Today marks the release of Jennifer Miller’s stellar debut novel The Year of the Gadfly, a tale of prep school scandal and secret societies starring a very precocious young lady named Iris Dupont, whose best and only friend is the chain-smoking ghost of famed broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow. If it sounds weirdly wonderful, it is — Iris would kill us for using a cliché here, but we can’t help but call the novel compulsively readable, and it feels a little something like a cross between The Secret History and Gossip Girl, although with significantly more masturbation scenes than the former and more dusty tomes than the latter.
To celebrate her book’s release, Miller, an accomplished journalist herself (her non-fiction book Inheriting the Holy Land: An American’s Search for Hope in the Middle East came out in 2005), has obliged us by putting together a list of some of the craziest real-life prep school scandals in recent memory, so weird they almost seem like fiction themselves. Click through to read up on cheating teenagers, bad touching, and Big Brother-like surveillance, and then be sure to pick up a copy of The Year of the Gadfly for even more (fictional) prep school juiciness.
Are Your Panties in a Wad?
I’m not sure if the real scandal here is the fact that five cheerleaders at McKinney North High School called “The Fab Five” took pictures of themselves holding penis-shaped candles in the “Condoms To Go” store outside Dallas or the fact that their school district spent a whopping $40,000 investigating the incident. In defense of the school district, the lawyer said the photos were “creepy.” Apparently, the ringleader of The Fab Five is the principal’s daughter, hence her immunity for all kinds of bad behavior, like talking on her phone in the middle of class, telling a teacher to “shut up” on one occasion and, on another, demanding that the teacher “pull [her] panties out of a wad.” This makes me wonder if the teen in question knew that this was the 21st century (2007, to be precise). Or maybe the fact that this happened in Dallas attests to the fact that these girls talk like they’re still on a Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead.