“Party School” – Book Review


Nicholas Yoo, Editor-in-Chief

Jon Hart’s debut coming-of-age novel, Party School, transports the reader through a wild journey following one college freshman who is trying to find his place in his community and who he really is, having grown up in a community with social and academic pressures from all angles. Hart writes with conviction and shares with his audience that ultimately, “it’s not college which you attend, but what you make of it.” 

Hart’s protagonist is high school senior Dylan Mills is the typical, average student. In his affluent and upscale town of Castleton, every corner is filled with overzealous kids vying for admission to “it” schools, rich kids hosting parties at their mansions, and romantic relationships being made and broken faster than you can say the word, “love.”

But Dylan does not fit Castleton’s mold.  He isn’t going to an “it” school. He’s neither rich nor does he fancy himself a party-goer.  And his relationship with Rosemary Silversmith is the only stable pillar in his life, or at least he thinks so. To Dylan, she is the one thing that he got “right” in his life. 

Yet, Rosemary appears to be the polar opposite of Dylan in many ways. She’s going to a “cool school”—a school that other parents want their own children to attend. She is smart and has potential, and even though she tries to hide it, she is embarrassed by Dylan’s attending a party school, North-South. 

When their freshman year of college begins, their “forever-relationship” starts to fracture. Dylan finds himself struggling with his college classes—even forgetting to register for them initially—trying to fit into various social cliques, and trying to find value in his “Castleton-deemed” party school while remembering where his roots truly are.

This book is an excellent summer read for high school students who are looking for an entertaining and compelling read.  The plot and characters hold the reader’s attention and present relatable issues to those in or about to engage in the college search process.  Hart’s Party School is not a tale to miss. 

More About the Author: 

Hart’s first book, Man versus Ball: One Ordinary Guy and His Extraordinary Sports Adventures (manversusball.com), is non-fiction. Man versus Ball chronicles Hart’s unique, often funny sports adventures, from hawking hot dogs at Yankee Stadium to suiting up for a championship semi-pro football team, to being a U.S. Open ballperson for three years. Soon, Hart will release his follow-up to Man versus Ball, Unfortunately, I Was Available, which chronicles his hilarious experiences in the entertainment industry, including being a roadie for a notorious rock band, to shoveling snow for the Super Bowl, to being an extra on an Adam Sandler movie for ten days and nights. Hart has published work in several venues, including The New York Times, the New York Post and Time Out New York. He is currently at work on his second novel.