Rising Class: How Three First-Generation College Students Conquered Their First Year (Hardcover)
This eye-opening YA narrative nonfiction follows three first-generation college students as they navigate their first year—and ultimately a global pandemic.
Making it through the first year of college is tough. What makes it even tougher is being the first in your family to do so. Who can you turn to when you need advice?
Rising Class follows three first-generation freshmen, Briani, Conner, and Jacklynn, as they not only experience their first semester of college, but the COVID-19 pandemic that turned their Spring semester upside down. From life in the ivy league to classes at a community college, this nonfiction book follows these students' challenges, successes, and dreams as they tackle their first year of college and juggle responsibilities to their families back home.
Eye-opening and poignant, Jennifer Miller writes a narrative nonfiction story that speaks to new beginnings, coming of age, and perseverance.
Fully Booked by Kirkus Reviews Editors' Pick
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
“The evergreen challenges of making friends, dealing with homesickness, and managing heavy workloads are compounded by additional stressors, including impostor syndrome, pressure to make parents’ sacrifices count, and the gulfs between their backgrounds and those of their more privileged—and occasionally oblivious—classmates . . . Family members’ supportive and occasionally opposing viewpoints illustrate the complex ways that being a first-generation student affects the whole family . . . The book ends on a hopeful note, emphasizing the students’ resilience. Many students will feel seen; others will find their eyes opened.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This is a wonderfully pieced together narrative of three students’ experiences as first-generation college students in the midst of a pandemic . . . The flow and organization of this informative book allow readers to get immersed in the lives of each of the three students, their friends, and families. Readers will often find their hearts aching and want to help these students as they share intimate and vulnerable parts of their experience . . . For educators, this will also serve to inform them of tribulations that many students, not just first-generation students, encounter throughout their high school senior year, as well as the first year of higher education.” —School Library Journal
“Miller’s book sheds light on costly tuition rates and resource disparities, particularly at Ivy League institutions. She also does a thorough job of researching her subjects, exposing the highlights and pitfalls freshman year can hold. Readers of diverse economic backgrounds and those who have been impacted by the pandemic schooling system will find something to relate to with Briani, Connor, and Jacklyn.” —Booklist
“Balancing the notoriously unprecedented with personal and familial firsts is a strength of this richly and thoroughly ethnographic project that sheds light on the realities of higher education for a growing number of students, even when that light isn’t particularly favorable.” —The Bulletin
“Eye-opening . . . The students’ social and academic anxieties are heightened by national goings-on, such as increased protests against police brutality and the arrival of Covid-19 in the U.S. Brief, accessibly narrated alternating chapters interwoven with newspaper headlines provide glimpses into the teens’ daily lives. By foregrounding the trio’s raw emotions and visceral reactions to current affairs, Miller highlights the intense uncertainty faced by teens trying to navigate life-changing situations amid traumatizing social crises.” —Publishers Weekly
“A riveting ride through the first year of college that also manages to be an incisive examination of the class divide on college campuses and the myriad personal challenges first generation students must navigate before they open a single book. Briani, Conner, and Jacklynn will stay with you long after you finish reading.” —New York Times-bestselling author Dashka Slater
“Three remarkable young people, one rollercoaster year—this is gripping real-life drama. ” —National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin