Timely and Compelling Contemporary || ARC Review: Admission

Admission’s premise is so compelling, and so timely. It wasn’t so long ago that I was devouring every article about the college admissions scandal, and when this book came along, I knew I would have to read it for the insiders look of it all.

Title: Admission
Author: Julie BuxBaum
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Genres: YA Contemporary

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Official Synopsis

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes an of-the-moment novel that peeks inside the private lives of the hypercompetitive and the hyperprivileged and takes on the college admissions bribery scandal that rocked the country.

It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She’s headed off to the college of her dreams. She’s going to prom with the boy she’s had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer–at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood.

As she loses everything she’s long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?

Quick Thoughts

  • This is such a compulsive read. Even when I wasn’t exactly enjoying what I was reading (I’ll admit, this was a hard pill to swallow sometimes), I couldn’t stop flipping the pages.
  • I loved how the short chapters that make up this book really pack a punch. It’s probably what really helped me read this book so fast.
  • The world Julie Buxbaum brings you into is so immersive, and so horrifying. I really felt like I got a realistic look into this world of extreme privilege.
  • There is some beautiful character relationship building between Chloe and her sister. Truly, it was incredible.

Lasting Impressions

I should probably say it up front that if you’re the kind of person who has to empathize with the main character, this is likely not the book for you. Chloe is not a likable character, and she’s unreliable. There were a few times I felt pity for her, but her naivety and lack of understanding of her privilege just overshadowed everything else. And I’m pretty sure that’s the point. I believe the author set out to write this character in order for her readers to really examine their own privilege when they read about Chloe. If that is the case, she succeeded with me.

This book is written in two time periods, before the time when the FBI comes knocking on Chloe’s door, and the aftermath. This really didn’t work for me. The ‘present’ chapters were incredible and emotional and really interesting to read. But the ‘past’ chapters were slow. I wish there had been a variety of point of views looking at this scandal, instead of just Chloe. I would have liked to see a more intimate view of what this felt like for Chloe’s sister, or her friends.

Overall Feelings

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a fascinating and compelling read with an unreliable, hard-to-like main character. It’s timeliness is certainly what drew me to it, and I’m sure the topic will draw many readers like me.

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