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Dream School

(Girl #2)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  299 ratings  ·  60 reviews

Andrea Marr— heroine of the classic 90's novel Girl—is back. And she's at college!
Imagining a typical “J. Crew/college catalogue” experience, Andrea leaves Portland to attend prestigious Wellington College in Connecticut. Surrounded by the best and the brightest, she works hard to adjust and keep up.
But Andrea has a way of finding her own people—not the well-heeled and w

Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by Figment
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  299 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Girl is the coming of age book that I read at the perfect time in my life and it was like magic. I still have my tattered copy on a shelf highlighted in magic marker with folded pages and notes in the margins.
Unfortunately, reading this sequel 17 years later felt like a chore and it failed to hold my interest.
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
I wanted this to be a great sequel and I went into it with high hopes. But where Girl was successful this fell flat. It tried too hard right away - name dropping Nirvana, zines, and riot grrrls within like, the first two pages. And it could have redeemed itself but it didn't; it felt throughout that instead of trying be in an era, it was trying so very hard to subscribe to one. And whereas Andrea's high school experiences had some universal mid-90's charm inherent in them, I can't say as much fo ...more
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I ate up this sequel to the 90s YA indie rock classic, GIRL, in surreptitious bites at work (the online serial format makes this easy). This seems fitting - like something Andrea Marr in her 30s might be doing herself.

But be prepared for the onslaught of teen-angsty melodrama told in embarrassingly authentic detail - the combination took me back to my own coming-of-age days as a moody suburban high school kid, and then a (still-moody, but then also) wide-eyed pretend-sophisticate in first-year
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it

(read: 79 - also I must admit I reread GIRL before I started DREAM SCHOOL and I'm glad I did because, man, this character is just one of my favorites. Please write Number Three, Blake, please.)
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
Andrea Marr, I would travel back to 1994 to be your best friend (if you wanted me to, that is). Knowing you'd be a librarian after this book takes place only solidifies how much I adore you.

So, Dream School is the follow up to Girl and it's Andrea going off to the big East fancy pants school and she's excited because she's going to do Big Things and she's going to Change because that's what going to one of those schools does to a girl. She's taking classes, meeting people, making films with the
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it

Blake Nelson's Girl was, along with The Virgin Suicides, (also excerpted in Sassy, if I remember correctly?) one of the first books (if not thee first), that opened the world of non-school reading to me and got me excited about books and literature.

This is not to mention the fact that I was the narrator, Andrea's, age and also getting into bands and trying to figure out my own identity—one that was strongly connected to music—at the time the book came out. And I was a diary-writer and loved how
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yyay
I knew it would be overdue at the library, but I really wanted to read this, so I took it on my weekend trip and read it on a train ride. Good decision, me!

At first I was apprehensive and it took me a bit to get into Andrea's head again. She's kind of disassociated in her first semester at Wellington and that made it harder for me to jump into the narrative. For instance, she mentions at one point that she's wearing some thrifted Keds on a date, and she says she bought them at a place she found
Kelly Hager
May 25, 2012 rated it liked it
This is the sequel to Girl and details Andrea Marr's life at college (specifically a very exclusive college on the East Coast).

If you read Girl, you probably will stop reading this review at "This is the sequel to Girl..."

Dream School came out last year and the only reason I waited so long to read it is because I didn't know it existed. (Seriously, universe, how could you keep us apart for so long?!) Girl was one of my favorite books in high school and I read it for the first time right before
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Aww! 1994-1996ish. You were so delightful. This book takes me back to the perils of dorm life -- bad boyfriend decisions, bad alcohol and bad 90s jeans. Loved the book. Nothing earth-shattering. Just plain enjoyable.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Andrea Marr is back, in this sequel to "Girl" that works perfectly fine as a stand-alone title.

