Published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication date: December 27th 2016
Small Admissions is an example of a book whose writing goes the same way as its plot. Confused? I know, it’s weird, but what I mean is that it’s the story of a young woman named Kate whose life goes off the rails when she is unceremoniously dumped by a boyfriend. She basically checks out of life in the most stereotypical ways possible, lingering in an almost catatonic state for a year. Then her older sister gets her a job as an assistant admissions director at a private school in Manhattan. Life starts to look up and get interesting. Still with me? Well, the book is the same way. Kate’s wallowing over a guy she hardly knew consumes the first half of the book and is a non-starter, but once she gets a life it’s as if author Amy Poeppel is herself invigorated and the writing goes from yawn to laugh out loud.
Kate and her friends recently graduated from Wellesley and are making their first forays into the adult world. Poeppel splits the action between their new adult lives and the hyper-competition of private school admissions. Because I don’t have children and have no experience with private schools the combination of badly behaved wealthy New Yorkers, their insufferable pre-teen children and Kate’s unique interviewing techniques is highly amusing. And while, Kate is the center of Small Admissions Poeppel complements her awkwardness with ditzy academic parents, a busybody sister and the ubiquitous frenemy—all to great effect.
Small Admissions lands firmly in the realm of new adult chick-lit largely because the entire premise of the plot is Kate’s break-up with a handsome, loutish, self-absorbed man. It’s trope-y and soapy reading, but once past the tedium of the opening premise—that a young woman would give up on life for a year after a relationship that only lasted several months—it moves at a steady pace. It may not be a revelatory look at how parents impose their ambitions on their children or any other lofty theme, but after a start that almost stalled it is fun, light reading.
Oh, this sounds like a fun read, Catherine; I’ll definitely add it to my list for those times when I need a palate cleanser or something to pull me out of the doldrums!
Sarah's Book Shelves says
Haha – I’m surprised you kept plugging through that first part! But, as someone who has sat through one too many girls dinners listening to her friends rehash/disect/complain about the Manhattan admissions process (while I sat smirking b/c I knew I was planning to leave NYC before my children hit school age), I know there’s PLENTY of material to work with there!
OMG- you have to skim it and let me know how realistic it is! For all I know the book isn’t exaggerating.
Eva @ The Paperback Princess says
I am for sure adding this to my list but I’m glad for the warning about how it starts. One of the things I hate reading about most are women who give up on life because things with a man didn’t work out! Still, it’s nice to have easy reading options on hand for when you need ’em.
Then this will make you nuts! Thankfully, it’s only about a quarter of the book, but it’s so extreme that it felt like longer.Start on pg 32- when she goes in for the interview. The interview itself is hilarious and it just keeps going from there.
Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf says
Going to bookmark this one for the next time I’m feeling, “I need some chick lit, stat!”
I think you’ll enjoy Late’s down-to-earth attitude towards the dreadful parents!
Susie | Novel Visits says
Hmmm…probably not for me since I deal with annoying kids and parents too often in my non-reading life! But, it does sound like an ideal book for when you just need a little distraction.
Katie @ Doing Dewey says
I’m always intrigued by books about school admissions. I’m not going to rush out to pick it up, but I’ll definitely keep it in mind next time I need something light!
Yeah the second part sounds much better. I like knowing that there’s an amusing part. I’ll keep it on my radar.