David Federman has always been ahead of his classmates. Quite logically his nature-given gifts lead him to Harvard where he is supposed to start a completely new life. He finds people there who were outsiders like him, amongst them Sara with whom he starts his first real relationship. But it is Sara’s roommate Veronica Wells for whom he really falls. He offers help for her essays and thus manages to spend more and more time with her and even the IT crowd. The only thing which seems difficult for him to understand is the fact that Veronica does not share the same feelings – and what he does not suspect at all is that there are people out there who do not hesitate to use and exploits others. Apart from the academic learning, David will also learn something for life in his freshman year.
David is the typical outsider – outstanding in his intellectual abilities he has difficulties in socialising with others and in finding peer who share the same ideas and interests. The way he is presented is almost a bit too stereotypical to be authentic. However, as the story moves on we get away from those platitudes and the character becomes more lively and complex. What is convincing is his disability in social affairs and his problems in understanding human behaviour. As good as he is in interpreting literature, as weak he is in interpersonal understanding. Quite unexpectedly, the author has some twists and turns to offer and especially the end comes quite out of nowhere and can surprise.
All in all, a rather atypical coming-of-age novel in a classic Harvard setting.