" The Devil Wears Prada meets Primates of Park Avenue ." -- The New York Times
"Perfect for fans of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep ."-- Booklist
Top 6 Books You Need to Read-- BuzzFeed
Best Books to Give Every Book Lover on Your List-- Town and Country
One admission can change your life...forever. Read more...
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"The Devil Wears Prada meets Primates of Park Avenue." --The New York Times
"Perfect for fans of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep."--Booklist
Top 6 Books You Need to Read--BuzzFeed
Best Books to Give Every Book Lover on Your List--Town and Country
One admission can change your life...forever.
When ambitious grad student Kate Pearson's handsome French "almost fiance" ditches her, she definitely does not roll with the punches, despite the best efforts of family and friends. It seems that nothing will get Kate out of pajamas and back into the world.
Miraculously, one cringe-worthy job interview leads to a position in the admissions department at the revered Hudson Day School. Kate's instantly thrown into a highly competitive and occasionally absurd culture, where she interviews all types of children: suitable, wildly unsuitable, charming, loathsome, ingratiating, or spoiled beyond all measure. And then there are the Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.
As Kate begins to learn there's no room for self-pity or nonsense during the height of admissions season or life itself, her sister and friends find themselves keeping secrets, dropping bombshells, and arguing with each other about how to keep Kate on her feet. Meanwhile, Kate seems to be doing very nicely, thank you, and is even beginning to find out that her broken heart is very much on the mend. Welcome to the world of Small Admissions.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-09-12
- Reviewer: Staff
The focus in Poeppels quick-witted debut novel is on elite private school admissions. Kate Pearson is a sharp yet aimless young woman a couple of years out of Wellesley, struggling to recover from a disastrous breakup. Her helicopter sister, Angela, gets her a job interview, which is a comical nightmare for Kate and her prospective boss. Surprisinglyto both of themhe hires her to be in charge of admissions at Manhattans prestigious Hudson Day School. Poeppels novel follows Kates journey from hot mess to self-actualizing grown-up, while detailing the campaigns for admission of a small group of students and their families. Some rise to the challenge, but one fails miserably. The novel is also about friendship and family, and the author gently satirizes hippie academics through Kates parents, whose nontraditional take on child rearing contributed in no small part to Angelas tightly wound demeanor. Rounding out the cast are Kates two best friends: Chloe, who goes to extreme, humorous lengths to find Kate a boyfriend, and Vicki, who tries to manipulate the situation to her advantage. With so many strong personalities and disparate threads, Kate and her story might easily have gotten lost, but the author, like a circus ringmaster, points attention here and there, always bringing it back to the center. An excellent debut. (Dec.)
A hilarious look at New York's prep school scene
What is it about books set at elite schools? The grosgrain ribbon belt-bedecked cover of Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep. The anxiety-filled Princeton offices in Jean Hanff Korelitz’s Admission. The bittersweet final days of college in Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot. These stories somehow manage to intrigue even those of us who’ve never set foot in a prep school, let alone an Ivy League college.
It’s no surprise, of course, that Amy Poeppel—author of the deliciously smart Small Admissions—went to Wellesley College and worked in admissions for what her book jacket calls “a prestigious independent school.” Her razor-sharp observations of families desperate to place their darlings in the best Manhattan schools can only come from someone who’s lived in that world.
Kate Pearson was on track to become an academic, applying to grad schools in her chosen field of anthropology. She had a gorgeous if caddish boyfriend, Robert, who was “so ridiculously French, which was somehow an asset and a defect at the same time,” Poeppel writes.
When Robert ditches her as soon as she lands in Paris to live with him, Kate abandons her carefully planned life and takes up residence on her New York couch. Her friend Chloe, who is Robert’s cousin and introduced the pair, feels guilty. Her sister worries for Kate’s mental health and connects her with the admissions director at Hudson Day School, who is desperate to fill an admissions counselor position before the rush. Despite a catastrophically bad interview, Kate gets the job. Slowly, slowly, she reclaims her life, her friendships and her way.
Poeppel nails the naked ambition of New York power moms for whom placing their children in a prep school is as important as securing the newest Birkin bag. Small Admissions is a laugh-out-loud funny look at status and rejection in all its forms, from the classroom to the bedroom.