Cover image for Wonderland : a year in the life of an American high school
Wonderland : a year in the life of an American high school
Bamberger, Michael, 1960-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
viii, 207 pages ; 24 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.6 12.0 107106.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ799.72.P4 B35 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Bamberger, a senior writer for "Sports Illustrated," introduces an extraordinary group of everyday kids whose stories are touching, odd and funny in this snapshot of America's youth reaching for ritual and meaning in these rapidly changing times.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Pennsbury is a typical, middle-class American high school not particularly distinguishable from others except for its larger-than-life prom productions. For more than 30 years, the school has carried on a tradition of such elaborate proms that it attracts occasional media attention, and neighbors line up to watch the parade of promgoers who have in past years passed by in cement mixers and dogsleds. Eschewing hotels and banquet halls, Pennsbury students hold their prom at the school but with extraordinary fanfare and decorations. Bamberger focuses on the prom from its planning in September until the big night in May, chronicling what compels students, parents, and teachers to invest so much of themselves in the prom and exploring what the productions signify about life in contemporary America. Among those he follows: Matt, who has progressed from the class clown to class president, and Stephanie and Rob, new teen parents who must find a baby-sitter so they can attend the prom. Bamberger's account is an amusing and insightful look at an American rite of passage. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

For the last 30 years, Pennsbury High, a huge public school in Fairless Hills, Pa., has staged such an over-the-top senior prom that thousands of local residents turn out on prom night just to watch the seniors enter their "Wonderland." Bamberger, a Sports Illustrated senior writer, spent a school year with Pennsbury's seniors, recording their "true-life" stories. Since prom planning starts in September and climaxes in May, the event is both a good hook for readers and a convenient organizational device for various subplots that develop month by month. Will up-and-coming musician John Mayer finally agree to play for the prom? Will Rob and Stephanie still go to the prom, now that they're parents of a newborn baby? Will Lindsey keep co-chairing the prom committee even though she needs heart surgery? Bamberger cuts from one subplot to the next like a seasoned TV soap director, breaking away from each story just when it gets juicy. While much of the drama is about who's attracted to whom (high school kids are "on display, like mating birds"), for variety there's an ace student involved in a drinking death, another coping with cerebral palsy, some with college admissions problems, one or two kids planning for upward mobility via sports, plus a few faculty members with their own issues. Bamberger's teens may not be 100% typical, but they offer a good window onto at least a segment of contemporary teen culture. Agent, Kris Dahl. (June) FYI: The book has been optioned by Paramount Pictures. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved