From the iconic musicians Tegan and Sara comes a memoir about high school, detailing their first loves and first songs in a compelling look back at their humble beginnings
High School is the revelatory and unique coming-of-age story of Sara and Tegan Quin, identical twins from Calgary, Alberta, who grew up at the height of grunge and rave culture in the nineties, well before they became the celebrated musicians and global LGBTQ icons we know today. While grappling with their identity and sexuality, often alone, they also faced academic meltdown, their parents’ divorce, and the looming pressure of what might come after high school. Written in alternating chapters from both Tegan's and Sara’s points of view, the book is a raw account of the drugs, alcohol, love, music, and friendship they explored in their formative years.
A transcendent story of first loves and first songs, High School captures the tangle of discordant and parallel memories of two sisters who grew up in distinct ways even as they lived just down the hall from each another. This is the origin story of Tegan and Sara.
Praise For High School…
"The Quins are skilled writers with an eye for detail . . . Both women deftly capture the messy complexities of being twins. [High School] has the immediacy and intimacy of a diary."
—JANCEE DUNN, The Washington Post
"Elegant and evocative."
—REBECCA NICOLSON, The Guardian
"Offers queer kids (and adults, heterosexual or otherwise) vital, non-didactic lessons on how to find one's voice—and how it's okay to mess up along the way."
—MICHELLE HART, O, the Oprah Magazine
“Complexly intimate, smartly crafted, and packing a subtle emotional wallop . . . A quietly heroic origin story.”
—JON DOLAN, Rolling Stone
"A stirring dual account of drug use, early sexual experiences and ‘90s rave culture, their coming-of-age (and coming out) stories."
—GAB GINSBERG, Billboard
"[High School] is raw and detailed, and [Tegan and Sara's] writing captures the tender vulnerability of that age with a frankness I've rarely seen before. All the eager, beautiful, and stupid passions of adolescence are rendered with an unnerving realism; the raw intensity of the material can make a reader feel implicated."
—MOIRA DONEGAN, Nylon
"[A] funny, raw, and relatable look at being a teen."
—LEAH GREENBLATT, Entertainment Weekly
"Nimbly recreates that bygone era and conveys their feelings and experiences in a universally relatable way . . . honesty in their writing makes it accessible and heartfelt even if your own high school experience was quite different. Much as in their music, the Quins have a way of cutting through platitudes with an incisive combination of bluntness and raw-nerve intimacy."
—ALEX McLEVY, A.V. Club
“Tegan and Sara are massively gifted songwriters, so this genius memoir shouldn’t have shocked me like it did. There’s simply nothing like it; it’s completely original, utterly gripping, and gorgeously written. High School is a fresh, beautiful, and fearlessly powerful coming-of-age memoir.”
—AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS, New York Times bestselling author of Running with Scissors and Toil & Trouble
“Intense, vulnerable and life-affirming. Tegan and Sara take us back through their whirlwind journey, densely packed with the intricate complications and the envious, unspoken connection of growing up an identical twin.”
—ABBI JACOBSON, author of I Might Regret This and co-creator of Broad City
“It should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever listened to a song by Tegan and Sara, that while not only are they able to convey the raw and complex emotions of the high school experience, the aimlessness of suburban life and the exhilaration of finding your way out, they also speak universal truths about intimacy between families and sisters, friends and lovers. They've captured a time and a place so perfectly, I can't exactly be sure that I wasn't there."
—BUSY PHILIPPS, actress, Freaks and Geeks, Dawson’s Creek
"To navigate the experiential landscape of high school is always an emotional minefield. To have Tegan and Sara unabashedly share the perspective of young lesbians is a rare and invaluable gift. The kind of empathetic education our society is starved for.”
“This account of the pains and pleasures of dirtbag queer-girl adolescence is everything you could want from a memoir: honest and hilarious, dishy and sweet, smart and self-aware and utterly charming. What a gift to get this view of Tegan and Sara as sisters, as friends, and as artistic collaborators, as they were becoming musical icons, and—more importantly—themselves.”
—CARMEN MARIA MACHADO, author of Her Body and Other Parties
“What a gift to read the coming of age story of the brilliant Tegan and Sara. High School gives us a glimpse into the struggles and triumphs of both sisters as individuals and an evolving band. Their vulnerability, honesty, and compassion bursts through, and will make countless people feel less alone. It is so important for the LGBTQ+ community to have memoirs like this in which they can recognize themselves and be inspired to follow their truth. I am endlessly grateful to Tegan and Sara for giving so much to this world.”
