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The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

Jon Hart’s debut novel sends an important message to high school students

Gianna Galesi
Jon Hart, a “New York Times” featured author, releases his debut novel

As high school seniors approach “Decision Day” and juniors continue exploring schools that interest them, a stigma over choosing which school to attend still lies: The idea that you must go to a college labeled as an “it” school.

However, Jon Hart’s debut novel, “Party School,” reminds both high school and college students that “it’s not which college you attend. It’s what you make of it.”

This coming-of-age story follows Dylan Mills, who is seemingly laid back and has remained under the radar for his high school career. As summer comes to an end Dylan is now about to embark on a journey that he is not quite sure he is ready for.

While remaining under the radar in high school, readers of “Party School” get to take a look into Dylan’s life at home. A glee club dropout and fifth-string hockey goalie, Dylan is a “likable underachiever.” He still has yet to get his driver’s license and his parents have just finalized their divorce but are now happier than ever.

Living in Castleton means being surrounded with people who spend summer at their second homes and will be attending those colleges known as “it” schools, including Dylan’s girlfriend Rosemary Silversmith.

After admiring her from afar, Rosemary and Dylan were finally formally introduced and soon made their relationship official. To Dylan, Rosemary feels like “the one thing he seems to have done right in his whole life.”

Rosemary and Dylan are polar opposites. She “calls the shots” and Dylan nods along with any idea she throws his way, hoping to avoid losing her at all costs. Intelligent and adored by his parents, Rosemary “is everything to Dylan. Now, however, the two will be leaving for different colleges. The two are faced with a decision on how to move forward with their relationship.

Unable to attend an “it” school, Dylan is beginning his freshman year at North South, a college notorious only for its partying. Living in a town with those bound for the ivy leagues, North South is unheard of or “dismissed as a party school, a punch line, a haven for fools, pretenders and everything in between.”

Dylan’s journey begins as anything but easy. The beginning of freshman year also means the beginning of drama, as Rosemary is seeing someone else and Dylan joins an underground motorcycle club, still without a driver’s license.

Dylan soon embraces his new life. He finds a love for his new school and creates new friendships. But after a cheating scandal, Rosemary runs “back to Dylan’s arms” and is now faced with tough decisions.

While following Dylan’s journey, Hart keeps readers invested with humor, sarcasm and a group of lovable characters.

Growing up and leaving your childhood in the past is an uncomfortable and overwhelming experience for most. Hart has created a character who’s journey mirrors that of many starting college.
For college bound students nearing the beginning of this next stage in their lives, “Party School” is a must-read. With its message that you do not have to attend an “it” school and a tale of moving forward, this novel provides a sense of comfort to readers.

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