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THE KIDNEY HYPOTHETICAL

Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 4 years, 10 months ago

19 April 2015 THE KIDNEY HYPOTHETICAL: OR HOW TO RUIN YOUR LIFE IN SEVEN DAYS by Lisa Yee, Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, March 2015, 272p., ISBN: 978-0-545-23094-0

 

“What do you want from life?”

-- The Tubes (1975)

 

“’You think I’m a jerk just because I’m going to Harvard? Wait. Correction. Might go to Harvard.’

“’I think you’re a bourgeoisie jerk for even wanting to go there in the first place. Do you know what kind of people go to places like that?’ Monarch didn’t wait for my answer. ‘Rich people who don’t give a shit about others. Rich people who live off of their daddy’s money, and live in a bubble, and are too scared to stand up for themselves.’

“Clearly this was a sore point for her.

“’Did you take an SAT class?’ she asked.

“I nodded.

“’Did you have a college admissions coach?’

“I nodded.

“’Did you apply to multiple colleges?’

“I nodded.

“’Did you retake your SAT to bring your average up?’

“I nodded.

“’Did your parents pull strings to help you?’

“I nodded.

“’Well?’ she said.”

 

Higgs Boson Bing has looks, charm, grades, extracurriculars, and a hot-looking girlfriend, Roo. He’s taken all of the steps necessary to become the third in his paternal line to attend Harvard in preparation for becoming a family dentist. A week before high school graduation, the only question to be answered seems to be whether he’ll beat out his academic rival and co-valedictorian Zandler Findley for Student of the Year.

 

But then, in the middle of the Senior Cruise, his best friend’s girlfriend (who is also his girlfriend’s best friend) poses a hypothetical question: “Higgs, if Roo needed a kidney, would you give her one of yours?” Higgs’s reaction leads Roo to break up with him. Over the chaotic week that follows, that breakup, and a new friendship with an insightful teen girl who mysteriously lives alone in the woods, unravels a decade’s worth of plans and expectations. Higgs comes to realize that he’s paying a heavy price for going along with the program.

For a fun contemporary teen read, there is a lot to chew on here about the competitiveness of school, attitudes of entitlement, and the motivations behind pursuit of higher education. There is also a lot about friendship. This coming-of-age tale could well have college-bound teens examining their assumptions and digging deeper to discover their passions and interests.

 

Underlying all of these other issues in THE KIDNEY HYPOTHETICAL is the issue of how we unwittingly permit our parents’ hopes, fears, beliefs, habits, and screwed-up behavior to affect the direction we follow in life. It is difficult for teens to simultaneously straddle their parents’ expectations while becoming individuals. Higgs’s engaging story of finding himself while dealing with his family and friends will ring true for many an adolescent reader. The writing style, with quick changes and rapid delivery, is a natural for kids who live at an equivalent pace.

 

Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Pickshttp://richiespicks.pbworks.com

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