97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School

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  • a great assortment of fun tasks and experiences that will spruce up any teen’s pre-college lifestyle
  • counsels young readers to learn the constellations, make peace with a sibling, and other valuable and useful activities
  • some of the recommendations might be considered risque and inappropriate

The test prep shuffle that dominates many teenage daily routines unfairly relegates enjoying one’s life to after having been accepted to college. Life in college is fun, and life until college is fun to, so long as it meets a college-bound end. But shouldn’t teens feel free to enjoy at least some aspects of pleasure away from preparing for SATs and college applications?

97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School is a “carpe diem” call to arms for the eighteen-and-under crowd, featuring a series of adventuresome tasks that will create unforgettable moments well before university life. But some of these tasks might be too taboo for comfort, at least according to Mom and Dad.

Learn CPR, volunteer for a nonprofit organization, write a letter to your future self: a number of the recommendations authors Erika Stalder and Steven Jenkins espouse are well-meaning enough and could even spruce up a college application’s extracurricular section.

But certain pieces of advice listed as “Because You’re Only Young Once” — including skinny dipping and building a bonfire — might draw understandable scorn from many parents. Too naughty by half, the still delightful 97 Things needs a look-see by the parental units to vet each Thing before their teens try them out.