Mar 162015

Cover for Owen Matthews' How to Win at High School. A black and white photo of a white boy in sunglasses, backwards hat, and hoodie grinning with his arms around two laughing white girls, all outlined in bright teal with the cover in bright salmon in front of them.Publishers Weekly: Starting his junior year at new school, Adam Higgs is a loser, and he knows it. He barely has any friends, has never been kissed, and has started working at Pizza Hut. After Adam devises a lucrative homework-selling scheme, suddenly he has an adorable girlfriend and is getting invited to the best parties, but this taste of fame and wealth leads him down a path of escalating risk, selling fake IDs and drugs. In chapters often no longer than a few paragraphs, Matthews (who writes adult thrillers as Owen Laukkanen) employs an irreverent narrative that makes it seem as though readers are seeing Adam through the shrewd perspective of a slacker sitting in the back of class (“You probably figured this out already, but, our boy doesn’t get to many parties”). Witnessing Adam’s descent into delinquency is both painful to watch and addictive. Straddling poetry and prose, the funny, unforgiving narration will have readers glued to this story about the rise and fall of an unlikely high school kingpin.