"School's Out" never seems to live up to the promise of the positive reviews I read. Described as "sinister", reminiscent of Donna Tartt's The Secret History, and a "re-imagining of Lord of the Flies", the book ends up seeming rather hollow, and never lives up to any of that praise. I was shocked to read that it won a prize in France for first novels.
The book focuses on classroom 9F. Their young, first year teacher, has just committed suicide by jumping from the classroom window, and Pierre Hoffman takes over. He's warned by his fellow teachers and by one of the students of 9F that something's wrong in the class, and that he's in danger, but he never really seems endangered. He gets a strange package in the mail, and suffers through anonymous hangup phone calls, but that's it. He discovers that one of 9F's elementary school teachers is also dead, but as the novel moves toward a surprising climax the whole thing ultimately feels pointless, because the author never lets us get to know any of the students. They act as one group, which is part of the point of the novel, but we never really care about that group, so we aren't really that bothered by 9F's fate.
I guess it's possible that a book like this resonates differently in our culture from the way it does in France, but I felt like reading this was a waste of my time.