Book Title: Small Admissions
Author: Amy Poeppel
Genres: Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Humor, Contemporary
Date Read: 08/20/16
Pub Date: 12/27/16
Despite her innate ambition and Summa Cum Laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her handsome, French “almost fiancé,” she abandons her grad school plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City, and leaving her apartment only when a dog-walking gig demands it. 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, and for reasons no one (least of all Kate) understands, she manages to land a job in the admissions department at the prestigious Hudson Day School. In her new position, Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the height 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.
Meanwhile, Kate’s sister and her closest friends find themselves keeping secrets, hiding boyfriends, dropping bombshells, and fighting each other on how to keep Kate on her feet. On top of it all, her cranky, oddly charming, and irritatingly handsome downstairs neighbor is more than he seems. Through every dishy, page-turning twist, it seems that one person’s happiness leads to another’s misfortune, and suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary—including the truly unexpected.
Guilty Pleasure. Those are the two words I’d use to describe this book. I stated in my brief, immediate thoughts after finishing this one how I rarely give chick lit 5 stars, but I stand by my opinion that this one is worth every star. It might appear similar to many other fluffy, girly, mindless reads out there; I’m not claiming this to be a deep read, but it is different in quite a few ways which I’ll tackle below. This was the perfect beach read, which is why I went ahead and devoured it now instead of saving it until closer to pub day. Oops.
My favorite surprise to this upbeat read was the fact that it isn’t centered around the main character finding a soul mate. Sure, there is some romance sprinkled in, but it isn’t the main focal point of this story, giving the lead female character much more depth than your stereotypical, recently dumped woman. Instead of solely focusing on dating and our girl pining over multiple men until she finds “Mr. Right”, the story highlights in depth many other relationships, such as growing in the areas of family (parents) and friends/coworkers. It also confronts the issue of tragedy striking in personal and professional areas, and how we have to dig deep to work through and overcome, rather than just giving up on everything good in life.
I also couldn’t believe how dang funny this book was! This wasn’t cheesy, chick lit funnies; this was my type of dry humor that had me snorting out loud and my family wondering if they should have me committed while on vacation. It sure would give them a good excuse to visit the beach more often. The humor and situations involved in the school and specifically the admissions department are nothing short of hilarious, and feel very relatable on what I would expect working with children and their Type-A parents would be like. The letters her parents continually send had me in stitches and also had me thinking I could be BFFs with author Amy Poeppel; I’d love to sit down with her and a coffee to see if she’s as hilarious in person. *Spoiler Alert- I think she is*
If you have trouble finding a breezy read that isn’t totally flakey, you’re not alone. It always seems the Chick Lit I hunt down is either too unbelievably ridiculous or isn’t as care-free of a read that I’m looking for. This story had the perfect balance of “escaping from the pressures of life to just enjoy a fun read” without being “over the top cheesy and vomit worthy in the romantic department”. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit/Contemporary Fiction. I can’t express how shocked I was to love a book like this as much as I did; I thoroughly enjoyed escaping from my own little terrors long enough to enjoy laughing at the fictional parents of the teenagers (read monsters) in this book. I’ll be keeping my eyes glued looking for more work from Ms Poeppel!
*I received my copy via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Many thanks to the author and publisher for your generosity.