—ELLEN PAGE, actress and producer, The Umbrella Academy
“High School embodies the singular gift of words leaping off of the page and becoming feelings, rattling around in the hearts and minds of a reader. The truth of nostalgia is that it must have multiple lenses to operate in its most flourishing form. Much like in their music, in this book, the voices of Tegan and Sara are two distinct bodies of water flowing into the same harmonious river, spilling through the echoing hallways of old high schools, through the bedrooms of first heartbreaks, through the old haunts that remind you of your own. This book is a triumph of memory, affection, and engaging writing.”
—HANIF ABDURRAQIB, author of Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest
“This book is the LSD-fueled, wallet-chained, Kurt Cobain–inspired handbook of how to become young, queer rock stars, written by chapter-swapping twins who I wish I had read when I was in high school. This book would have changed everything. I recommend reading it under the covers with a flashlight, and hiding it from your mother.”
—IVAN COYOTE, author of Tomboy Survival Guide and Rebent Sinner
"Tegan and Sara's literary coming-of-age memoir High School is an engrossing, sharply crafted, deeply authentic look at the misery of (queer) adolescence and the gorgeous glory of becoming yourself. So much angst and revelation, depression, inebriation, inspiration, vulnerability, and power. A wild, teenage ride I could not put down."
—MICHELLE TEA, author of Against Memoir
“Candid, tender, courageously honest, and heartbreakingly familiar; I could see myself and my own experience reflected in these stories, more so than in anything else I've ever read. Reading this book moved me deeply.”
—JULIEN BAKER, singer and songwriter
“With their music, Tegan and Sara offer listeners a glimpse at a specific time and place. In High School, they throw the door open and allow readers the opportunity to become fully immersed in their world. Tegan and Sara’s stories of first loves, self discovery, and the insights into their relationship with each other are deeply moving and relatable. They never hold back from the absolute authenticity they are known for. I never wanted it to end.”
—CLEA DUVALL, actress and director, Veep, The Intervention
“High School highlights the indisputable fact that Tegan and Sara were never just musicians—they are master storytellers. In reflecting on that torturous span of time spent agonizing over one’s body, friendships, parents, and desires, this book highlights how high school is less of a place or memory but a metaphor for uncertainty, and underlines the salvation that can only be found in music. High School foreshadows the beginning of a rich and riveting literary career.”
—VIVEK SHRAYA, musician and author of I'm Afraid of Men
“This book is one of the most interesting and brave coming-of-age stories I have read in many years. Tegan and Sara reveal the confusion, the unraveling of personal truths, the fear, the excitement, the shame and the seclusion that many of us endure as we make our way through the world. This is also a book about how music saves people, how music gives us a voice and a reason to keep going.”
—JANN ARDEN, singer, songwriter, and author of Feeding My Mother
“A sweet and salty coming-of-age memoir. The countless Tegan and Sara fans will love this, but it’s also for anyone who ever went to high school and nurtured dreams, schemes, joy and rage while barricaded in their bedroom. Count me in.”
—ANN-MARIE MACDONALD, author of Fall On Your Knees
“Tegan and Sara have pulled back the curtain on a formative chapter in their lives and offer a gloriously dizzying, richly observed account of how they became who they are today and what inspired the music we’ve come to know and love. Funny, frank, and so very cool, High School is basically the teenage best friend I always wanted growing up.”
—DAN LEVY, actor, producer, Schitt’s Creek
Picador, 9781250758187, 384pp.
Publication Date: November 17, 2020
About the Author
During the course of their twenty-year career, Tegan and Sara Quin have sold well over one million records and released eight studio albums. They have received three Juno Awards, a Grammy nomination, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, and the 2018 New York Civil Liberties Union Award. They have performed on some of the world’s biggest stages, from Coachella to the Academy Awards. Outspoken advocates for equality, in 2016 Tegan and Sara created the Tegan and Sara Foundation, which fights for health, economic justice, and representation for LGBTQ girls and women. The sisters currently reside in Vancouver, British Columbia, and split their time between there and Los Angeles, California.