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The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,053 Ratings  ·  370 Reviews
Whip-smart dialogue and an inside look at the seedy underbelly of reality TV come together in this critically-acclaimed debut perfect for fans of Unreal, John Green, and Frank Portman.

Witty, sarcastic Ethan and his three best friends are students at Selwyn Arts Academy, which has been hijacked by For Art’s Sake, a sleazy reality-television show. In the tradition of Ezra
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Emery Lord
Feb 04, 2014 Emery Lord rated it it was amazing
What a memorable story on every level--the characters, the setting, the poetry, humor. It takes a deft touch to incorporate academia into fiction without the reader sensing a You Are Learning Here signpost. But, wow does Kate Hattemer have that touch. Literary device, Imagism and references to other works are woven into a story that is at once funny (protag Ethan's triplet sisters are a laugh-out-loud riot) and authentic to teens. All in all, POETS manages to be smart without being unapproachabl ...more
Oct 14, 2013 Ashleigh rated it really liked it
4.5 Read as digital ARC.

Recap: we've got a reality TV show, we've got a vigilante long poem, we've got my attention. This book is brilliant, a good match for English/Creative Writing majors, AP English-takers, and (it's so deep and well-written) maybe even for fans of John Green. You will learn about punctuation marks. You will use poetry to examine your feelings AND to fight against the man. You will like it.
Melissa McShane
Selwyn Academy is a school for artists of all kinds: visual, written, dance, theater, music. It’s also the basis for a popular reality show, For Art’s Sake, in which students compete for a major scholarship. Everyone’s addicted to it, except Ethan, Luke, Jackson, and Elizabeth, who for various reasons think it’s degrading and a slap in the face to true art. It’s Luke who comes up with a plan for exposing the show for the cheap, sensationalist crap it is, but when an unexpected development ruins ...more
Mar 24, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
I've reread this four times since January (that reread total is only beaten out by I'll Meet You There) and, due to the battle, haven't gotten the chance to really flesh out some thoughts yet. It might be too late; I'm not going to be able to recapture the immediate, wowed impressions I had. But here's what stayed with me.
Remember: this is not a novel, not a memoir, not produced by anyone with artistic skill. It's just about what happened last year. It's about reality TV, a desperate crush on a
Sara  (
Apr 09, 2016 Sara ( rated it it was ok
+lots of nerdy references to rhetorical devices
+the two side friends were fun and interesting characters
-one of the stupidest plots of all time ; in believability and tone, it reminded me of Glee .
-everyone except two side friends were undimensional or cartoons
-serious lack of diversity
-MC white male describes the dreadlocks of his "half-black" female side-friend as beautiful, but not in the way of normal obvious beauty, but more like "undergrowth" or "like the mottled surface of an old car
Lisa Shafer
Jul 19, 2014 Lisa Shafer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, realistic, humor
Finally! A YA Book That's NOT About Romance!

More and more often lately, YA books are being written for adults who want sexy, romantic teen characters -- and very recently, the trend has been that one of these characters must have a terminal disease.
Vigilante Poets is a tremendously refreshing change.
My favorite thing about this book is how very realistic the main characters are. The male narrator, Ethan, is not sexy, suave, or sophisticated; he's idealistic, clueless about girls, and loyal. He'
One of the best books I've read all year. Can't wait till April when it's published so that I can shove it in the hands of lots of students. Selwyn Academy is a high school specializing in the arts. Ethan Andrezejczak is an unassuming self-described member of the Untalented caste (okay at music, okay at drawing, but not nearly on the same level artistically as Maura the dancer and Brandon the opera singer and Broadway-bound Miki F-R). Life is fairly predictable for Ethan and his friends until th ...more
Review to come - you all know why, right‽ (I found the interrobang!!)
Mar 05, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
I bet this is the only YA novel ever to leave the reader with an urge to read Ezra Pound.
Dec 14, 2015 Francesca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear gods, it is going to be near impossible to choose 5 of the best books I read this year.
This has been on my kindle forever and I have only gotten to read it this weekend.
Yet another example that YA is where is at,imo really, for some of the best writing around at the moment.
There's arts and poetry and reality TV and the mythopoeic appropriation of culture in this book - hell it almost made want and re read Ezra Pound.
A highly recommended deliciously intelligent, cleverly written book with l
Dixie A.
Mar 08, 2015 Dixie A. rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
I was misled into reading this book by its description. Reality shows, vigilante poets and high school at school for the arts? What's not to love?

In this case? Everything.

The reality show, although being the center that all other matters in the book revolved around, hardly featured in the book. We did not see even one full show played out. And, in fact, it turned out not to be a reality show, but instead, entirely scripted. Which, yeah, we all suspect about reality shows, so not much of a surpri
Jan 03, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of smart kids and rhetorical devices
Recommended to Jennifer by: CLC Library
This young adult novel was a welcome relief from dystopian futures and epic trilogies that I’ve been reading, but the issue of threes does come up. Ethan Andrezejszak is a student at a Minneapolis high school for the arts and thanks to his English teacher, he has become enamored with the tricolon, a rhetorical device that involves a list of three elements such as “I came, I saw, I conquered.” This rhetorical trinity not only represents his three best friends at school—Luke, Elizabeth, and Jackso ...more
Brooks Benjamin
Dec 08, 2014 Brooks Benjamin rated it it was amazing
The prestigious Selwyn Arts Academy is full of brilliantly talented teens. It's full of dance classes, literature classes, vocal classes. But what it's not full of is a TV reality talent show called For Art's Sake that exploits the students for a miniature bump in ratings.

Oh, wait.

Scratch that.

That's exactly what Selwyn Arts Academy has this year.

And the school couldn't be more thrilled. I mean, it's not every day that you get to go to class and maybe run into some huge TV producer and accidenta
Kimi (Geeky Chiquitas)
May 29, 2014 Kimi (Geeky Chiquitas) rated it it was amazing
Originally posted at Geeky Chiquitas

Reviewed by: Audrey

Actual rating: 4.5

Ethan and his groups of friends decide to fight against a reality tv show being filmed in their school via long poems. They believe that the tv show is ruining their school and taking away their freedom. While studying Ezra Pound, they get the idea to use long poems to take away the reality tv show and show their fellow students what's going on. Luke, one of Ethan's friends and the one who came up with the idea of rebellion
Pooja (On books!)
Originally posted here: On Books!

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy has got to be the most enjoyable Young Adult book I've read in a while! I read this book way back in January, and if I hadn't been on an unofficial-hiatus I would've reviewed it right away. A lot of "reality show" based books end up wearing thin, but not this one.

The Vigilante Poets...(don't you love the title?) is about Ethan Andrezejczak who is witty, sarcastic, perfectly likable and hung up on ballerina Maura, the poster
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
Mar 29, 2014 Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries) rated it did not like it
Shelves: arc
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher via NetGalley.

Because the idea of framing is so important to this novel and my perception of it, I have a little framing of my own to do. I’m hungry for reality-TV-related novels like this one and Something Real by Heather Demetrios (a new favorite because good God, that is the horror people don’t see when it comes to reality TV). A couple of years ago, I read this nonfiction book Reality Bites Back by Jenn
Oct 06, 2013 Monica rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
This book tells a story through the eyes of a junior in a high school for the artistically inclined. I knew from the title that I had to read this book. Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for letting me read this in exchange for an honest review. I was drawn into the main character's head with his hard-to-pronounce last name and his endearing characteristics. I thought he was a breath of fresh air and so was his furry counterpart. This book was written very well and wasn't cheapened with ...more
Feb 15, 2015 Anna rated it it was amazing
But I can also tell you - not from experience but from the glimpses found in daydreams and books and cold hard thought - that once you've recognized a person as a person, you can start to love that person well. It's an awful thing to learn, but it's the best thing in the world to know.
Lonna Pierce
Jul 12, 2014 Lonna Pierce rated it it was amazing
Four high school juniors, Jackson, Elizabeth, Luke, and narrator, Ethan go to to an Arts School, Selwyn Academy, which has been invaded by a KTV Reality Show, "For Arts Sake." The simpering program pits student artists against each other for an arts college scholarship, but is really for ratings and big bucks for the producers. "A remarkable convergence of Ezra Pound and reality TV," the novel reveals the power of poetry, (Pair this book with "Jumped In.")tricolons, a gerbil named Baconaisse, an ...more
Suzanne Dix
This book had me laughing out loud early on in the story (the zero and the eight joke nearly did me in) and while the gaffaws were a fewer and far between toward the middle and end any mention of Baconnaise brought on a fit of giggles.

