Part of my day job is working to assist a school Admission office so when the “admissions scandal” hit the news wire last year, I was glued to the updates. In case you weren’t quite as carried away as I was, here’s what happened. A few people across the country, all of whom reside in a certain tax bracket, decided to find non-traditional ways to get their children into the college of their choice. Those non-traditional ways were telling lies, bribery and cheating. A few of those ways were actually illegal and those parents got caught and had to pay a price for their actions.
Julie Buxbaum was also glued to the television for updates on the scandal. From that obsession, Admission was born. While a work of fiction, you can certainly see nods to the actual events and persons involved. Here’s more about the book and my review of the audiobook.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes an of-the-moment novel that peeks inside the private lives of the hypercompetitive and the hyperprivileged and takes on the college admissions bribery scandal that rocked the country.
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?
Admission takes an interesting look at the college admission scandal, voicing it not from the point of view of the parents but from one the the children involved. Chloe is the daughter of a B-list actress. Unfortunately, she struggles in school and is not among the top students in her high school. Her mother, the actress, and her father, the investment banker, decide to take it upon themselves to make sure Chloe gets into college, even one that she didn’t earn. Admission opens as the scandal is breaking and the FBI is at a surprised Chloe’s front door.
Told in dueling timelines of Then and Now, Admission follows Chloe in the events before and after she opens that front door and the public becomes aware of the scandal. We see how she is impacted, what her friends think. This is the angle that most intrigued me when the original scandal broke. How must those children feel?
I have to ask – What were those parents thinking? Did they think at all how it would impact their children? Did they just assume they wouldn’t get caught or that they were above the law? Admission gives you a glimpse into what this fictitious family experiences and feels but I still wonder about the real people this book is inspired by.
The audiobook of Admission is narrated by Julie Whelan. She does a wonderful job bringing the characters and the plot line to life. I really enjoyed this dive into fiction as it mirrors real life.
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