Her same stream of consciousness relaying of the daily minutia of her life and having it turn into a pretty entertaining novel have transferred from high school to her first years at prestigious, east coast Wellington College. Her social life encompassed by the Portland music scene has been supplanted by the college, coming of age experience in all it's self-unaware, self-obsessed ways. She's still wit
Ellie Rosenblum
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nelson was able to get inside of Andrea Marr's head and really speak for her which brought her alive. the imagery was very vivid and i was able to see the scenes play out just as if i was watching a movie. It made me want to write.
Amy Quennell
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another tricky second album. The content wasn't as interesting as Girl, but it's still well worth a read, with a few "OMG" moments to keep things interesting. Blake Nelson didn't skip a beat with picking up Andrea's tone, which is impressive after such a long break.
Angie Sanchez
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I question the validity of the ending. Seemed rushed. But not necessarily in a bad way. Goes with the flow.
Lindsay Heller
Apr 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: academia, ya, 2013
I obviously only read this book because I loved 'Girl' when I was a girl. The story about Andrea Marr discovering a world outside the mundane filled with art, music, and people with different ideas and thoughts really appealed to me because that's the same kind of person I was. We left her in 1994 Portland, Oregon. Now she's back and she's going to college. Specifically East Coast liberal arts haven, Wellington in Connecticut. There Andrea meets a new breed, the J. Crew wearing, typical prepster ...more
The first time I read this book was when Figment posted it on their website in installments. I was a freshman at the time and really identified with some of the stuff Andrea was going through, although my life was in no way as interesting as hers. I was really happy to hear that physical copies of Dream School were in the works and the first thing that caught my eye was the cover. To me, it just screams college Andrea.

Something that I love about all of Blake Nelson's books is the way he develop
Dec 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Blake Nelson's 1994 novel "Girl" remains one of the defining moments of my reading life. Andrea Marr was everything I wanted to be back then: effortlessly cool, edgy, a mix of good girl and bad. And I remember being unnerved at how completely Nelson could get inside a teenage girl's head. I pined for a sequel, then sort of forgot about it, and 17 years later it was suddenly just here, like a gift.

So there was really no way this book could live up to my hopes. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it
Courtney Sieloff
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
I literally ate this book. I just finished Girl last night, which I had never read before. I got this book as a gift and felt like I needed to read Girl first. I sat down, read Girl, then read this entire book. I was nearly late to work this morning because I needed to finish it. Now that I've spent all of high school and college with Andrea, I am sort of annoyed there isn't another book waiting for me, to find out what happens next.
The writing style grew up in this book, which makes sense afte
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, ya
I was afraid to read "Dream School" for fear that it wouldn't be the unpretentious, confused, honest badassery that is the Andrea Marr we met in Girl.

Turns out I shouldn't have doubted Blake Nelson. "Girl" is one of those books that has such a perception altering effect that it mirrors a drug. You read it over and over hoping for that same high, but it never reaches quite the level you were hoping for when you already know what's going to happen. "Dream School" is a gift because it allows you t
Nicole Caputo
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I will first get this out of the way...the cover is TERRIBLE. It's not how I pictured Andrea Marr and it looks like something from a drugged out American Apparel ad. That aside, this book is fascinating and intriguing. "Girl" is one of my favorite books of all time and I read it at time when it was completely relevant to where I was at. "Dream School" picks up right when Andrea flies to the East Coast to start college in 1994. Nelson captures the time period and the novel is engrossing. Sometime ...more
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
So disappointing. I remember reading Blake Nelson's Girl at least a half dozen times when I was growing up, but I haven't read it in well over a decade at this point. I am hoping that my memory of it being so realistic and honest and fantastic isn't simply because I was a moron teenager when I read it. After reading this sequel, which I was SO excited to discover had been released in 2011, I couldn't believe how awful the writing was- and good LORD, the number of typos was appalling. Clearly, Ne ...more
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
it's just, college is scary. i went from being with the same people for six hours a day, seven days a week, to just feeling lost. all the time. i wasn't myself from november to january, but things are starting to look up. some of my most important relationships were either strained or severed, and that really fucked with me. my mom and i used to be best friends, and now we argue every day. i still have my best friend, which i thank goodness for each and every day.

it seriously changes everything.
Elizabeth Davis
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Oh, Andrea Marr. How I have missed you.

