Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

High School

Rate this book
High School is the revelatory and unique coming-of-age story of Sara and Tegan Quin, identical twins from Calgary, Alberta, growing up in the height of grunge and rave culture in the 90s, well before they became the celebrated musicians and global LGBTQ icons we know today. While grappling with their identity and sexuality, often alone, they also faced academic meltdown, their parents' divorce, and the looming pressure of what might come after high school.

Written in alternating chapters from both Tegan's point of view and Sara's, the book is a raw account of the drugs, alcohol, love, music and friendship they explored in their formative years. A transcendent story of first loves and first songs, it captures the tangle of discordant and parallel memories of two sisters who grew up in distinct ways even as they lived just down the hall from one another. This is the origin story of Tegan and Sara.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published September 24, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Tegan Quin

13 books184 followers
During the course of their career, sisters Tegan and Sara have sold well over one million records and released eight studio albums. They have received three Juno Awards, a Grammy nomination, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, and the 2018 New York Civil Liberties Union Award. They have performed on some of the world’s biggest stages, from Coachella to the Academy Awards.

Outspoken advocates for equality, in 2016 Tegan and Sara created the Tegan and Sara Foundation, which fights for health, economic justice, and representation for LGBTQ girls and women. The sisters currently reside in Vancouver, British Columbia, and split their time between there and Los Angeles, California.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
3,384 (47%)
4 stars
2,612 (36%)
3 stars
897 (12%)
2 stars
138 (1%)
1 star
41 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 894 reviews
Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
612 reviews623 followers
July 2, 2020
[pre-read review: DUDE WHAT A TEGAN AND SARA MEMOIR????????? MOVE I'M GAY]

I'm no longer gonna give star ratings to memoirs unless I feel very strongly about something and I just don't feel strongly about this one. I enjoyed it and I think it's gonna be an especially interesting read for long-time fans of Tegan & Sara. I personally loved getting the perspective of growing up queer as a teen in the 90s and of these two kids laying the foundation of their musical career.
I would highly recommend reading this story via audiobook, which is narrated by the authors themselves and includes several old song recordings, which really adds to the experience and also gives you can amazing perspective into how much they have evolved as musicians.

Booktube ChannelTwitterInstagram
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,852 reviews35k followers
October 12, 2019
Tegan and Sara’s story - identical twins - begins in grade ten - at Crescent Heights High School, in the suburbs of northeast Calgary, Alberta, Canada. ( just blocks away from where our daughter lives now).

I kept seeing this book pop up, and was curious. The library had it available. I downloaded it thinking I would take a peek...then inhaled it: enjoying their stories and adorable photos.

I had no idea who Tegan and Sara were: musicians, and songwriters. A Canadian indie pop band. Openly gay, advocates for LGBTQ equality, as well as music education, literacy, and cancer research.
They wrote this memoir together - alternating chapters about their
...teenage chaotic - coming of age years.
They highlighted their personal struggles, family life, self discovery, drugs, sex, and Rock ‘n’ roll,....
insights into their sister relationship, friendships, lovers, music, and their rise to fame.
I enjoyed learning about these two women. I can certainly understand the heart-support-connection that Calgarians, feel!
I’m a new fan myself.

Not knowing anything about these ladies until reading this book... inspiring, and enjoyable...
Sara and Tegan have just turned me onto their music.... downloaded now on my favorite playlist. 🎶🎤🎸📚

Totally wonderful.... entertaining...and moving!
Great storytelling to boot!!!

“Explain this: Your ‘sister’ spent the last hour in the garage with Kayla—‘Rollerblading’”.

“Strumming those first chords made my whole body of the guitar vibrate against my chest, sending waves tingling up through my wrists and along the veins in my arms. The weight of the wood felt intimate, touching almost all of me at once”.

Profile Image for Jenna &#x1f9f5;.
218 reviews77 followers
October 22, 2019
Admittedly, I came to this memoir not actually super familiar* (I thought) with the music of Tegan and Sara; however, I AM familiar with, not to mention increasingly, foolishly nostalgic for, the experience of being a self-identified alternative 1990s high schooler.

My inner adolescent felt extremely validated at the opportunity to reminisce, for instance, about Nirvana- and Smashing Pumpkins-induced states of bliss (the thrill of cracking open that beautiful, chunky Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness double CD!).

Granted, maybe because I grew up primarily on the other end of the decade than Tegan and Sara did (the end that makes me even older than they now are, and of a perhaps more heavily DARE-influenced developmental trajectory), my own high school experience featured approximately a 200% reduction in drug- and alcohol-induced raptures as compared with theirs. However, the strictly music-oriented ecstasies and other aspects of their 90s high school experience were quite relatable. Above all, this book really makes you feel like you are right there with them in their adolescence, watching episodes play out in real time; it feels as though the teen Tegan and Sara have time travelled from the past to tell you and show you their story.

I love reading about musicians’ passion for music, how it develops and expresses itself and insistently makes itself known to self and other, and in that regard, this book also delivers pretty well, much in the way of Kristen Hersh’s Rat Girl (still a favorite of mine) or Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl. Similarly, all three of these books capture the elaborate embrace and entanglement of love and conflict/rivalry that can apparently be found in intense relationships with sisters, best friends, and/or band mates, and which in this book was seemingly intensified and complicated by issues of twinship and simultaneous-yet-separate coming-out journeys.

Indeed, I think it is as a coming-out memoir that this book most succeeds (another favorite in this and recent years is Too Much is Not Enough by Andrew Rannells). In particular, for me, in a poignant episode, the book captured concisely and beautifully how Nirvana and Kurt Cobain in particular served as LGBTQ advocates and allies during a critical transitional time. The book also captures passionate and supportive friendships between a network of young women (and a couple of enlightened, Cobain-esque young men), and the beauty, power, confusion and sadness inherent in the madness of sorting out one’s sexual and gender identities within the hormonal maelstrom of all this.

The other really spellbinding aspect of this book for me was reading about the sheer, untaught, naturally outpouring musical prodigiousness that Tegan and Sara, also like their icon Kurt, seemingly possessed.** I don’t want to spoil too much about how Tegan and Sara initially transition from bus riding, suburban door-slamming, oversized Value Village hoodie-wearing kids to musical superstars and icons, but it really does read like a marvelous yet grounded fairytale. In particular, the evolution of and interaction between their connection/communication style as twins and their style and form of musical collaboration was really fascinating, and also well echoed in the back-and-forth alternating narrative chapters of the memoir that seamlessly build upon and enhance one another. I guess this must have been one of the factors that either empowered or compelled me to read this book in one sitting, overnight: something that I hardly ever do and which many other reviews here also mention.

Finally, as I’ve already discussed at length in my review of the Brownstein book, while I hate being and getting older, one consolation is that I will forever be in love with the “DIY” aspects of alternative 90s coming of age, and this book captures well the worthy effort we had to make in the interest of entertaining and expressing ourselves. No Kylie memes of the week here: just snagging that last Mellon Collie CD before the store sold out, coming up with actual cash to fork over to do that, hours of copying music from the radio or other people’s cassettes onto your own, drawing and photocopying and hand lettering to make your own cassette covers, and allll those endless trips to Value Village to acquire all those voluminous hoodies and striped sweaters... waiting in line at the record store for Green Day tickets made of actual paper, surviving the mosh pit thereof, folding and passing all those school notes, sharing those land line phones with their spirally cords stretched out under bedroom doors... and calling answering machine recordings to find the secret weekly location of a rave!

Not to sound too “I walked ten miles through knee deep snow in my bare feet to get to school” about it, but it’s true: I would sometimes like to be young(er) again (and not much has made me feel as old as acknowledging that Tegan and Sara, somehow eternally adolescent in my mind, are now basically 40) - but not enough to give up the muddied, frayed, second hand straight leg jean hems of my walkabout, hands on, Doc Marten boots on ground, rode hard and put away wet 90s sort of coming of age - which is now beautifully immortalized in this book among others I’ve mentioned.

*I listened to a lot of Tegan and Sara on Spotify (see, I do like some things about it no longer being the 90s) after writing this, and I discovered that I was actually more familiar with their music than I realized, and also that their catalog of music as a whole is awesome, and fully complements/is complemented by the experience of reading their memoir, so do check it out! Their new album, “Hey, I’m Just Like You,” features reworked songs that they wrote between the ages of 15-18, found on old cassettes unearthed during research for this book (see my ** note below!), and that are mentioned in the book, and it’s a very cool concept: according to them, they wanted to transform them into songs that they could not have fully created either as teens or as adults.

