Folded Notes from High School Review

Synopsis from Penguin Young Readers:

A status-obsessed senior unexpectedly falls for a freshman because of his Danny Zuko audition in their high school’s production of Grease in this outrageously funny epistolary novel set in 1991.

The folded notes collected for this book represent correspondence surrounding one Tara Maureen Murphy, senior at South High c. 1991-1992.

It’s 1991, and Tara Maureen Murphy is finally on top. A frightening cross between Regina George and Tracy Flick, Tara Maureen Murphy is any high school’s worst nightmare, bringing single-minded ambition, narcissism, manipulation, and jealousy to new extremes in this outrageous, satirical twist on the coming-of-age novel. She’s got a hot jock boyfriend in Christopher Patrick Caparelli, her best friend Stef Campbell by her side, and she’s a SENIOR, poised to star as Sandy in South High’s production of Grease. Clinching the role is just one teensy step in Tara’s plot to get out of her hometown and become the Broadway starlet she was born to be. She’s grasping distance from the finish line–graduation and college are right around the corner–but she has to remain vigilant.

It gets trickier with the arrival of freshman Matthew Bloom, whose dazzling audition for the role of Danny Zuko turns Tara’s world upside down. Freshmen belong in the chorus, not the spotlight! But Tara’s outrage is tinged with an unfamiliar emotion, at least to her: adoration. And what starts as a conniving ploy to “mentor” young Matt quickly turns into a romantic obsession that threatens to topple Tara’s hard-won status at South High….

About: Folded Notes from High School is a young adult fiction written by Matt Boren. It was recently published on 4/3/18 by Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House, paperback, 385 pages. The genres are young adult, romance, fiction, and social issues. This book is intended for readers ages 12 and up, grades 7 and up. This book is the author’s debut. According to Penguin’s website, “Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House, is committed to taking risks and exploring new ways to tell stories. Razorbill is home to a broad-ranging young adult hardcover fiction, middle-grade titles, and nonfiction.” Penguin Random House is the world’s largest trade book publisher and its mission is “to foster a universal passion for reading by partnering with authors to help create stories and communicate ideas that inform, entertain, and inspire, and to connect them with readers everywhere.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.

My Experience: I started reading Folded Notes from High School on 5/31/18 and finished it on 6/2/18. This book is an interesting read. Definitely fun to read private letters between high schoolers. I do wonder what other classmates are writing to their friends about as I’m also writing to my friends. I love the idea for this book with folded notes because I also did that back in high school. The folding of the notes and the passing to friends between classes was fun. This book didn’t include the excitement of writing in class, folding the notes, passing the notes in the hallways, and sneaking a read during class, but instead focus on the contents of the notes itself. I do like the references to what’s happening in the 90’s. I like the mention of using a Walkman to listen to music and making mixed tapes of songs as gifts. I did that too!

This book is told in a “folded notes” format with Tara Maureen Murphy writing to her boyfriend Christopher Patrick Caparelli (CPC) and replying to him after he wrote one to her. There are notes between Matthew (Matt) Bloom and Tara and notes from Tara to her best friend Stephanie Campbell. These notes are passed to each other in the high school hallways as a way of communication between 1991 to 1992, Tara’s senior year. Matt is CPC’s neighbor and new to high school. Tara wants to be nice to CPC’s neighbor and decides to write a welcome note to him. This book is organized by the school’s timeline, beginning with Sept 1991, at the start of the school year and every month after that. One day when Tara’s note to Matt ends up on Pam’s table, Pam decided to read it. Then Pam wrote a note to Tricia and Tricia wrote a note to Deena, and on. Just when the drama reaches its peak, it dies down and stop! J to the K! (It means… well read this book to find out!)

This book is well written and definitely has the voices of high school students. The main character, Tara, who thinks highly of herself, is very whiny and looks down on everyone. She talks bad about other people a lot. On rare moments, Tara seems to be vulnerable and says some meaningful things. I like how Tara is good at averting confrontation and avoid shouting back when she’s being told off. I like Matt’s positive outlook on life and on achieving what he wants. I like Matt’s letter to Pammy and him telling her off as well as his final letter to Tara. I like Stephanie and her positive attitude, especially giving people a chance and seeing the good in everything. The pages inside the book would’ve been awesome if it was printed with lines from a notebook or stationary paper. The high school drama that goes on with and around Tara is a fast paced read and I highly recommend everyone to read it.

Pro: easy to read, fast paced, page turner, humor, 90’s vibes, dating, folded notes, friendships

Con: none

I rate it 5 stars!

Buy it here for free shipping: Book Depository or Penguin’s Website

About the Author:

Matt Boren has written on over eighty-five episodes of television for Melissa and Joey, See Dad Run, Sofia the First, among others. Boren has acted in many projects in both film and television, including for nine seasons as Stuart on How I Met Your Mother. He lives in Los Angeles, CA, with his family. Folded Notes from High School is his first novel. Follow him on Twitter @Borentown (Info obtained from Penguin’s website and photo obtained from Folded Notes’ Facebook).

***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Penguin Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.


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