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High School Confidential: Secrets of an Undercover Student

3.04 of 5 stars 3.04  ·  rating details  ·  445 ratings  ·  94 reviews
It's spring semester in Southern California, and twenty-four-year-old Stanford grad Jeremy Iversen is forsaking a dreary future of New York investment banking to go on the adventure of a lifetime. With a new wardrobe and the blessing of the school principal, he transfers into Mirador High, going undercover as a seventeen-year-old surfer.

In this fast-paced exposé,
Paperback, 464 pages
Published August 28th 2010 by Atria Books
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Very good read. Amazing that this dude was able to get permission to go into a high school and do this. Or that the administration seemingly 'forgot' who he was or that he was even there. It really drove home how old I am, and how isolated my high school was. Or maybe it was just me who was isolated, maybe shit like this book detailed really did happen where I was, and I was blind.

Read the book. It opens your eyes a little.
Jeremy Iversen went to a Manhattan prep school, and never had what he considered a "typical high school experience." So when he graduated from college and stared down the fate awaiting him (i.e. the job, the career, the house, the wife, the family) he wasn't ready. Perhaps as a way of avoiding that fate, he chose instead to conduct a cultural experiment where he went undercover at a suburban high school in Orange County, CA to see what a real high school is like. It was engrossing, and read like ...more
High School Confidential is an interesting autobiography about how it's author, Jeremy Iversen, went undercover for one semester at Mirador High School to find out just what it is that makes teens the way they are in society today. While the book does have some faults, such as possible over-exaggeration of certain events and confusing flashbacks/flash forwards, it definitely will keep those high school drama-loving people turning page after page. The footnotes in the back also offer explanations ...more
The book, High School Confidential Secrets Of An Undercover Student was one of the best books I ever read. Being able to go in depth of the real teenage mindset and their obligations while having to go through school was a very interesting way while the whole time he was just a spy. Being able to see the lives of such characters such as Charity Warner and Alexis Newton and the somewhat seed of hatred for each other was drawing and attentive. The lives that these teenagers live from wild partying ...more
Loved it! Really understand perspective about how the author begins to feel loyal to his subjects. Reminds me not of my hs but the district where I teach.
As I was reading this I kept going back and forth between feeling like I was reading the next screenplay for a Larry Clark/Harmony Korine movie & feeling like all that Iverson discovered wasn't that different from when I went to high school and therefore not that interesting. (Maybe it hasn't been long enough fact, I can't tell if I am technically a part of the Millenial generation that he writes about or Gen X!) Plus the way he described the kid's speech really reminded me of my ow ...more
Michelle Carl
High School Confidential definitely had its ups and downs for me. The concept was what had me hooked, a mid-20s college graduate goes undercover at a California high school at about the same time I was actually in high school. I was intrigued to see how closely it mirrored my school. I have to admit my personal high school experience was beyond tame, but I had plenty of classmates who lived lives as sordid as the ones Iversen writes about.

The high points for me were definitely the beginning and
I was at the bookstore and looking over the bargain bin when a woman saw me reading the inside of the book. She told me her nephews attended the school in the book and that basically the author "exaggerated" the events (like I haven't heard that about memoirists before) and other inside info. I figured for $2.99 I would read it. I am on a roll reading "trash" lately. Sigh, I need a break every now and then.
This is supposed to be really trashy but I have to get through the first chapter(s) of the
The opening parts of this book were fairly interesting, although Iversen comes across as a little holier-than-thou in his discussion of why he chose not to enter the corporate world. Basically, the author managed to parlay his undergraduate degree in social sciences into an opportunity to live out his John Hughes/Cameron Crowe fantasy of going to an all-American high school--at the age of 24. The earlier sections, in which Iversen describes the process of getting into a school and then deals wit ...more
A detailed account at a typical public high school in California from the students point of view. It is meant to be shocking with all the drugs and sex and things like that; but anyone with half a brain knows that these things are rampant in high school. Some adults even support this with a wink and a nod and a "back in the day" sort of attitude. What I found most striking about the book was the complete lack of academics of any sort. Academics appeared to account for about 2% of the average hig ...more
I was a bit troubled to find that this was the second best public high school in America. Clearly, I learned a lot more in my classes than what was being taught at this school...didn't I? Also, was sex, drugs, and alcohol so prevalent at my school and I was so nerdy that I didn't even know.