**The Audible audiobook also features samples of the earliest recordings that Tegan and Sara made at home and school when they were beginning to create and perform original music! Amazing. What the hell was I doing when I was 15?!
Profile Image for Lucy Dacus.
88 reviews11.7k followers
September 17, 2019
Whether you're a lifelong Tegan & Sara fan or not, the book is fantastic. Technically could exist in the 'sex, drugs, and rock and roll' category of musician memoirs, but there's so much heart, honesty, and keenly accurate accounts of growing up queer and frustratingly hopeful.
Profile Image for Meike.
1,445 reviews2,193 followers
October 12, 2019
This immersive, fun memoir, told in 46 short chapters alternating between the viewpoints of Tegan and Sara, gives us the story of how the Canadian indie pop twin sensation came into being: After a short set-up we meet the Quin sisters at the start of grade 10 and follow them until their 18th birthday, the day they signed with PolyGram. We hear about their family, the trials and tribulations of high school life, what it means to be a twin, how they discovered and learnt to accept their sexuality (both sisters are gay), and how they started to make music - and while this book addresses serious issues like self-acceptance, drugs, discrimination, bullying and even violence, it's a blast to read all those vignettes and look at the numerous photographs that illustrate the written memories.

Unsurprisingly, the viewpoints of Tegan and Sara do not always align, so their statements are not always congruent, plus the fact that the chapters are crafted like flashlights leads to the effect that things and people appear, disappear, and re-appear without explanation, but that's part of the concept. The memoir also conveys the stories behind some songs, and I guess most of them will be on the upcoming album "Hey, I'm Just Like You" (release date 09/27/2019) which is announced to contain "lost" songs from the time they were in high school. Until then, you can check out the Spotify playlist "Class of '98" that accompanies the book (and that I particulary liked because I am not that much younger than Tegan and Sara, so I could relate to the music on that list and the overall cultural moment they are describing in the book).

If you want to get an idea of how much work and love has apparently gone into this memoir, check out the website for the book - and here are some of the most outrageous book blurbs ever! :-)

“High School provides a purview of the queer adolescent experience. It is a story of two resilient young women who found their voices through authenticity, connection to others, music, and apparently a lot of experimentation with psychedelics.”
- Mom

"This is the best account of my life I've ever read!"
- girlfriend from high school

"Tegan and I did a project on Mussolini in high school and we spelled Mussolini wrong - hope they hired a good editor!"
- best friend from high school
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,111 reviews1,373 followers
October 29, 2019
Tegan and Sara's High School is divided into five sections: tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade, with shorter sections for the summers in between, and the twins take turns writing the chapters within each section. I'll admit to some initial uncertainty about whether this memoir was for me: There was a lot of acid-dropping in tenth grade, and their depiction of being bullied and their general misfit-ness was surely authentic, but the whole thing was bringing me down. Fortunately, this all changed when the sisters finally found their stepfather's old guitar and started writing songs. The book came alive as Tegan and Sara themselves came alive when they started making their own music. The descriptions of their very early songs led me to YouTube to listen for myself, which led me to their more contemporary stuff to fill in the gaps of my Tegan and Sara knowledge (I'd been a very sporadic fan over the years). This musical education reminded me that Tegan and Sara are like no one else in the world of contemporary music, and this appreciation further bolstered my enjoyment of the rest of the book. In the end, reading it was a joyful and (dare I say) cathartic experience, and I was sad when it was over. I recommend doing what I did: Read this book with copious doses of Tegan and Sara's music. It'll be like no other reading experience you'll have this year, and that's precisely what will make it great.

Edited to add: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and my ARC came with a spiffy High School–themed mirror to hang in my locker, if only I still had a locker. (Thank god I don't.) Thank you to the publisher. :)
Profile Image for CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian.
1,103 reviews1,323 followers
April 22, 2020
This was an entertaining if a bit underwhelming memoir about Sara and Tegan Quin's years in Calgary grades 10-12. It focused more on their relationships with friends, first girlfriends, and parents than on their discovering playing and writing music, which surprised me. I wanted more details about how they wrote their first songs, especially given that they didn't have any formal training. I think for some people this will evoke memories of their own high school years, but this didn't really happen for me (maybe because my high school experiences were very different from theirs). This memoir feels like it will mostly be of interest to dedicated Tegan and Sara fans, which I would have considered myself 7 years ago or so, but not anymore.

I would definitely recommend the audiobook version read by the authors and with snippets of song demos, home recordings, and an interview they did with each other about the experience writing the book. I think in print this would have been maybe 2 stars for me.

