Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

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After her boyfriend breaks up with her, Kate is a mess. She rarely leaves the couch and is doing nothing productive with her life. Her friends are frustrated with how much she’s let herself wallow in the breakup, and want her to get her life back on track. Kate eventually manages to get herself a job interview at a prestigious private school in Manhattan for elementary school aged children.

She ends up getting hired, and her new job is working in admissions. What Kate thinks will be an easy job ends up being much harder than she thought. Not only does she have to make decisions as to which children will be accepted into the school, she has to deal with the parents that will do anything to make sure their child is on the list of accepted students.

We follow Kate as she navigates her new job and her relationships with her friends and parents, and are able to see the ups and downs of her life as she recovers from her heartbreak.

Overall, I thought Small Admissions was just okay. I really wanted to love this one, because chick-lit is a genre I generally enjoy, and this one (shockingly) seemed like it wouldn’t be focused on Kate finding a new man (and it wasn’t). Although those things were true, I felt like the execution of the book kept me from loving it as much as I wanted to. There were chapters that bounced around between different characters, but it wasn’t always clear when that happened, so sometimes I’d be listening to the audiobook and the next chapter would be from a different character, but there was no warning. When I was reading the hard copy, the chapters who weren’t told by Kate were italicized, but even then, without having a character name as the chapter title, it was a little tricky to navigate. Additionally, there were some parts of the book that were told through email, however in many cases, we only saw Kate’s side of the email and not the email she was responding to, so that was a little weird to me. Generally I love when a book has emails/IMs/texts included in the story, but this one didn’t work super well for me.

I also had a hard time with a lot of the characters. While I liked Kate for the most part, and understand very well what a breakup feels like, I felt like she took her reaction to the extreme. She completely let her self-worth become wrapped up in her ex-boyfriend, and it was all she could talk about or focus on, which was hard to read.  Without spoiling anything, I will say that one of her “friends” was completely horrible and treated her like crap, which pissed me off too. I hated reading the chapters told from her point of view, and had no idea why anyone would want to be friends with that particular character. Lastly, the children and parents. Holy crap, were they awful. The sad part is that I 100% believe that there are parents in the world who act that nuts over their child getting accepted or rejected to a certain school, etc. The parents were selfish, overbearing, condescending, and rude, and the children did exactly what their parents told them to, so their admissions essays and interviews were clearly rehearsed. Those parts were hard for me to read too, even though they seemed realistic!

That all said, the book was fast paced and I had an easy time reading it. There were parts that made me laugh, and overall I did like Kate. This was a 3.5 star book for me, but I rounded down to 3 stars on Goodreads because of the issues I mentioned above. If you’re looking for a light chick lit book that isn’t centered too much on finding a soulmate, this may be a good option for you.

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