High School and 90s Nostalgia

Thank you Netgalley & Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I don’t exactly remember when I became a Tegan and Sara fan…somewhere shortly after high school I think?

43197389._sy475_High School

Tegan and Sara Quin

Published Date: Septmeber 24, 2019
Read Date: January 2020
Format: e-galley, audiobook
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 4/5 Stars


High School is a coming-of-age story of Sara and Tegan Quin as they embrace and live the grunge and rave culture. Music was clearly important to their lives, leading them to eventually pick up a guitar and writing songs, becoming the amazing music icons they are now.

Rants, raves, and Reviews

This book basically taught me that I didn’t do high school right. Okay, maybe not entirely true, but I definitely felt a bit more sheltered and safe. No judgments — mostly feel like I should go retry it!

I have two sets of twins as siblings — one set identical, one set fraternal. The identical set are ridiculously close. Sure they fight, but I guess part of the perks of being twelve years older than them (and not living at the same house) is that I assume they never fought, mostly because they’re so close and always amicable. I say all this because given how much Sara and Tegan fight in this book, I am shocked they ever were able to start anything musical! I’m not saying they fight more than any other siblings, just that the stereotypes of twins are definitely broken by this book. And I love it. I love knowing that they weren’t so much in sync and that everything was all rosy and happy. High school is not supposed to be a time that we want to repeat or that we enjoy. Sure we can look back on it fondly, I guess, but that’s just the nostalgia. There should be a moment under that they reminds us “oh hell no I don’t want to do that again.”

This book doesn’t just focus on their musical journey either, especially as they don’t actually start learning to play guitar until practically senior year. A large part of this book focuses on Sara and Tegan exploring their sexualities and what it meant, as well as how vocal to be about standing up for queer people. What I couldn’t get was whether or not they were out to everyone except their parents, but honestly, even if they are, it’s still not an easy time to navigate.

This may be why I enjoyed this memoir more than other musician memoirs I have tried. Yes, this book is about how much music was important to their life. They discuss waiting for buying albums like I wait for books. There’s a scene where they discuss saving up, waiting to go buy an album and finding out it was sold out…something teenagers probably couldn’t grasp today if they tried!… and then coming home to find out their parents had bought it for them.

The book alternates between chapters by Sara and Tegan. Sometimes they tell the same situation (or well, there is enough overlap.) Of course it is obvious to say that means you get two sides of the same story, (duh), but there is something about the way that it’s done that I really do enjoy. It gives the story more heart, makes it feel more like two sisters still bickering decades later, though without the heat or malice.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, even if you don’t know who Tegan and Sara are, check out this book. I’m sure it’ll bring back memories and nostalgia if you were a teen in the 90s, particularly a teen that enjoyed punk/alternative music (I’m really bad at music, please don’t feel the need to correct me.) Even if you weren’t a teen in the 90s, this book is an excellent coming of age story, especially for queer culture. At no point are Sara and Tegan apologetic about anything they did in high school, which is wonderful. (Blanket statement: I hate regets, and I don’t think people should apologize for who they are and what they’ve done in the past as long as they haven’t harmed someone else.) I also highly recommend the audio book as well, as it has clips of them singing and an interview discussing the book at the end!

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