Full review including thoughts about how much I used to love Tegan and Sara on my blog.
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,027 followers
September 28, 2019
Last year would have been the 20 year high school reunion for Tegan & Sara, making them two years behind me in age. Their memoir of those years alternates between the sisters as they tell stories of their family life, fighting over friends, discovering their sexuality, finding a musical voice, and drugs, so many drugs, mostly acid (and they are attempting to be drug-positive, not the usual message!) The pictures are uncanny in the sense that they could have been my classmates in clothing and hairstyle, even though they lived in Calgary. The memoir accompanies an album that comes out the day I posted this review (September 27, 2019,) and I also enjoyed the Spotify playlist of the music they listened to in 1998.

I read another musician memoir earlier this year that was super disappointing but this one is not. It is well organized, personal, and gives an insight into their musical beginnings that I think will be interesting for their fans. And even for people who aren't already fans, the story of twin sisters who both come out in high school and take a lot of drugs is bound to be interesting.

I had a copy from FSG through Netgalley and the book came out September 24, 2019.
Profile Image for Holly (The GrimDragon).
975 reviews231 followers
September 10, 2019
"We cavorted and coalesced under the microscope of infatuation, making even mundane facts seem riveting and essential. A spectrum of colors and feelings and tastes and a kind of touch that I'd only just figured out existed surged through me. I had never considered what it would be like to be in love until I was in it."

I thought about writing this entire review by quoting through Tegan and Sara's extensive lyric catalogue. I mean.. they literally have a lyric for every single emotion known to human-kind, basically.

There is so much I want to say, to express. This is a gorgeous book. Truly! It's brimming with so much beauty and hurt. Pain and passion.

High School is the debut coming-of-age memoir from twin duo, Tegan and Sara Quin. Told through alternating chapters between the two, High School is an introspective look at their formative years growing up in Calgary, dealing with their sexuality, drugs, friendships, bullying, divorce, desires and music. It's about identity and figuring out who the hell you are as an individual. 

As openly queer women in a band, Tegan and Sara have always been vocal in supporting the LGBTQ community. This is their story about coming out and becoming musicians. It's like a yearbook. A moment in time of memories from grade 10 until they turned 18. Experiences that shaped them into the people they are now. How each of them viewed certain sparks in time. Sometimes those viewpoints conflicted, other times the recollections are almost as though it happened to each of them in the exact same way. As if they experienced it through each other. Identical twin energy is intense, after all!

"And in the dark, pressed against the receiver, I found it easier to talk to her than anyone I had ever known. She pried without being pushy, unraveling me slowly. Unsatisfied with an answer I might give to a personal question she had asked, she'd laugh and press me to be more honest. Her directness was disarming, and I wanted to be disarmed. Bit by bit, I passed pieces of myself to her through the telephone lines connecting us, and she did the same."

Books like this that explore things we deal with firsthand and have questions about are incredibly important. It's about not feeling so alone. It's about feeling seen. Heard. Valued. Representation and visibility is crucial.. I wish I had this book back in high school as a bisexual teenager who was struggling to figure out who I was. Where I belonged. Going over some of the same experiences and realizing that I'm not the only one. Y'know?

When I did read nonfiction, it was always about creative types. The misfits and the rebels and the weirdos and the nerds. The ones who didn't fit into any narrow box. Who had to find their place in this world themselves. Who maybe are still struggling to find their place even now.

Tegan and Sara are only a handful of years older than me and are Canadian, so I felt like I related a lot to the time period they reflected on, as well. This could almost have been a trip down memory lane for many of us, I imagine. You know - minus the becoming indie rock badasses and what not!

"My heart has never beat for you the way it did for her."

I hungrily tore through this. It's compulsively readable! This is a band that means so fucking much to me. They are insanely important to my existence. They've been a part of my life for nearly 20 years now. Through the good times and the lowest of the lows. 

Nostalgia and heartache and music. I couldn't get enough of High School (the book, not the hellscape institution. Fuuuck.) I sincerely hope that Tegan and Sara plan to write more books, because I would especially love to read about their early days in the music industry. I just can't get enough of the authentic, raw way that these two icons write.


(Endless thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me a copy!)

**The quotes above were taken from an ARC & are subject to change upon publication**
Profile Image for Ria.
406 reviews54 followers
November 9, 2020
Hi gals, do u listen to girl in red?

