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Small Admissions: A Novel Hardcover – December 27, 2016
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“Trenchant, funny, and observant...as a prose artist Ms. Poeppel leaves nothing to be desired, except this desire: that she write more and more, and as well as she does in this, her assured debut.” (Hilton Als, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of WHITE GIRLS and THE WOMEN)
"A dishy, LOL delight." (Cosmopolitan)
"Both witty and wise, Small Admissions is a big-hearted, charming novel." (The Washington Post)
"Poeppel gives an in-depth look at the admissions process, with a side of secrets, bombshells, heartbreak, and hope . . . perfect for fans of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep." (Booklist)
"A riotous, overcrowded, entertaining blowout of a novel." (The Dallas Morning News)
"A smart take on private-school 'Admissions' . . . Amy Poeppel's debut novel is a book about rejection, acceptance and our ability to maneuver between the two." (USA Today)
"A witty and captivating page-turner punctuated with quirky characters and laugh-out-loud moments that are sure to appeal." (Library Journal)
"Fans of Primates of Park Avenue and Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep will get a kick out of this novel, which is also a story about how women help one another get back on their feet." (Refinery 29, Top Reads Out in December)
"An excellent debut." (Publishers Weekly)
"In this absorbing story, Amy Poeppel brings her razor-sharp observations of the postures and pretenses found in our culture, in our cities,and especially in the world of admissions. Amy’s gift for dialogue, shown through the sidesplitting banter between our appealing, young heroine and the parents and children she interviews, will delight readers. Amy Poeppel displays a well of insight, forgiveness and wit that not only marks a talented writer, but the launch of what promises to be a marvelous career.” (Diane Meier, author of THE SEASONS OF CHANCES and RITUAL AND STYLE IN A CHANGING CULTURE)
About the Author
Amy Poeppel is the author of Small Admissions, which was first performed as a reading at the Actors Studio. Amy has worked as a stage actress and teacher and now lives with her husband and three sons in New York City and Frankfurt, Germany.
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She ends up getting hired, and her new job is working in admissions. What Kate thinks will be an easy job ends up being much harder than she thought. Not only does she have to make decisions as to which children will be accepted into the school, she has to deal with the parents that will do anything to make sure their child is on the list of accepted students.
We follow Kate as she navigates her new job and her relationships with her friends and parents, and are able to see the ups and downs of her life as she recovers from her heartbreak.
Overall, I thought Small Admissions was just okay. I really wanted to love this one, because chick-lit is a genre I generally enjoy, and this one (shockingly) seemed like it wouldn’t be focused on Kate finding a new man (and it wasn’t). Although those things were true, I felt like the execution of the book kept me from loving it as much as I wanted to. There were chapters that bounced around between different characters, but it wasn’t always clear when that happened, so sometimes I’d be listening to the audiobook and the next chapter would be from a different character, but there was no warning. When I was reading the hard copy, the chapters who weren’t told by Kate were italicized, but even then, without having a character name as the chapter title, it was a little tricky to navigate. Additionally, there were some parts of the book that were told through email, however in many cases, we only saw Kate’s side of the email and not the email she was responding to, so that was a little weird to me. Generally I love when a book has emails/IMs/texts included in the story, but this one didn’t work super well for me.
I also had a hard time with a lot of the characters. While I liked Kate for the most part, and understand very well what a breakup feels like, I felt like she took her reaction to the extreme. She completely let her self-worth become wrapped up in her ex-boyfriend, and it was all she could talk about or focus on, which was hard to read. Without spoiling anything, I will say that one of her “friends” was completely horrible and treated her like crap, which pissed me off too. I hated reading the chapters told from her point of view, and had no idea why anyone would want to be friends with that particular character. Lastly, the children and parents. Holy crap, were they awful. The sad part is that I 100% believe that there are parents in the world who act that nuts over their child getting accepted or rejected to a certain school, etc. The parents were selfish, overbearing, condescending, and rude, and the children did exactly what their parents told them to, so their admissions essays and interviews were clearly rehearsed. Those parts were hard for me to read too, even though they seemed realistic!
That all said, the book was fast paced and I had an easy time reading it. There were parts that made me laugh, and overall I did like Kate. This was a 3.5 star book for me, but I rounded down to 3 stars on Goodreads because of the issues I mentioned above. If you’re looking for a light chick lit book that isn’t centered too much on finding a soulmate, this may be a good option for you.
This is total chick lit. That doesn't make it bad, necessarily--it was very funny in parts. The characters are likeable. Kate is witty, and her friends and sister are (mostly) caring and sympathetic. Even the French ex-boyfriend isn't completely despicable. It's a fun little read that never gets very dark.
Honestly, if one can't manage to tell a story in chronological order and write dialogue, why bother. What a neurotic cast of characters! There was no one to like. How could Wellesley turn out such a group of losers?
I would be hard pressed to recommend this to anyone.