Bamberger spends a year at Pennsbury High in eastern Pennsylvania. It's a large school, with nearly 5000 students, and is particularly well-known locally for its prom, an elaborate event for which the entire school building is decorated; much of Bamberger's book focuses on that prom and the preparations that go into it. The book is well written, and Bamberger does a nice job of bringing his characters to life.
But here's the problem: He's chosen to focus almost exclusvely on the school's elite -- the quarterback, the junior class president, the president of the prom committee -- instead of giving us a really well rounded picture of the student body. It's like portraying America as populated entirely by CEOs and Congressmen.
Bamberger doesn't even seem to be aware that there might be other students in the school, and on the rare occasions that they do come into view, he accepts without question the idea that they are somehow less interesting or deserving than the golden children he's focused on.
Take, for instance, quarterback Bobby Speer, whom Bamberger calls (unironically) "Pennsberry's prince." He volunteers to help paint sets for the school musical, and Bamberger tells us Bobby "smudged the line between athlete and thespian" by actually speaking to the drama and music kids. This is reported as a great act of noblesse oblige; it doesn't occur to Bamberger to wonder why there's such a division between the groups, or to question the fact that Bobby's involvement in the musical (limited and tangential though it is) is universally seen as slumming. And it certainly doesn't occur to Bamberger to ask any of the artistic students how they feel about the fact that the quarterback has deigned to speak to their lowly selves.
If you want a look at the lives of the in crowd, this will do nicely, but it's a shame that Bamberger's focus is so limited; he missed the opportunity to tell a less common and (if only because less common) more interesting story.