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Suddenly they go from striving for A’s to barely passing, from fretting about cooties to obsessing for hours about crushes. Former chatterboxes answer in monosyllables; freethinkers mimic everything from clothes to opinions. Their bodies and psyches morph through the most radical changes since infancy. They are kids in the middle-school years, the age every adult remembers well enough to dread.
Here at last is an up-to-date anthropology of this critically formative period. Prize-winning education reporter Linda Perlstein spent a year immersed in the lunchroom, classrooms, hearts, and minds of a group of suburban Maryland middle schoolers and emerged with this pathbreaking account. Perlstein reveals what’s really going on under kids’ don’t-touch-me facade while they grapple with schoolwork, puberty, romance, and identity. A must-read for parents and educators, Not Much Just Chillin’ offers a trail map to the baffling no-man’s-land between child and teen.
“Perlstein’s interpretation of what’s going on inside [middle schooler’s] hormone-charged world is information every educator and parent should have. . . . A fascinating and important book.”
“Chillin’ may not make parents feel more comfortable about early adolescence’s arrival in their household, but it will certainly make them more prepared.”
–The New York Times