Book Review: Admission by Julie Buxbaum

Book: Admission by Julie Buxbaum

Published December 2020 by Delacorte Press|352 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

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?

This was an interesting book!  I wasn’t sure about it, but I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

So, this book is a take on the whole college admissions scandal from a couple of years ago.  It focuses on Chloe, who has to deal with the fall-out of what her parents did.  That part was interesting to me, seeing the aftermath of what happened.  Seeing what she knew and when she knew it…the pieces were there, but it took her opening the door to the FBI to put everything together.

This book has two different timelines- before her mom was arrested and after she was arrested.  The dual timeline was done okay.  I didn’t love it, but I think it’s the best way to tell the story.  You see Chloe struggle with what her parents want, even though it doesn’t necessarily match up with what she wants.  There was so much pressure on her, and it makes me grateful that I didn’t have that kind of pressure to deal with.

What her parents did was pretty horrible.  I know they want the best for her, and wanted things to be easy for her.  Easier for her than things were for them.  But it really was like they thought she couldn’t do it on her own, and had to bribe their way into a college acceptance letter.  Their lack of confidence and pressure…I feel like that’s part of why she’s insecure.  I hate that they got time accommodations, even though she didn’t need them.  It was infuriating to read in this book, the way it was infuriating to hear about it in real life.

Then there’s the fact that they didn’t even tell her they knew an arrest was coming for her mom.  She ends up talking to some of the other kids who were wrapped up in the scandal, and they all knew what was going to happen.  I don’t know, maybe they thought they were protecting her.  It doesn’t make it okay, and I’m curious about how they thought they were going to explain what was going on.

She’s pretty privileged, obviously, and I remember being so angry after the real-life scandal broke.  It didn’t seem like college was a good fit for Chloe, at least right away, because she was so unsure about what she wanted to do.  But because of this pressure to go to college right out of high school, she winds up finding out what her parents did to get her there.  She does figure it out, and I really hope that this is a turning point for her in recognizing how privileged she is, and how she has a lot of opportunities that others, like her friend Shola, don’t have.

It was hard to like Chloe and her mom.  Her mom, especially, because she thinks she can fight the charges against, and can’t accept that there are consequences for her actions.  She was definitely in denial for most of the book.  It was a little hard to like her dad, though I don’t feel like we got enough of him for me to have stronger feelings either way.

The one I felt really bad for was her sister.  I have to say, she was right when she talked about how hard it was going to be for her because of what her parents did for Chloe.  I hope college isn’t horrible for her but I feel like people are going to question her place there now.  Her parents were so busy trying to buy Chloe’s way into college that they didn’t think about how it would affect Isla.

Honestly, it felt like they didn’t care about Isla at all.  At least, not the way they thought about Chloe.  The comments about Chloe were horrible, and while I don’t know what kind of comments were directed towards Isla, I can imagine what Isla got was only a fraction of what Chloe dealt with.  Still, it won’t be easy for her after all of this.

3 stars.  I liked it, and though most of Chloe’s family was frustrating, it was an interesting read.