Seventeen-year-old David Ellison and his fellow Oak Fields Prep classmates are expected to apply to nearby Stanford and the Ivies. His parents have even hired an independent consultant, or “college narrative coach,” to help with the process. As the star in his school’s stage adaptation of The Great Gatsby, David would rather attend Juilliard. If only his college choice were his only problem. He’s never questioned his two-year relationship with smart, attractive Ellen until he has to share a kissing scene with sexy new student Vanessa, who also has a secret past.

Author Coert Voorhees recreates the turmoil of high school and the allure of drama as David tries to decide which side is stronger in the love triangle he’s entered. In this first-person narration, punctuated with snappy dialogue and plenty of angst, the perplexed teen grapples with success (or perhaps his own fantasies) and honesty (or perhaps the truth others want to hear). Instead of playing another role and simply becoming a character, he begins to experience the intensity of life firsthand.

Adding a layer of mystery to this realistic novel are the titillating bulletin board attacks signed by “The Artist.” No one is immune from his (or her) outing of posers, fakes and liars throughout the school. Students who have studied F. Scott Fitzgerald will find similar themes, especially concerning the future we create for ourselves. Teens, whether or not Gatsby fans, will enjoy pondering David’s dilemmas and the series of choices he makes along the way.

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