Admission: A Novel

By Julie Buxbaum

Published: 2020

AR level: 5.8

AR points: 13.0

Word count: 81,936

I suggest: 7th grade+

As a mom of two cool kids who both know that college is simply grades 13-16 (that is, a nonnegotiable part of their education), I feel that I’m always keeping alert for what I need to know about the admission process. But I also think that so many high school kids feel the strain of the college application process…whether they’ve been thinking about their dream university since middle school, or whether senior year is beginning and they don’t have a clue where to begin.

This novel, which was inspired by the college admission scandal that put two famous actresses in jail (not for long, but they did serve time), really captures so much beyond the intrigue of that scandal. So many of us get exhausted by a world that demonstrates time and again that money is leverage and privilege. Life’s not fair, and the college admissions process is not a perfect one.

I think Buxbaum does a good job balancing a young woman’s uncertainty of the future, creating a vulnerable and likeable character, and the reality that sometimes we need to “get real” about what we think we’re entitled to. This story kept me turning the pages, just to find out if the main character would eventually find her path.

Here’s the publisher description:

Lie. Cheat. Bribe. How far would you go to get into your dream school? How far would your parents go? Inspired by the recent college admissions scandal, this ripped-from-the-headlines novel sees one teenage girl’s privileged world shatter when her family’s lies are exposed.

It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer-she has it all-money, privilege, and a ticket to the college of her dreams. Or at least she did until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her B list celebrity mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal, and Chloe might be the next one facing charges. The public is furious, the headlines are brutal, and the US attorney is out for blood.

As everything she’s taken for granted starts to slip away, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. How much did she really know-or guess? Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat? And what does it really mean to be complicit?

The New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things takes on the college admissions bribery scandal that rocked the country in this timely tale of the hyper elite and the hyper competitive, and the lengths they go to stay at the top.

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