Admission – Published 2020
“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?” – Goodreads
Okay, I loved this book. While it is a work of fiction, it was definitely influenced by the college admission scandals that exploded recently. I’m going to be completely honest when I say I love Lori Loughlin in Full(er) House and didn’t completely understand the implications of their scandal. In my mind it was, “what’s a couple more people admitted?” But I never before considered those spots were then unavailable to deserving, possibly disadvantaged, students whose credentials were higher.
This book really shows those implications and takes a look at privilege as a result of economic status and race. The main character, and her family, hit their version of rock bottom, but she is still able to recognize that she had opportunities and resources available to her that others do not. While it took an infuriatingly long time to realize this privilege, she did open her eyes by the end.
While Chloe is not very likable, something that I think is not addressed and could have been is that maybe she just didn’t want to go to college, a prestigious one at that. Maybe she just wanted a best friend, a boyfriend, to enjoy high school for the social piece, and to figure the rest out later. Everything that happened around her she seemed kind of aloof to. She seemed to be going through the motions, and I think someone should have just asked her what she actually wanted in her future, maybe by doing so a lot could have been avoided.
Chloe is privileged. She says things that make it hard to root for her. Her best friend helped her become more aware of this, and while she clearly still had a long way to go, some real growth and self reflection is evident as the story goes on. The author is also able to humanize the villains just enough to not completely hate them.
This is a quick read told in Then and Now alternating timelines, and it’s engaging. I love this author’s writing and cannot recommend another by her, Tell Me Three Things, enough for YA readers!