Percy's father, a famous anthropologist, died in Africa four years ago; and Percy has taken on his father's eyes to see the world as a brilliant Observer. He and his friend Elissa are fascinated by the ritualistic world called Grade Twelve: the Jock tribe; the Teacher tribe; the Born Again tribe; the Cool and Detached tribe; the Lipstick/Hairspray tribe, not to mention Mr. Verplaz, the Shaman. For Percy it's crucial to withdraw, analyze, and remain above it all. But wait: he's studying real people, who complicate things. Like Elissa, the only person who can come close to him, maybe too close. The only person who knows how painful it was last year when their best friend Willard died. As graduation approaches, the looming ritual ratchets up Percy's deepest, hidden feelings and reveals the truth about his father's disappearance.
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