Saturday, April 3, 2010


Fine, Susan.  Initiation.  Woodbury, Minn.: Flux, 2009.  ISBN: 9780738714660.  $9.95.  

When Mauricio Londono begins his freshman year at St. Stephen's School he feels optimistic, hopeful, and full of a renewed sense of purpose.  This is the best preparatory school in all of New York City.  It is the institution where the privileged and wealthy send their children.  Mauricio feels St. Stephen's will afford him opportunities he would never be able to attain in public school.  In fact, he feels that St. Stephen's will not only give him the best education money can buy, he also believes this is his chance to lay the foundation for becoming wealthy and privileged himself. 

Yet, all of Mauricio's optimism is crushed within the first few minutes of crossing St. Stephen's doors.  Here he sees the next four years of his academic life as rather lonely.  He doesn't know anyone and everyone seems to know each other.  Mauricio's hopes of finding a new life sink away faster than he can make himself try to fade into the background of St. Stephen's first assembly.  His goals shift from finding a privileged life to strictly surviving high school. 

Mauricio's initiation into St. Stephens goes beyond blending into the student body and trying to make friendships.  It also incorporates the knowledge and experiences he acquires as he progresses throughout the school year, where friends aren't always who they appear to be and where what appears to be occurring on the surface is just masking the drama and backstabbing floating underneath. 

Initiation has been reviewed in School Library Journal

This book would be a great read for anyone who enjoyed Robert Corimier's The Chocolate War