Synopses & Reviews
Jeremiah Reskin has big plans for tenth grade—he wants to make some friends and he wants to take a girls shirt off. Its not going too well at first, but when he meets a group of semibohemian outcasts, things start to change. Soon hes negotiating his way through group back rubs and trying to find the courage to make a move on Renee Shopmaker, the hottest girl in school. At the behest of his composition teacher, Jeremys also chronicling everything in his own novel—a disastrously ungrammatical but unflinching look at sophomore year.
From the Hardcover edition.
"In a coming-of-age story ultimately shaped by sexual awakening, Mr. Weisberg fondly and hilariously brings every tiny detail to life." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Weisberg has written a charming, utterly American first novel." Maureen McLane, Chicago Tribune
Now in paperback: a perfect re-creation of a school year in the life of an endearing teenager is told with all the comma splices, danglers, run-on sentences--and heroic fantasies--that typify the normal derangements of adolescence.
About the Author
Joseph Weisberg was born and raised in Chicago and now lives in New York City. He wrote his first short story, “The Mid-Life Crisis Exploits,” when he was twelve. 10th Grade
is his first novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
Reading Group Guide
1. 10th Grade
begins with a camping trip in the Grand Teton mountains. What is the significance of this particular mountain range, and how does it hint at Jeremys coming struggles?
2. Jeremy doesnt have a single friend at the beginning of tenth grade. He seems like a nice kid. Why has he had so much trouble socially in previous years?
3. Does Jeremy have a close relationship with his family? His conversations with his parents often dont seem to address things directly, but is there some other kind of important communication going on between them?
4. Jeremy writes with horrible grammar, and he cant place a comma correctly to save his life. Is he a bad writer? Why did the author choose to have Jeremy write this way?
5. Jeremy likes to talk to Gillian about love and other important matters. What is it about these conversations that is so appealing to him?
6. Jeremy mentions several times that hes not interested in Caroline romantically. Is he telling the truth? Can you be attracted to someone and not attracted to them at the same time?
7. Whats so great about Renee? Is Jeremy in love with her just because shes beautiful? Is he really in love with her?
8. Jeremy writes that he has a “healthy curiosity” about pornography. What does he learn from his foray into New York City to buy “French Lust?”
9. Jeremy abandons Gillian and her group of friends for a more popular clique. Is this just an example of social climbing, or was something else going on? Should Jeremy have stayed with his original group of friends?
10. After deciding not to smoke marijuana with “the Gillian group,” Jeremy does try pot for the first time with Renee. Why does he change his mind about experimenting with drugs?
11. Jeremy claims that hes not going to describe his final encounter with Lenea in detail because its “2 peoples business.” Is this the real reason he fails to explain exactly what happens between them? What do you think took place in the bedroom?
12. Would you describe 10th Grade as a happy story, or a sad one? How do you think Jeremy will look back on his sophomore year?