Fuck, this book is so fucking pretty. It also contains a fuckton of pictures. Love that.
I can't stop listening to the new Tegan and Sara album.

Yas queen, Kurt Cobain was amazing. Love him too.

The memoir is about the high school years of the twins and the chapters are alternating between the viewpoints of Tegan and Sara. It's the basic coming of age story that contains lez sex, drugs and rock and roll. U know, the usual shit.

I read it while watching Queer As Folk... it's been a fun weekend. We are on lockdown so aside from going to work i have nothing else to do but read lesbian memoirs ✌️.

I heard that the book is being turned into a TV show. Fuck yes bitch.
gif gif
Profile Image for Sam.
261 reviews9 followers
October 4, 2019
Tegan and Sara were the soundtrack of my middle school and high school years. I’ve always been deeply attached to their songs and lyrics, their vulnerability and honesty.

This memoir is such moving insight into their relationship with each other as well as their artistic collaboration. I didn’t want this book to end, I became so immersed in their world.
Profile Image for Lindsay Loson.
393 reviews69 followers
August 28, 2019
"But the older I got, the more I saw the men leaving as irrational, and the women's emotions as the only sensible reactions. From the women, I learned to speak up about the things that were important to me. To brandish my emotions with pride. My voice mattered."

First off, thank you so much to FSG/MCD for this ARC, out 9/24!! Tegan & Sara's music has meant an incredible amount to me over the years, and when I heard that they were coming out with a memoir I was ecstatic! Even though their songs are very emotional and vulnerable, not much is known about how they came to be as a group, and how they eventually went on to (and still) have a lot of success in the music industry. I really enjoyed this memoir, and loved that every chapter switched between Sara and Tegan, and that their original band name was Sara & Tegan, not the other way around!! I found it so interesting that Sara was the one who identified with her sexuality first, and more openly pursued it than Tegan did. This memoir showed the sisters' fears of their sexuality, the impact of their home life on them, and the impact of the people they surrounded themselves with in high school, including the fact that they were identical twins. I can't imagine how hard it must have been being twins but also realizing that you both like girls, and how it made Sara feel as if Tegan was copying her. I also had absolutely no idea how much they fought and often disliked each other growing up, because you never would guess from how they are with each other now. This memoir was eye opening for me, in that the people we tend to idolize struggle with all of the same day to day things we do, and also all the heavier things. I think its amazing that they decided to write about this specific period in their life, but I do wish they had expanded a little more into the people that they are today because it felt like it just ended without any kind of real resolution. I wanted to know how they reconciled with each other and became who they are now, but maybe there will be another book in the future!
Profile Image for Gordon Ambos.
Author 2 books52 followers
September 6, 2021
TW: Drogenkonsum, Mobbing, Homophobie, Essstörung

Bevor ich über das Buch spreche, möchte ich kurz erklären, was Tegan und Sara Quin eigentlich für mich bedeuten. Am 17. Juli 2012 habe ich meine erste Tegan and Sara-CD gekauft, „Sainthood“. Es war der Anfang einer ganz großen Liebe. Schnell habe ich all ihre älteren Alben aus Kanada importieren lassen und habe Unmengen an den Zoll zahlen müssen, doch das war es mir wert. Ich habe mich in den Schwestern wiedererkannt, zu ihnen aufgeblickt und wollte einfach nur so verdammt cool sein wie die beiden. Schnell hat sich „The Con“ als mein Lieblingsalbum herauskristallisiert und ich habe besonders „Floorplan“ so oft gehört, dass mir der Song noch heute durch Mark und Bein geht. 2013 war ich in Offenbach auf der Heartthrob-Tour. Es war meine erstes Konzert und ein magisches Erlebnis, das ich nie wieder vergessen werde. 2017 hatte ich Karten zur Love You To Death-Tour gewonnen und bin in einer Spontanaktion nach Hamburg gefahren, war viel zu spät dran und hatte einen miesen Platz, doch auch dieses Konzert war mega. Bis heute bezeichne ich Tegan and Sara als meine Lieblingsband, weil ich einfach alles bewundere, was sie machen.
„High School“ ist eine Biografie, die sich mit den High School-Jahren der Zwillinge beschäftigt. Sie erzählen von ihrem Familienleben in den 90er Jahren, dem ersten Verliebtsein, Drogeneskapaden und wie sie zur Musik und sich selbst gefunden haben. Dieses Buch versucht nicht zu belehren oder gute Ratschläge zu geben. Es erzählt authentisch und ungeschönt die Geschichte zwei lesbischer Teenager, die mit dem Erwachsenwerden zu kämpfen haben und auch mal die falschen Entscheidungen treffen.
Ich habe jede Seite gefühlt und geliebt.
Profile Image for Bronwyn.
8 reviews4 followers
August 7, 2019
his book is so, so important.

