The Overachievers by Alexandra Robbins
The Secret Lives of Driven Kids

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Synopsis

The bestselling author of Pledged returns with a groundbreaking look at the pressure to achieve faced by America's teens

In Pledged, Alexandra Robbins followed four college girls to produce a riveting narrative that read like fiction. Now, in The Overachievers, Robbins uses the same captivating style to explore how our high-stakes educational culture has spiraled out of control. During the year of her ten-year reunion, Robbins goes back to her high school, where she follows heart-tuggingly likeable students including "AP" Frank, who grapples with horrifying parental pressure to succeed; Audrey, whose panicked perfectionism overshadows her life; Sam, who worries his years of overachieving will be wasted if he doesn't attend a name-brand college; Taylor, whose ambition threatens her popular girl status; and The Stealth Overachiever, a mystery junior who flies under the radar.

Robbins tackles teen issues such as intense stress, the student and teacher cheating epidemic, sports rage, parental guilt, the black market for study drugs, and a college admissions process so cutthroat that students are driven to suicide and depression because of a B.

With a compelling mix of fast-paced narrative and fascinating investigative journalism, The Overachievers aims both to calm the admissions frenzy and to expose its escalating dangers.
 

About Alexandra Robbins

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Robbins, a contributing editor at Mademoiselle, is a journalist who has written for such publications as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, Salon, and Time Digital.
 
Published August 8, 2006 by Hachette Books. 456 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Young Adult, Parenting & Relationships, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Overachievers

Kirkus Reviews

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Sandwiched between these repetitive and minutely detailed profiles are some informative, short pieces on the deleterious impact of No Child Left Behind, issues with SAT testing, the problematic ranking of colleges and universities by U.S. News & World Report, the obsession with Ivy League and oth...

Aug 08 2006 | Read Full Review of The Overachievers: The Secret...

The New York Times

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The college chase dominates the lives of high school students.

Aug 06 2006 | Read Full Review of The Overachievers: The Secret...

Publishers Weekly

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In this engrossing anthropological study of the cult of overachieving that is prevalent in many middle- and upper-class schools, Robbins (Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities ) follows the lives of students from a Bethesda, Md., high school as they navigate the SAT and college application process.

May 22 2006 | Read Full Review of The Overachievers: The Secret...

Entertainment Weekly

EW.com Entertainment Weekly Home TV Movies Music Books Family Style CapeTown TV Recaps American Idol Oscars 2013 Grammys 2013 Subscri...

Aug 04 2006 | Read Full Review of The Overachievers: The Secret...

PopMatters

Bethesda, Maryland’s Walt Whitman High School is one of the highest-achieving public schools in the United States, where many students go on to Ivy League schools.

Aug 28 2006 | Read Full Review of The Overachievers: The Secret...

BellaOnline

Other subjects brought to life as case studies include Ryland, “the slacker”, Taylor, “the popular girl”, Julie, “the superstar”, Sam “the teacher's pet”, Audrey, “The perfectionist”, and a mysterious student known as “The stealth overachiever”.

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BellaOnline

Though late in the book when she admits her own secret – that she, too, was/is an overachiever – Alexandra Robbins proves early on in “The OverAchievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids” that she not only understands but also empathizes with those young students who are pulled, pushed, or acciden...

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People

We fret over "AP Frank" (he aced 16 AP courses), whose mom sits behind him while he studies and slaps him on the head if his attention seems to wander.

Aug 14 2006 | Read Full Review of The Overachievers: The Secret...

HSJ

The entire process of college admissions can be—and indeed is—stressful for all high school students.

Mar 12 2012 | Read Full Review of The Overachievers: The Secret...

Reader Rating for The Overachievers
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