BookPage Teen Top Pick, November 2018
Cutthroat. Ruthless. Unpredictable. That’s modern politics, but it’s also modern high school. In Gordon Jack’s satirical novel, Your Own Worst Enemy, three candidates fight dirty to be Lincoln High’s next student-body president.
Stacey Wynn was supposed to have this in the bag. She’s running unopposed, and after all, who has done more for this California high school than she? She champions all the clubs, attends all the spirit rallies, and she hands out free cupcakes—off school grounds and in accordance with the state’s strict nutritional policy, of course.
With her best friend and campaign advisor, Brian, by her side, Stacey thinks that all she needs to do is rehearse her acceptance speech—until Julia Romero, a new student and French-Canadian immigrant, shows up and throws her hat into the ring. The race gets even more complicated when Chinese-American Tony Guo, a stoner and slacker, is manipulated by a Steve Bannon-esque freshman into running on a populist platform.
What should have been a quiet election turns into a circus of misinformation, fake news and low-down tactics. Will the best candidate for the job win?
Jack succeeds in using the microcosm of high school to explore the complexities of race, privilege and class as it relates to the American political process. And through multiple points of view (the three candidates, Brian and his troubled brother), readers get a sense of the personal stakes involved for everyone in the political arena. While the current political landscape is polarized, Your Own Worst Enemy reminds us that hope lies with the younger generations.