"Cross Gossip Girl with Freaks and Geeks and MTV's MADE, a shocking plot twist, and Alexandra Robbins' signature investigative style -- and that only begins to describe Geeks, a smart, entertaining, reassuring book about the secrets of students who are popular and the triumph of those who are not. Robbins follows seven real people grappling with the uncertainties of high school social life, including:
- Danielle, the Loner, who has withdrawn from classmates since they persuaded her to unwittingly join her own hate club
- Whitney, the Popular Bitch, a cheerleading captain both seduced by and trapped within her clique's perceived prestige
- Eli, the Nerd, whose differences cause students to laugh at him, and his mother to needle him for not being 'normal'
- Joy, the New Girl, determined to stay positive as classmates harass her for her mannerisms and target her because of her race
- Mark, the Gamer, an underachiever in danger of not graduating, despite his intellect and his yearning to connect with other students
- Regan, the Weird Girl, who battles discrimination and gossipy politics in school but leads a joyous life outside of it
- Noah, the Band Geek, who is alternately branded too serious and too emo, yet annually runs for class president
"Robbins intertwines these narratives -- often victorious, occasionally heartbreaking, and always captivating -- with essays exploring subjects like:
- How do you get to be popular?
- 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.
Table of Contents:
- Chapter 1: Meet the Cafeteria Fringe
- Chapter 2: Quirk Theory and the Secret of Popularity
- Chapter 3: Why Are Popular People Mean?
- Chapter4: In the Shadow of the Freak Tree
- Chapter 5: It's Good to Be the Cafeteria Fringe
- Chapter 6: Challenges
- Chapter 7: Misperceptions
- Chapter 8: A Brief Introduction to Group Psychology
- Chapter 9: Why Labels Stick: The Motivations of the Normal Police
- Chapter 10: Changing Perceptions
- Chapter 11: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
- Chapter 12: Popularity Doesn't Lead to Happiness
- Chapter 13: The Rise of the Cafeteria Fringe
- Chapter 14: Cafeteria Fringe: Lucky and Free
Brilliant, sometimes painful, but on the whole inspiring and provocative. An absolute must-read for (among others) anyone who still struggles from time to time with their own adolescent-outcast demons at the same time they're trying to help their own child start to navigate the same shark-infested waters. Not that I'd know anything about this personally, mind you.