I liked that the author stepped out of the story to tell the tale from the viewpoint of the different kids he'd befriended. It made me feel a lot better about my high school experience after reading about the
Sarah Catherine
So far I can completely relate to what Iversen is trying to convey with his book. I am currently in my mid-20's, which he was when he went undercover, and I am the generation that he "infiltrates." There are always times when I wish to remember what daily high school was like but the memories are clouded with the large events, Spring Fling, Prom, Beach Week and graduation. However, by reading Iversen's book I reminded of the daily grind of high school, and how badly it could suck. Even though he ...more
Dalton Jackson
I feel that there is a critical message about the state of our system and the people it is meant to benefit buried within the pages of High School Confidential, and I’d encourage anyone interested to read it. Iversen was brave enough to do what all of us ought to be doing but what few of us actually are. He listened long and hard to the most important and most neglected voices in our school system; those of the students. Through his ambitious, well-researched, and meticulously end-noted work, e ...more
I thought that both the quality of the writing and the quality of the journalism here was quite good. Iversen did have to use composite characters, obviously, so that he could protect the identities of the juveniles he observed while undercover at a southern California high school. What he saw, and what he describes in this book, will shock you. And, no, it's not the drugs, drinking, and sex that is the most most surprising aspect of modern high school life.
Interesting expose of contemporary high school culture. This book would have been better if not for the extensive literary license taken (the experiences of many students compressed into a few archetypes, the use of statistics in building character portraits instead of actual experience). Reading the inevitable drama fallout on Amazon is pretty entertaining.
Roxanne Nichols
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Long, but worth it! I personally went to a very small school so this was a fun (and I KNOW, exaggerated, made-up, whatever, blah) insight into a large high school, and Iverson's writing style is very funny. I read it as more of a satire of high school than anything else. Use two bookmarks for this one - you won't want to miss the footnotes in the back.
Chunyang Ding
Disclaimer: I only read to page 168 before I sorta gave up on this book.

I'm not exactly sure how to characterize this novel, because I suppose that real life is just as complicated as this book depicts. But as a high school student, I have a pretty tough time relating. Perhaps it is because of the "Bellevue Bubble", but I just cannot envision such a reality at times.

Even if it was entirely, 100% true, I just don't understand what Iverson is trying to say here. That high schoolers have redeemin
Very fast, easy read. It gives a good idea of what life is like in High Schools. Iversen goes back to high school undercover after graduating college. He is accepted as a student and writes about it firsthand. If you are involved with high school age kids, I highly recommend it.
I really liked this book, because the author really got into the heads of his so called classmates, and I was fascinated by the way he pulled his ruse off, but if this book is all true, and high schools around America are all like this, I weep for the future!
An interesting look at modern high school, a repeat of Cameron Crowe and "Fast Times..". Scary how corrupt the world is. I must have been a serious geek in HS to miss out.
Renz Homer Cerillo
the book is inspired. i might as well do the same thing. it almost felt like reading "the perks of being a wallflower", but this one is a little crazier.
The author needs to grow up and realize his life is in front of him, NOT behind him.

teachers need to read this.
A 24-year-old graduate of Stanford and an East Coast preppie school decided to look at an average American high school from the inside. He persuaded the principal of a public high school in California to let him enroll as a senior, pretending to be a 17-year-old; other than the principal, no one knew his true identity. He spent a semester as a high school student, writing a 420-page book afterwards (in contrast, John King Fairbank's China: a New History, which covers 3000 years of history of the ...more
This book was condescending, egotistical, and mostly a fictionalized caricature of the students he meets. Iversen writes that his book is a "guiding star" to the "world of high school" and you can "explore at your own pace" (or something like that...I gladly returned the book the library, so I can't quote word for word), and then basically indicates that all of the characters and situations are just representations of what actually happened.

And while I don't doubt that the situations are real,
Jerald Vernon Torres
HIGHSCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL (The Secret of an Undercover Student)
Jeremy Iversen

Wow! The beginning was superb, but it’s only the beginning not all throughout.

I remember the time I saw this book under a rack from booksale (S.M. Manila) – it was my hobby that even though it was thirty minutes before class I went to this bookstore to browse at books, I pick it up and knew that it is a ‘sale-sale’, it only cost five pesos. I read the back and was astounded that it is a journal of a true undercov
The more I read this book, the more I thought, "I am getting old." Having graduated from a urban public high school in 1981, I thought I had a realistic look at what high school was.
Taking place some 25 years after Cameron Crowe went undercover to research what would become Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jeremy Iversen went undercover at a California High School to record high school life today.
Think you know that sex, drugs, and rock and roll go on at our nation's high schools? After reading th
Dec 07, 2013 Carrie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People in secondary education
Recommended to Carrie by: Allison Fraas
“High School Confidential” by Jeremy Iverson is most definitely an eye-opening, thought-provoking read about the current state of our public high schools and their students. I teach at a small, residential high school for deaf students, nothing like the large, urban, public high school of “Mirador,” so my experiences each day, and the experiences I think many of my students have, are nothing like those described in the book. I don’t even know how well these stories and students align with the hi ...more
I was browsing education books in the library when this one caught my eye. I am a high school teacher and I have worked in two different school districts. I wanted to see what this guy found and if it was similar to my experience with high school life. I still was surprised at some of the things he encountered.
I grew up in Orange County so I kept trying to figure out which school this was. I couldn't pin it down, but then I looked up online and found out it wasn't even OC, but Claremont-the IE!
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