Parker, Daniel. Trust Falls (The Wessex Papers). Harper Teen, 2002. ISBN 978-0064408066 272 pp. $
This 3-volume series is about a boarding school and it’s prestigious clique of children of former students, known as the ABs (Alumni Brats), several of whom are caught up in a school blackmail scandal. Flaky Mackenzie begins dating prep boy turned wigga rapper Hobson, preppy Sunday hooks up with a newbie basketball player Fred, and Nicole Kidman look-a-like Allison is attracted to fat slob and financial mastermind Winnie. Subplots include worrying about getting into college and adding entries to the Wessex Time Capsule, a collection of candid essays by graduating students.
Language and sexual situations are mostly tame and appropriate for age 12 & up. The characters are pretty one-dimensional and there is a heavy reliance on pop culture references, brand names and description of characters based on which celebrities s/he looks like, but the writing has a good pace, the inclusion of essays and letters and emails and memos is fun, and the book fits mystery requests. Better than Gossip Girls but not as good as the Jonah Black series, The Wessex Papers are likely to be moderately popular for middle school and up.