student Hailey implodes and sneaks out after curfew, vandalizes a school statue, and gets kissed by her longtime boyfriend Tristan's best friend, Joel, whose identity as her accomplice she keeps secret to protect both his standing at the school as well as Tristan's feelings. Cook (Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood) effectively builds both Hailey's (justified) feelings of rebellion and the social dynamics of her ostracism, especially in her growing friendship with a challenging townie, Drew, who supervises her punishment working with the janitorial staff. After an accident spurs reconciliation between Hailey, her father, and her friends, they rally behind her once again. Though some secondary characters can feel flat, Cook coaxes considerable empathy for the otherwise privileged Hailey as she abandons the achievement treadmill to explore her independence. Ages 14 up.