Every year P. J. Cooper, an English teacher in Los Angeles, takes 30 of his senior students on a trip to Quartzsite, Arizona. No one knows how or why Cooper chooses the ones who get to go, but everyone considers it an honor to be included. This book tells the story of the trip in 1962, "the last good year."
There's a lot going on. It's a coming-of-age novel, a road novel, a nostalgia trip (first published in 1980, and even more nostalgic now), and more. If you're around the right age, you'll find a lot to remember and identify with. It's written in an unusual style, with the kind of repetition of certain words and phrases that will either grow on you or put you off. I thought it was quite effective. It's hilarious and touching. Highly recommended.