Blanche’s Book Club: ‘Admission’.

I hope you all had a great weekend. It actually snowed in Austin yesterday — which doesn’t happen often — and it was a few inches! I didn’t go outside, but it was nice looking out the window all day and seeing it.

Over the weekend, I tried to relax after such a tough week. I got my Christmas decorations taken down and put away, took an extra long yoga + barre class, and did lots of reading.

So, let’s get to the book! This is my first book review of 2021, but it’s actually not the first book I’ve read this year (more on this later). It’s “Admission” by Julie Buxbaum, which came out in December.

I was SO excited for this book to come out, I even pre-ordered it. Here’s what it’s about:

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?

Did you follow the “Varsity Blues” scandal? I wasn’t obsessed with it like I sometimes get with news stories, but actually one of the coaches at UT in Austin was part of it, so I followed that lil saga. But when Lori Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia Jade, was interviewed on “Red Table Talk”… I watched it as soon as it was available. Watching that made me more invested.

So anyway, this book is the fictionalized version of this and well, I really loved it. The book does a really great job of showing the privilege side of this whole thing, but it also shows how normal these sort of “loopholes” have become in our institutions.

It also has a little bit of glitz given that it’s about a celebrity family, but there’s also bits of real life in there. We’ve all experienced some sort of pressure to do well on a test or in school or for a job. But, do rich, well-off people deserve our pity?

I will say… I’m not sure how I feel about real life stories being so closely fictionalized. And I’m not trying to trash this book or the author. I’d venture to say most fiction is based on real-life. But, when you can’t tell what’s fiction and what’s not? I have mixed feelings about it. What do you think about it? I certainly do appreciate having this inside look, even if it’s not all completely true.

Regardless, this book was fantastic. I’d definitely recommend it if you have any interest in the Varsity Blues scandal!

Okay, so, the other book I read before this one was “The Chicken Sisters” by KJ Dell’Antonia. I didn’t enjoy it, and I don’t see the point in writing an entire blog post about a book I didn’t like. I never want to bash an author or a book really, but I did read it.

It wasn’t a horrible book, and it had mixed reviews on Goodreads. I picked it up thinking it was going to be more about food and reality TV (pretty much my two favorite things), but instead, it focused on long-standing family drama. It was well-written, so if you like family feud-based plots, you would probably like it!

What are you guys reading?

Blanche’s Book Club will be reviewing “Ready Player Two” by Ernest Cline next!

For more book recommendations, be sure to subscribe to the blog (look to the right) and follow me on Goodreads @thebitterlemon – where I share more of my book picks.

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