Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy, by Kate Hattemer (book review) – reality TV + high school = yikes!

book cover of Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer published by Knopf Books for Young ReadersA reality show in the arts high school?
Who really thought this was a good idea?
Who’s profiting from the TV crew’s invasion…hmm?

Inspired by their study of  The Cantos by Ezra Pound, Ethan and friends risk expulsion to get their protest Contracantos into classmates’ hands:

“The Serpent Vice betrays our cause.
He trades appraisal for applause.
True art is beauty; beauty, truth.
But For Art’s Sake is low, uncouth.
It sells our talent, vends our youth.”

Find this April 2014 release now at your local library or independent bookstore so you can decide whether “For Art’s Sake” reality show is awe-inspiring or awful, and meet fearless gerbil Baconnaise, as well.


Book info: The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy / Kate Hattemer. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As a reality show invades their arts high school, four friends strike back with poetic declarations against its disruptions and unethical editing.

Being somewhat talented among Selwyn’s prodigies stresses Ethan plenty, but when the reality show based at their school makes his longed-for Maura look bad for a national audience, the teen gets angry.

When Luke’s investigative article questioning Selwyn Academy’s financial arrangements with “For Art’s Sake” is banned from the Cantos school paper, he’s fighting mad.

As Luke, Ethan, Elizabeth and Jackson quietly post their Contracantos protest poems around school, the administration wants to stamp them out.

It may be up to Ethan and talented gerbil Baconnaise to make sure that the final Contracantos are published as classmates are voted off the show (“there’s just one full scholarship”) and creative editing alters every scene.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on

What do you think?

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