Tegan and Sara's writing is beautiful, haunting, and oh-so-relatable. It's those moments as a queer person where you feel doubt, love, longing, regret. It's those moments as a teenager where you live recklessly, make mistakes, yearn for something more than your high school and your town. As someone who also came of age in Calgary in the 90s, it captures the essence of that particular place and time, of grubby C-Train platforms and cold river plunges, and the icy dark of winter. It captures hours spent on the landline phone, talking to friends and lovers and those who are both and not quite either at the same time. It captures the experience of a queer awakening (well, two, really), in a place and a time in which it was not normalised, and when things passed between others unsaid.

Full disclosure: while I don't know Tegan or Sara personally, I do know some of the people featured prominently in the book, and seeing them through their lens is just so, so interesting and wonderful.

I knew I would love this book, but I didn't know that it would be perhaps the best memoir I've ever read.
Profile Image for vanessa.
960 reviews151 followers
November 11, 2019
Tegan and Sara were special to me during my own high school days (Sainthood was everything), and I still love their music. A lot of this memoir covers their crushes, family, school life, drugs (lots of drugs!), and partying during their high school years. A very small fraction covers the first time they picked up a guitar or started making their own music on cassettes or started playing their own gigs. Personally those were my favorite parts and I wish there was more about the music. It's not to say I didn't enjoy learning about their teen years, I just felt that the way they described their youth wasn't incredibly introspective. Their pains and drama in high school are told in a very literal way: this happened, then this happened, then this happened. It left a bit to be desired. I really liked the last 100ish pages as it was more about them getting their music career started. In their interview at the end of the audiobook they mention that one day they might write a book about their careers; I look forward to that.
Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,015 reviews919 followers
October 14, 2020
This book had been on my to-read list forever, so I was excited when I finally got it in. It was really interesting to read about Tegan and Sara's experience going through high school and eventually having to come out to everyone around them.

I really enjoyed the audiobook because between every chapter they had a song that they wrote during that time in their life. It was cool to see the connections.

"High School is the coming-of-age story of Sara and Tegan Quin, identical twins from Calgary, Alberta, who grew up at the height of grunge and rave culture in the nineties, well before they became the celebrated musicians and global LGBTQ icons we know today. While grappling with their identity and sexuality, often alone, they also faced academic meltdown, their parents’ divorce, and the looming pressure of what might come after high school. Written in alternating chapters from both Tegan's and Sara’s points of view, the book is a raw account of the drugs, alcohol, love, music, and friendship they explored in their formative years."
Profile Image for Jay Gabler.
Author 9 books133 followers
September 25, 2019
Almost ten years ago, I asked Sara Quin, of Tegan and Sara, about the way "your songs about relationships never demonize the person you're singing to, or about; there's always a sense of care even in the wake of something painful."

She responded, "I think that's very accurate as a summation of our music, and how we are as people too. Probably to a fault in my own personal relationships I've struggled with this overpowering compassion." At the time, she implied that she was trying to toughen up a bit, to overcome a sense that one always needs to make someone feel "happy" and "forgiven," no matter what's happened.

Having just read her new memoir, co-written with her sister and bandmate, I have a new appreciation for the roots of that compassion. In our interview she cited the friendship her parents developed even after a divorce, and the book touches on that. Also, though, it gave me — as a cis straight guy — a new appreciation for what it might feel like to be in a relationship with someone when you're both surrounded by people who casually mock your right to feel what you feel, and love who you love.

The authors describe the memoir as their "origin story," and it's of course a must-read for their fans...but it's much more than that, a book you'll want to recommend to everyone you know. It's enlightening, it's entertaining, it's important. It's beautiful, it's maddening, it's unforgettable.

I reviewed High School for The Current.
Profile Image for Kate.
745 reviews49 followers
August 18, 2019
A candid, poignant and insightful coming of age memoir.

