Will Silver is a literature teacher at an International high school in Paris. His Senior Seminar focuses on the works of the existentialists such as Sartre and Camus. Both teacher and students are struggling to find meaning in their lives.
At a family party for a graduating Senior, Will filrts with a junior girl who is desperate for some meaningful attention. Soon they are having an affair, something that he knows is not right, but against which he doesn't have the strength to fight. In the meantime, a student who hero-worships Will sees him at a very vulnerable moment and struggles to understand his own feelings.
Maksik uses existentialism to ask the basic questions about what is life. You are responsible for the choices that you make in life. The students argue with Will about these questions, some of them are believers in God, and others question their control when they are required to go to school. The discussions in the classroom are well written and interesting to read. Maksik represents the high schoolers well.
The book is written from the viewpoints of the three major characters, the teacher Will, the student Marie, and the young man who worships his teacher, Gilad. They each have a viewpoint and an opinion about what is meaningful in their lives. Even though the story moves to a known conclusion, it is interesting to see the developments of the characters as they learn more about themselves and what values mean to them.