Let’s throw a party for “Party School”


Emily Myers, Features Editor

One thing you don’t have to tell Jon Hart about his book “Party School” is that he has to “Make it better!” (as a character in the book frequently says). Hart’s first novel truly knocked it out of the park, delivering the comedic and relatable story of Dylan Mills as he transitions into college. 

Dylan, known for saying he’ll “get around to it” and then never getting around to it, is leaving his rich and spoiled town and his favorite job at the Luncheonette. What he didn’t expect was his girlfriend, Rosemary, to leave him too. 

Arriving at North South (a college that his town looks down upon), heartbroken and alone, Dylan doesn’t have much hope for the semester. His “room” is a renovated closet and the best food option on campus is hummus made by a man named Quarters, who also attends classes.

His journey through his first college semester is broken up by months, and spans many different life and school events. He learns what the sport vert disc is, becomes friends with the guys in room 402 (unofficially 420), streaks across a football field to be initiated into a motorcycle club, and becomes his quirky teacher Berkowitz’s biggest fan. 

When he comes home and a cheating scandal erupts involving many people in his town that paid to have their test scores improved, including Rosemary, Dylan comforts her and immediately is faced with the “us” they used to be. When he gets accepted into the school he was waitlisted at, a school his town respects, he’s faced with something else: a decision. 

Does he accept the offer from the school that would please his town and get back together with Rosemary? Or does he realize that he’s grown since high school, despite his constant refusal to admit it?

The book, written in a way that has the reader mostly inside of Dylan’s head, reminiscent of “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, keeps you engaged the entire time. Hart makes you feel for the characters, and you only want the best for Dylan by the end. You can’t ever predict what’s going to happen, which is similar to how life works during such an unknown time. 

I recommend this book especially to seniors, who are entering the same era of their lives as Dylan. It showed me a perspective of a new college student, and offered insight into some of the problems one can face. 

“Party School” exceeds expectations and is a great book that keeps you wanting more.