I was so excited to see the author thank the Public Library of Cincinnati in her acknowledgements. I hadn't realized she was a local author. Definitely looking forward to more books from Kate Hattemer! She really nailed the teen dialogue.

Some language, some sexua
Apr 11, 2014 Liviania rated it it was amazing
When NetGalley sent out an email of hot upcoming titles, I was instantly drawn to THE VIGILANTE POETS OF SELWYN ACADEMY. I wanted to know what a vigilante poet was. Add in that those vigilante poets' nemesis is a reality television show (a very current YA trend), and I was there.

Ethan and his three best friends, Luke, Jonathon, and Elizabeth, are students at Selwyn Academy. It's an arts academy, where the halls are filled with conversations such as Monet versus Manet. But lately, the only conve
Marjorie Ingall
Dec 11, 2014 Marjorie Ingall rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
YOU GUYS, I ADORED THIS. The only reason it’s not on my Tablet magazine list of the Best Jewish Books of 2014 is because I don’t think it’s Jewish enough, even by my incredibly lax standards. But holy crap is it funny and deftly crafted and smart.

The poets of the title are four friends — Luke, Jackson, Elizabeth and our narrator Ethan — who are horrified by a reality show being shot in their fancy private arts high school. (It’s called For Art’s Sake, and it purports to be about finding the bes
Jennifer DuBose
Jul 28, 2016 Jennifer DuBose rated it really liked it
Outstanding writing!

I know this is marketed as YA lit, but I think this book is truly for anyone who is interested in reading, literature, or education. The plot and characters were so lovable, and as an English teacher, I appreciated all the many literature and poetry references. This is all around an entertaining and smart read, and I didn't want it to end.
Anne Broyles
Apr 21, 2015 Anne Broyles rated it really liked it
When their Minnesota arts school is taken over by a reality television show, four friends use their wits to foment a rebellion and recapture their school. It's nice to see intellectual and active youth going countercultural, analyzing why art is important to them, and the book has humor and heart.
Jan 20, 2014 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-slj
[strong 3.5 rounded up for good writing, cute kids, and a talented gerbil.]

Ethan is the kind of teenager that stares at the back of a cute girl’s neck long enough to fall in crush with her. Since he’s attending an arts academy, she happens to be a ballerina with real potential to realize her dreams of admission to Julliard and even dancing at Lincoln Center someday. She’s a minor character in this novel, even though she’s a major one in Ethan’s fantasies, and For Art’s Sake, a reality TV show se
Feb 18, 2015 Brian rated it liked it
Selwyn Academy is a fine arts school and during this particular school year a reality show is being filmed there featuring a number of their students competing for a scholarship. A group of four students decide that this reality show is nothing but trouble and decide to end the show.

The premise is set up as if this was going to be a funny book like a Don Calame or Brent Crawford novel. Unfortunately, this book comes no where close on the humor scale. Don't get me wrong there were many attempts a
Dec 04, 2014 Donalyn rated it really liked it
Ezra Pound, long poems, reality TV, and the best non-talking gerbil in literature. Excellent book.
Ashley Blake
Aug 30, 2015 Ashley Blake rated it it was amazing
Shelves: voicey-af
Unforgettable voice, smart, and funny!
May 22, 2016 charlotte rated it really liked it
Sometimes, the most awesome and complicated thing you can do is just stick around.

Don't be put off by the "perfect for fans of John Green" tagline - this is actually much much better than his books.

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy is the story of what happens when a high school becomes the backdrop to a reality TV show, For Art's Sake. Needless to say, the decision doesn't go down well with everybody, and a group of students decide to take a stand by distributing a rebellious epic poem, e
Art School! Reality TV! Epic Poetry! Hamsters! This book has it all!

Selwyn Arts Academy is under attack and everything it stands for is being threatened by the "reality" tv show, For Art's Sake. Bringing out the worst in their classmates Ethan and his three friends are inspired by Ezra Pound's epic poetry, being taught by their young and enthusiastic literature teacher, to take on the system! They write and illustrate their own epic poem to combat the consumerism and dis-ingenuousness that seems
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52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2015.4: Vigilante Poets 1 31 Jan 24, 2015 05:46AM  
Mock Printz 2017: The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer 7 108 Sep 23, 2014 05:33AM  
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“I hold a strict policy of automatic grudges against people everyone likes.” 35 likes
“Sometimes, the most awesome and complicated thing you can do is just stick around” 12 likes
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