Ideal High by Valerie Ipson – Review

Posted December 4, 2017 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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Ideal High by Valerie Ipson – Review

Ideal High

by Valerie Ipson

Published by Riverside Park Press
Publication Date 15 February 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery
Setting: Texas Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 15-18
Written for: High-School/Young Adult, Middle School
Pages: 412


There’s no way Taryn’s taking Blake’s place as president of the student body. As soon as the memorial for him and six of their friends is over, she’s resigning as VP. Really.
Except people say the fire was no accident. (She says it’s way too easy to blame someone who’s dead.)
When Taryn reads the writing on the wall, literally, the bathroom wall, she knows what it means. To get to the truth she has to come out from under her paisley comforter.
But, seriously, what stage of grief says Taryn has to be the one to fix what’s wrong at Ideal High? Maybe she’s the one who’s broken.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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It is hard to tell that this book is the first one by the author.  It is an amazing book, dealing with a weighty subject in a sensitive and compelling manner. And while the overall tone of the story was serious, it was not depressing and carried a sense of hope.

The story was told exclusively in the first person perspective  of Taryn, which was exactly the way it needed to be told.  Though she was part of the popular crowd, there was a sense that she didn’t always feel like she belonged there.  She was flawed and had to come to realize that she was part of the bullying problem simply by not paying attention to those outside her own world.

The story had all the characters I remember from school.  The science teacher who reminded me of the one I had in Junior High.  The in crowd, the not-so-in crowd.  I loved that there was also the wonderful lady who worked in the school office named Phyllis.  Who was motherly and caring.  Not that it was written after me, mind you, as I don’t even know the author from anything beyond an e-mail or two and her bio.  🙂

She is also the adviser to the cheer squad, and despite the fact that she was a cheerleader at Ideal High about a hundred years ago, she tries to keep up the image.  She’s not fooling anyone.


“I was freaking out thinking he was going to pull a gun.”


I turn away, pretending the paper towel and my dark bangs are enough to shield my face.


Now there’s not a pile of comforters high enough for me to cower under.


“Just had stuff to do.”  Sleep.  A funeral.  Decide to be president.


“The whole makeover idea. It’s like a bad teen movie.  They want to say ‘Don’t judge someone by their looks’, and then what do they do every time?  A makeover.  Then the person’s beautiful and they’re all popular.  It’s fake.”

There was brief mention in the book that the funeral took place at a Mormon church, but there is no doctrine shared in the story, and beyond the funeral service, no mention of religion at all.


About Valerie Ipson

Valerie Ipson loves her family…and reading, writing, genealogy, and Hershey Milk Chocolate Almond & Toffee Nuggets. She lives in Mesa, Arizona, and IDEAL HIGH is her debut novel.
INTERESTING FACTS: (Some are probably better filed under NOT-SO-INTERESTING!)
1) I have braces for the 3rd time–I just say it helps me channel my teenage characters
2) I lived overseas in Israel for 2+years in the mid-90’s–LOVED IT!
3) I also create & sell journals for book lovers–it’s a place to record and review the books you read in a year (available on Amazon)
GENRES: Currently I have released one YA novel and I’m working on the second. I have plans for more in this genre, plus others that are not. For example, I’ll be releasing a children’s picture book soon called Baby Bear’s Revenge, a Christmas Romance next year, and I have a baseball story in the planning stages. Basically, I’ll be all over the place when it comes to genres–maybe because I love to read all genres!
FINAL THOUGHTS: Reading has always been a huge love in my life, but I never thought I’d be on the author side of a book. I hope I can give readers the same experience I have enjoyed through the years while being curled up with a good book!

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