So, what's really going on behind the braces and bravado? Writer Linda Perlstein went back to middle school to find out. The education reporter for the Washington Times spent a year at Wild Lakes Middle School in suburban Maryland, talking, listening, and instant-messaging. She has written a new book about the experience titled "Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers."
Click the "Listen" link to hear about the complex lives of middle schoolers and the challenges of understanding them.
Linda Perlstein, education reporter for The Washington Post, author of "Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers"
"Mia", middle school student
Brenda Thomas, principal at Wilde Lakes Middle School in Columbia, Maryland.
This program aired on September 25, 2003.