A coming to age Novel by Jon Hart

Guadalupe Leon, Staff Writer

“Party School” book cover by Jon Hart

Acceptance is what people seek throughout their lifetimes. To be accepted, people often buy items out of their price range to be perceived as better off or more desired by their peers. In addition, people will often attempt to change their physical features and personality traits and adopt hobbies to be seen as more successful or intelligent.  

It is truly crazy to see what lengths people will go to feel as if they belong.  

“Party School,” written by Jon Hart, is a humorous coming-of-age story that discusses our society’s fixation on brands. Society’s focus on various brands, which could be clothing, electronic, or even social, has detrimental effects on ones self-esteem.  

Through Party School, readers witness the main protagonist, Dylan Mills, journey as he attends college and discovers who he is beyond what is expected of him. His relationship with his girlfriend, Rosemary Smith, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mills, demonstrates the power of genuine love and infatuation.  

“Party School” is filled with very different characters from contrasting backgrounds. However, one of the most memorable characters has to be Wally. Wally is what most people today would call a “Golden Retriever.,” He has a kind, natural energy to him, and with the number of times, he says “Dude,” he is most definitely a Californian.  

Wally is Dylan’s closest friend, who is there to listen whenever he has problems; he is always willing to listen and help Dylan study despite his own personal issues. Even though Wally has had a tough life, he lives daily in a proud, honest manner, always blatantly honest about his background and goals. He is proud of how far he has come and does not allow anyone to deter him.  

Jon Hart, the writer of “Party School,” who also wrote “Man versus Ball,” graduated from the University of Vermont. He states that Wally was “based on an enigma.,” Wally’s character, according to him, was waiting to come out, and he decided to include him in this book because he wanted to see his “warm smile” looking back at him from his computer screen.  

None of Hart’s characters were based on real people from his personal life.  

Hart states he wrote “Party School” because he “wanted an underdog story with dark humor,” and he wanted to make people “laugh so hard they didn’t make it to the restroom in time.”  

Hart, with his book, wanted to discuss school shaming, stating he had seen school shaming from “parents, colleagues, it exists throughout our lifetimes.,”  

Hart was hoping to address society’s obsession with brands and tried to drive forth that it’s not the “brand of the school but the character of the student.”  

Overall, “Party School” is a fantastic anti-romantic comedy. Dylan’s feelings of uncertainty throughout the book are feelings every reader can relate to. Dylan’s journey with school is captivating, leaving readers feeling conflicted over how they feel toward certain characters. Dylan’s devotion and love towards his high school girlfriend lead readers to root for him and his relationship. However, Rosemary’s treatment, embarrassment, and resentment towards North High, Dylan’s college, leaves a nasty taste in a reader’s mouth.  

This book is genuinely one that grabs the audience by the shirt and demands that they keep reading. A great summer read.