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High School Confidential: Secrets of an Undercover Student

3.08  ·  Rating details ·  507 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
It's spring semester at Mirador High in Southern California, and twenty-four-year-old Jeremy Iversen is going deep undercover to deliver the real deal about the dull classes and fast times of American teens today.

Trading in his suit and tie for jeans and skater shoes, Iversen posed as a senior transfer student. He took six classes five days a week, dissected a cat, got s
ebook, 464 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by Atria Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 26, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The author needs to grow up and realize his life is in front of him, NOT behind him.

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
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: love
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
Dec 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Anna Karras
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
Sarah Catherine
Jul 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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
Dalton Jackson
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Roxanne Nichols
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Jul 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Nov 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
teachers need to read this.
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-reads
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.
Aug 08, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Nov 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmm, not so sure how I felt about this one.

So Jeremy Iverson goes undercover as a senior in an Orange County high school to expose what high school is like these days. Well, actually not really. He really wanted to go because he didn't want to get a normal job after college, but hey, I don't really blame him. And he wanted to experience high school as part of the "me generation" instead of his generation, which was apparently anti-teenager (right in between the John Hughes 80's movies and the m
Dec 08, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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!
Nov 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It sure is an interesting idea for a book (posing as a highschool student and then hitting us with an "insider's look"), although as the author points out, Cameron Crowe did it first when he posed as a highschool student to get some insider info for "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" (and honestly, this author deserves a lot of credit for pulling this off, since Cameron did it back in the late 70's when nobody had heard of liability yet & schools could still do pretty much whatever they wanted. ...more
Aug 29, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I find it hard to believe that high school in Kentucky and high school in California can be SOOOO different. Perhaps I'm still operating under the idealistic worldview common to younger teachers. Iverson's book really stretches in terms of credibility, in my opinion. Since we follow the antics of only a handful of students at a pretty large So Cal school, I'm assuming that what we have here is the most "dramatic" of the bunch -- because otherwise it would be boring. Only a handful of teachers ar ...more
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 24, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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Madison Mega-Mara...: high school confidential 1 3 Aug 10, 2012 07:04PM  
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