Book Review: “Party School”


Zoe Marquez, Editor

As the year concludes and my sophomore year comes to an end, I have begun to think more and more about my future, in particular, college. Though I realize I still have time to think about where I will be attending, I also begin to see the pressures on what school is considered “good” and which is considered “bad” as well as if I will be able to find a comfort-ability on my own in contrast to that of high school.

“Party School,” a relatable coming-of-age novel that tackles the topics of high school relationships, the prejudices against certain schools and the change of an empathetic character as he embarks on a new journey. The story perfectly captures the purgatory in between being a kid in high school and an “adult” starting college. Author Jon Hart, author of “Man versus Ball: One Ordinary Guy and His Extraordinary Sports Adventures,” transitions from his non-fiction writing to his first novel with “Party School.”

Dylan Mills, the main character of the novel is shown to struggle to find a sense of belonging and community after many years of both academic and personal pressures. Being a senior in high school, Mills faces other kids in his class craving the acceptance of “it,” or a popular and desired, school’s. Mills, being an average student, not necessarily rich and not an avid partyer does not particularly fit in with other students of his school. The only thing that Mills believes that he got right through the course of his life is his girlfriend Rosemary. 

As Mills decides to transition from his high school to the infamous Party School, known for being a small town school with oppositely big fuss. Rosemary, being like many of her classmates, desires being accepted into an “it” school and when Mills attends Party School she becomes embarrassed. The novel navigates the straining relationship, life changing decisions and more all with an underlying message life is what you make of it.  

Hart is able to convey a sympathetic, humorous and a sense of authenticity as he does not sugarcoat the difficulties in one of the most difficult transitions in one’s life. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone faced with my same thoughts and/or anyone looking for an enjoyable and good-paced book.