For thoes who don't know Teegan and Sara they are a Canadian Indie pop duo. They are also twin sisters. In High School, their first memoir they recount their own high school experience. Sharing stories that highlight their individual struggles with teen angst, family, twin life, identity, self esteem, drinking, depression, drugs, first loves, longing, the confusion and acceptance of their sexuality (both are gay), bullying, music and more.

Really enjoyed this one! I loved the alternating chapters between each sister. Both with a distinct voice. It was interesting to hear how each of them recalled certain circumstances and what they were each thinking when certain events were transpiring. The writing is good. It really transported me back to my teens and the recklessness of youth. Fans of theirs will obviously enjoy this one but its just an overall captivating read. Whether you enjoy memoirs, queer lit, and or celebrity autobiographies. Readers will recognize themselves in these pages.
This will be available September 24th!

Thank You to the publisher for #gifting me this #ARC opinions are my own.

For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong
Profile Image for Misha.
713 reviews8 followers
October 13, 2019
This is already feeling quite nostalgic for me. Tegan and Sara may have been born 6 years later, but we both grew up in the 80s/90s alternative music scenes, listening to the anthems of disaffected queer & questioning youth, with easy access to LSD, and the suburbs burning a hole in our understanding of the possibilities of what life had to offer.
Profile Image for Briar's Reviews.
1,763 reviews497 followers
February 3, 2021
High School by Sara Quin and Tegan Quin is a wonderful biography all about the famous musicians' high school years.

This was a book that really had me hooked despite being a genre I don't jump into too often. I couldn't believe how enchanting and engaging it was! The pictures, the events, the relatable nature... it was all just so good together. Sara and Tegan not only have a talent with telling their story through music, they have the writing bug too.

I've known about Tegan and Sara but have never been a "super fan". I've listened to the odd song and known about some of the awards they've won. They are famous Canadians, so obviously as a Canadian myself I've heard of them. This book has made me realize I want to listen to their music a lot more. They are relatable, inspirational and motivational - and they were once just normal girls living their best lives. It's a relatable and down to earth story about some of the insanity of high school years.

To top it all off, they are LGTBQ+ advocates. They are apart of the community and do a lot of good work for it. They are inspirational figures and have a magical way with their words. Their struggles and journey are really something worth reading about. The high school angst, drugs, the changes and discovery in their sexuality, the changing family dynamics and the beginnings in the music industry are something really cool to read about! It felt like these guys could literally be my next door neighbours or be my buddies. There's also some comedic moments, amazing lines and crazy goofs that make this book transcend to another level of awesome. The on the spot excuses for what they were doing instead of taking drugs or having a little too much fun with their significant others had me chuckling.

Overall, this book was a lovely journey and a great read. I highly recommend it for fans of Tegan and Sara or people just seeking an interesting biography.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Profile Image for Books Around the Corner.
117 reviews15 followers
October 10, 2019
I cannot say enough incredible things about this memoir. For a girl who started listening to Tegan and Sara and met them in a bar when I was 15 and to have this come out now is so incredibly perfect. I will say you have to LISTEN to this book. I felt warm tears running down my cheeks with a smile across my face when I heard the first few notes of the very first recording they did in their room. I love so much that they chose to share the progression of their music even before their first album. If you are a fan or know one LISTEN NOW.
Profile Image for Jacob Kolody.
163 reviews
October 22, 2019
It FELT like I was reading an interesting memoir... so then why was I so uninterested? I found the bits about how Tegan & Sara got their start to be interesting but that was unfortunately at the very end of the novel. The parts about them using drugs and discovering their sexuality were intriguing at first but lost their appeal a few chapters later when I realized it was the same story over and over again (just with different drugs and people replacing the drugs and people from the previous chapters).

Big fan of Tegan and Sara’s music but this memoir fell flat for me.
Profile Image for Kat.
21 reviews1 follower
November 1, 2020
I read this in one sitting. SO GOOD. As they said in an interview about it, it's important to show the confusion and struggles of early queerdom, not just the happy coming-out story. I hadn't listened to their music before reading but now I'm ~obsessed~. Also, it's their experience of high school in the 90's and the nostalgia of how friendships were before we all had social media and cellphones came through strong.
Profile Image for Ɛɾιɳ ẞҽҽ.
102 reviews61 followers
March 30, 2021
FAiR WARNiNG: This review is going to get REALLY GUSHY.