This was a decent follow-up to Girl, which gave me complete life when I read it the night before I graduated high school in 1995, yet since this book was taking place the second after the last one finished I was disappointed that the tone of Andrea had changed slightly. I guess if you haven't read the book Girl as many times as I have you might not notice it, yet it was there, and that saddened me a bit.

I also had some confusion with her friends in college
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
I was very excited to see there was FINALLY a sequel to Girl, one of my favorite YA novels. And this did not disappoint! It was as compulsively readable as Girl and the voice of Andrea (which is what makes the book) was entirely the same. Her college experience was so fun to read about and true to life.

I am not giving it five stars like Girl for a few reasons, one is all the typos, at least in the version I had. The other is the cover. It's a great cover because the semi nudity is sure to appea
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
It kind of lost Andrea's personality a bit. Like giving her a more rounded character but with traits that don't really mesh. Its almost as if they were just placed in last minute during editing. The bits where she notices she's being ego-centric and starts drunk crying all the time seems so out of place with the flow of how Andrea is. Which is a wallflower that says yes to anything and grabs on to someone else's exciting life. I also don't know where the thought of her being in love with writing ...more
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
The long awaited sequel to Girl did not disappoint. As I began it, I was immediately transported back to Andrea's world as well as my own college experience. Blake Nelson writes from a female perspective with more honesty and understanding than most he knows our inner workings, I'll never know. It seems that a doorway is also left open for some future encounters with Andrea Marr....I look forward to that with great anticipation. Loved it! Andrea and her insights are so realistic y ...more
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, oneofmyfaves
A Girl was my favorite book in high school, and in college. I can't even recall how many times I reread that book. This is the sequel. Andrea Marr kind of reminds me of me - sloppy, saying the wrong things, standing there awkwardly, feeling out of place...she heads to a fancy private college in CT which is SO not her....but she has an amazing experience anyway. She's a bit more sexually promiscuous than I ever was, but Nelson captures the awkwardness, adventures, grittiness, ridiculousness, bad ...more
Meredith Ann
1. some of the minor inconsistencies/mistakes threw me off while reading this book.
2. i was excited to revisit with andrea marr but perhaps my expectations were too high. the ending felt almost like "okay i'm done with writing this" which i know was intentional but a bit of a letdown.

regardless, some of the passages hit close to home, even at 26 years old. how do you let people know you're still cool and into cool things while managing to maintain the status quo?
Shani Hilton
A precise continuation of 'Girl,' with Andrea going away to college, though it was written 15 years later. Just as good as the first, except for the fact that Andrea's story doesn't get any more compelling, merely longer. I'd recommend as sequel (and it sets up another sequel) but there's no resolution. She doesn't change, really.

And to bring up 'Catcher' again, I think this is probably why Salinger never wrote a sequel. He'd just be writing out a life, in parallel to his own, for Holden.
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I wasn't that big of a fan of the first book either. But since "Girl" is one of my favorite movies I felt like I needed to read this and find out what happens. It doesn't exactly wrap things up. It leaves more open threads than the first book did. And really I can sum up the worst part of this book in 3 words: NO TODD SPARROW! What the heck? Why did I waste my time reading it if he didn't even make an appearance?
Leila Cohan-Miccio
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
I am astronomically happy that Blake Nelson wrote a sequel to Girl, perhaps my favorite YA novel of all time. I'm even happier that the sequel is great great great. Like Girl, it captures perfectly the weirdness of a set time in life, this time, the first few years of college. I hope there's another book about Andrea Marr and I hope it comes out less than 17 years from now.
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Blake Nelson grew up in Portland, Oregon. He began his career writing short humor pieces for Details Magazine.

His first novel GIRL was originally serialized in SASSY magazine and was made into a film staring Selma Blaire and Portia De Rossi.

His novel PARANOID PARK won the prestigious International Grinzane Literary Award and was made into a film by Gus Van Sant.

His most recent Young Adult novel

Other books in the series

Girl (3 books)
  • Girl (Girl, #1)
  • The City Wants You Alone (Girl, #3)

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