SURVIVING HIGH SCHOOL by Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz is a “fictional memoir” based on the high school experiences of Vine star Lele Pons. It follows her when she transfers from her small Catholic private school to a much larger public school, Miami High.
Things don’t go so well for Lele when she first transfers and her experience navigating a new social scene with a completely different culture from her previous High School is both entertaining and endearing. Lele swings between overconfidence and crippling self-doubt while narrating her own story in a unique and hilarious voice. Interspersed between the events of her junior year are behind the scenes looks at her vine process and her path to “internet famous."
The supporting characters, friends Darcy and Alexei, frenemy Yvette, and her family all add their own hilarious commentary to Lele and her life. They are also a vital part of connecting to the story, it’s hard for me to connect to Lele’s experiences of achieving internet fame but their reactions, concerns, and genuine excitement over her successes felt genuine and honest.
What Left Me Wanting More:
There are times, specifically in her interactions with Darcy and Alexei, that felt preachy, like the authors wanted to be sure there was a lesson to be learned here. Conflict felt resolved a little too easily and every interaction felt tied up with a bow.
For example, Darcy and Lele get into over their grades on a recent math quiz. While Darcy does well, Lele fails. Lele ends up lighting Darcy’s quiz on fire, which promptly lands her in the Principals office. After a few tears and a cheesy speech about learning to be happy for her friends, the principal sends her on her way with nothing but a warning. On the very next page, Darcy forgives her because she “admires her confidence” and they’re off to the movies, all the drama behind them.
Unfortunately, almost all conflict is outlined in a similar fashion which made the narrative feel choppy with no real stakes raised for the plot.
The Final Verdict:
SURVIVING HIGH SCHOOL by Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz is a hilarious telling of one girls story from socially awkward high school loser to Queen Bee through the power of the internet (and a few good shopping sprees.) Lele’s unique voice will make you laugh out loud and want to rewatch all her crazy vines.