I've loved Tegan Quin and Sara Quin for a very long time. Their awe-inspiring music was a huge part of the soundtrack to my life for many years, accompanying me everywhere I went. My iPod was full of their albums and I used to walk and commute on the TTC a lot when I lived in Toronto (2001 - 2015). That gave me plenty of time to memorize their lyrics and bask in their divine glory 😍

I love them a GAZiLLiON times more after listening to their book, High School. I'm not sure how that's possible but I do.

Tegan and Sara are legends. 🎵🎸🤘:::LEGENDS:::🤘🎸🎵 They've made a massive positive impact, both as musicians and within the LGBTQ community. I'm so glad they exist.

High School was very well-written (perhaps to be expected from talented singer-songwriters), super entertaining, and completely satisfying in every way. They poured their hearts into this book and it's easily one of my favourite memoirs.

Also, the old recordings of their early songs added soooo much to the audio format, which was read aloud by them (thank goodness for that because they have the most beautiful, bewitching voices in the whole universe).

They are GODDESSES. In Every. Single. Way.

GAHHHH. All the stars and all the hearts 💗💛💚💙💜
Profile Image for Alexis.
Author 6 books129 followers
February 7, 2020
Actually enjoyed this book more than I expected to. I'm four years older than Tegan and Sara, so the time period that they were talking about was familiar to me. Tegan and Sara wrote a memoir, alternating chapters, and covering three years, from Grade 10 to Grade 12. During this time, they do a lot of acid, drink, get into fights with each other, fall in love with girls, and struggle with their sexuality, and discover their love for music and writing songs.

I enjoyed the queerness of the book, and their early struggle with their sexuality in the 1990s. I also liked all the details about phone culture and how teenagers were fighting for the phone all the time. There was a lot in this book that I recognized, even though I am not queer.

An enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Dana.
650 reviews9 followers
September 23, 2019
I thoroughly enjoyed this journey, written in alternating chapters from the perspective of each sister. A very detailed look into their lives with a focus not only on their individual struggles, but the obstacles they also faced together. Navigating their sexuality, the secrets, relationships, drugs, etc. I found the look into how they got started with their music career fascinating. Writing their songs, performing for friends, the first gigs. Amazing. Overall I just loved how honest and raw this memoir was. They truly poured their hearts and souls into this and it shows.

A huge thank you to Simon & Schuster for my review copy and for Tegan & Sara for giving us a look into their lives.
Profile Image for Robyn.
366 reviews12 followers
December 5, 2021
I really enjoyed this! It is a proper memoir, a true snapshot in time rather than a typical celebrity essay collection that jumps all over the place, so I liked that a lot. At first the alternating chapters between Sara and Tegan were kind of hard to follow but I caught on eventually. One complaint is I did have a bit of a hard time keeping track of who their friends were and I think sometimes I straight up missed the introductions of certain people because all of a sudden they were talking about e.g. Wendy and I was like wait, who is Wendy???

It was very 90's (omg THE PICTURES!!), and captured the angst and bittersweetness of teenage life very well. While their high school lives were VERY different from mine, it still felt relatable. Their musical origin story is so cool, I loved learning about it.

It did end somewhat abruptly (as does high school though) and the epilogue packed in a lot of emotions and happenings to come - I'd read the next volume for sure, if that is in the plan. If not, I'm still happy they shared this period of their life with us!

I'm not like, a HUGE fan of Tegan and Sara, though I do enjoy their music and have been to one of their shows, so I can say that you don't have to be a major fan and know everything about them to enjoy the book. I'd recommend it to anyone looking to relive high school in the 90's in Canada (maybe that's not a very good sell, haha).

On that note, anyone else notice how characters in books set in Western Canadian cities (except Vancouver) spend so much time DRIVING? It just seems so obvious when you read it on nearly every page. We have designed a real hellscape in our cities.
Profile Image for Tasnim Azad.
10 reviews
September 30, 2019
I devoured this book as I have consumed anything Tegan and Sara since age 16. I enjoyed reminiscing and feeling nostalgic about my own high school years. I think some of the memories are ubiquitous to growing up in the suburbs, gay, or both, like passing notes carefully folded in class, long phone calls as your family demands use of the landline, your parents, cool or not, asking you to be honest about where you got that hickey from. I laughed at the absurdity of the teens’ big feelings and time wasted, and I teared up when their family went through painful changes. I loved this book as I do Tegan and Sara, but I have a feeling that anyone who thinks about and enjoys music and memoirs and reflections of youth will too. At least I hope so because I’m requiring my girlfriend to read it.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 894 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.