“You can’t just be the smartest. You have to be the most athletic, you have to be able to have the most fun, you have to be the prettiest, the best dressed, the nicest, the most wanted. You have to constantly be out on the town partying, and then you have to get straight As. And most of all, you have to appear to be happy.” – CJ, age seventeen
New York Times Editors’ Choice. People Magazine Critics’ Choice. People Magazine 4/4 stars. Heartsongs Award (for “contributions to the mental health of children and young adults.”) American School Board Journal Notable Book in Education, 2006/ “must-read” of 2006
I couldn’t get enough of it. ’The Overachievers’ is part soap opera, part social treatise… I was so hooked on their stories that I wanted to vote for my favorite contestant at the end of every chapter… It reads like very good young adult fiction, thanks to its winning cast, its surprising plot twists and its pushy parents…
Robbins is also a good writer, and she must be a good listener, because she more than delivers on the promise of ‘secret lives’ in the subtitles… At the end of the book, Robbins offers sensible suggestions for reform… Robbins gets the big picture right.
Impossible to put down.
Quick and riveting.
A must-read …. I found myself devouring ‘The Overachievers’ in two days, more eagerly than I might an actual novel…. ‘The Overachievers’ is perfect for anyone agonizing his or her way through high school and beyond. Robbins brilliantly captures the thoughts and feelings of a generation pushed to excel while offering insight for turning this pervasive and potentially harmful drive into positive motivation.
Robbins deftly assimilated herself into the environment she sought to study. Few authors have written with such clarity and poignancy about the teen experience today. It’s clear the students Robbins follows trusted her….Writers twice her age have plenty to learn from her exhaustive reportage and sharp insight…. Robbins gets it all right. Our society would be smart to listen.
Robbins’ book is structured like the movie “Fame,” if “Fame” had been filmed as a PBS documentary. She gives us in-depth looks into the lives of a group of highly personable teenagers.
Engrossing …. The portraits of the teens are compelling and make for an easy read. Robbins provides a series of critiques of the system, including college rankings, parental pressure, the meaninglessness of standardized testing and the push for A.P. classes. She ends with a call to action, giving suggestions on how to alleviate teens’ stress and panic at how far behind they feel.
Interspersed with the compelling, novel-like narratives of each teen’s hectic life are revealing looks into the issues these students face….. Highly recommended.