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The story of a high school heroine--funny, wise, and reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi--negotiating a trying spring semester at her southern California prep school Tina M., sophomore, is a wry and endearing observer of the cliques and mores of Yarborough Academy ("The name makes it sound fancier than all the public schools in the area. You'd really think the Prince of Wales attended"). And of the foibles of her intellectual Indian family ("Just so you know, my parents have never tried to lock me into a child marriage"). She's on a first-name basis with Jean-Paul Sartre, the result of an English honors class assignment to keep an "existential diary." The plot thickens as Tina is dumped by her best friend and smart-girl ally, forcing her to embark on a life of eating school lunch (existentially) alone during the week, and of weekends being dragged to family parties at various new-money chalets in LA's Indian enclaves. Until the lead in the school play goes to Tina, among other astonishing events. Is a kiss on the mouth--Tina's mouth, but not technicallyher first kiss--from cute skateboarder Neil Strumminger be the meaning of existence? Can an English honors assignment be one fifteen-year-old girl's path to enlightenment?