High-strung parents seeking admissions to an elite private school in NYC and a washed-up, recently dumped young woman with no experience in admissions. What could go wrong? Well…you can guess. If you like the Nanny Diaries and Prep, you’ll love this book.
Small Admissions is a romp through private school admissions and the life of one new admissions director who doesn’t have her life together quite yet. You’ll get to hear her interviews with prospective students, the applications they submit, and from the other people in Kate’s life: including her sister, her best friend, and the almost fiancee who dumped her in the Charles de Gaulle airport.
Here’s the Amazon blurb:
Despite her innate ambition and summa cum laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her handsome “almost fiancé,” she abandons her plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City. Her friends don’t know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews. Miraculously, Kate manages to land a job in the admissions department at the revered Hudson Day School. In her new position Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the thick of the admissions season, or what her colleagues refer to as “the dark time.” As the process revs up, Kate meets smart kids who are unlikable, likeable kids who aren’t very smart, and Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer. Through a comical and crazy run of wildly unpredictable interviews, subtle bribes, outright threats, final judgments, and page-turning twists, the highly competitive and occasionally absurd world of private school admissions is brought to light in all of its outrageous glory that is reminiscent of Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep.
This was a cute book. It goes places you might not expect for a book of its style (chick lit) but the ending made me both LOL and panic a little bit about the future of our education system. I didn’t love the back and forth sections narrated by Kate’s friends and sister because it felt like they were out of sequence with the focus on Kate’s job as admissions director at Hudson, but they did inform Kate’s character and her actions more fully.
If you like books with female characters that make mistakes and are also brutally honest and flawed, you’ll love Kate and her journey through Small Admissions. The strengths of this novel are her crazy interactions with the students and families trying to become Hudson families, but you’ll learn a lot more about Kate’s relationships as well.