Since young adult literature often features young adults as protagonists, it's not really surprising that a number of the stories are set in high school. But what draws people to read about this setting? I know I've read a number of posts/interviews where bloggers and authors alike reveal that they hated high school.
I've got a secret: I loved it.
And yeah, I like college better, but I had no problems with high school. Academically, I was a total geek and something of a teacher's pet. I did various UIL Academic events, specializing in Number Sense and Mathematics. (For those who don't live in Texas, the UIL sets the rules for interschool competition, for everything from athletics to band to academics. Also, Number Sense is a ten minute, eighty question mental math test - no scratch paper, no crossing out or erasing. It's more fun than it sounds, promise.) Heck, I went to State in it. And most everyone in my class knew that I was going to be valedictorian because my GPA was too high to overcome.
I was also quasi-popular.
Really, I don't know if I would've been so socially accepted at another high school. (Example: My class's prom queen was also a drum major.) Cliques were pretty diffuse, with people belonging to a number of groups. I can, off the top of my head, name at least six different social circles that I was a central member of, and I can think of many more in which I was welcome. I don't recall there being a king or queen of the high school, nor someone everyone knew was unpopular. Generally, people had at least a couple of friends. And someone was once thrown through a window during a fight, but there wasn't a bullying problem despite the rising gang activity.
I played an acorn with a bizarre voice in my friends' skit in the Senior Show. It was an adaptation a children's story the guy playing the onion wrote, which we wrote an epilogue to in order to turn it into an allegory for the plight of the indepented male entreprenuer. The other characters were a baked good and the narrator. One of two "sets" consisted of a poster reading: The Dark Forest (You can't see it because it's dark.). We got a standing ovation.
Despite the fact I was social with a number of people, I never went to a "teen party" during high school. (I did go to some sleepovers and such, but the wildest things we drank were Pixy Stix in Sprite Remix.) From talking to my other friends, none of them did either. I was sort-of friends with a cheerleader, who I learned did drink for the first time the day before graduation while she was doing my make-up and hair for graduation.
So I think I like a lot of fictional high schools because they're nothing like my own, which wasn't a great catalyst for drama. There were some dramas, like when one of my groups of friends split because the two leaders got into an argument - it was awkward for a couple of months for the four or so of us that remained friends with both sides.
What were ya'll's high school (or equivalent) experiences like? Did it resemble anything in a book or movie, or was it completely different? Did you love it or hate it? How disjointed was my ramble?