Simon Pulse, January 2011
Hardcover, 272 pages
Grades: 9 and up
Hailey Kendrick always does exactly what's expected of her. She has the right friends, dates the perfect boy, gets good grades, and follows all the rules. But one night, Hailey risks everything by breaking a very big rule in a very public way...and with a very unexpected partner in crime. Hailey gets caught, but her accomplice does not, and Hailey takes the fall for both of them.
Suddenly, Hailey's perfect life--and her reputation--are blowing up in her face. Her friends are all avoiding her. Her teachers don't trust her. Her boyfriend won't even speak to her for long enough to tell her that she's been dumped.
They say honesty is the best policy--but some secrets are worth keeping, no matter the cost. Or are they?
From the first chapter, I really enjoyed the flow of Eileen Cook's writing. There was a great balance of teen elements that did not seem either so harsh or so pure that they were unrealistic. I also really liked the main character here. Despite attending an elite school, Hailey was focused on a real career. She was aware of having privileges but wasn't one to flaunt them. This fictional character felt genuine to me....complete with fallabilities.
With Hailey doing her best to keep a tight lip on her own feelings and trying to please everyone else, it was only a matter of time before it all blew up. I think this made her easy to identify with... at least for me. The problem with this type of person...the one that holds it all inside...is that when it lets loose, that fallout can be dangerous. I was actually ticked off with Hailey for how her actions affected Tristan; he seemed like such a nice guy!
But, in the end, Hailey had her own lessons to learn and part of it was that, sometimes, other people get hurt and you can't avoid it forever. It was fun to watch this learning curve in action, though. The character of Drew was a very welcome addition to the mix. The Education of Hailey Kendrick was, for me, a quick, enjoyable read with some quirky humour and lots of relatable emotions.