Review: Admission by Julie Buxbaum

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

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?

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

Updated Publication Date for Admission: December 1, 2020

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard about the big College Admission Scandal. Many wealthy parents, including a couple celebrities, used a “consultant” to cheat their kids into prestigious colleges. Admission is an account of a fictional family facing the fall out. However, if you’re hoping for more emotional insight than you’ve seen on the news – or that Lifetime Channel movie – then you’re going to be a little disappointed.

The crimes of Chloe’s parents are taken directly out of the headlines and seems to be a combination of both Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, though I definitely felt more of a tilt towards Loughlin. The story read a lot like the Lifetime movie of the scandal, except the movie was a little more interesting. The slow pace and unlikable characters made the book a chore to get through. There is even a part early on where Chloe is in English class discussing a book and is reminded that readers don’t need to like characters in literature, which feels like a cop out for not making the characters of this book more developed or empathetic.

The chapters alternate between Now and Then, with the Now chapters starting with the FBI showing up and the Then chapters starting with Chloe struggling to study for the SATs. I have to say I found the Now chapters much more interesting. Most of the Then chapters felt a little like filler that basically just highlighted all the ways that Chloe was unaware of her rich, white privilege. There are snippets of Chloe ignoring the weird things her parents were doing – telling her she has ADHD to get accommodations on the SAT, going through her phone to find a picture where she has a good tan that someone might be able to confuse for some Argentinian heritage, etc. The past chapters also chronicled her relationship with her best friend and friend-turned-boyfriend, who were both pretty underdeveloped caricatures.

I think the story would have benefited by adding some other POVs. Or even making at least one of the characters a little more calculating. Here everyone knows what they’re doing isn’t on the up and up exactly, but they also don’t think it’s really that bad. The whole point of the story seems to be to cast a light on how privileged people don’t fully grasp their privilege and it’s effect on others. All explained to us by a privileged white lady…

Overall, I found Admission pretty disappointing. The main character was whiny and unrelatable, there wasn’t really anything in the story that you haven’t already read in the news, and the overall moral of the story about wealthy, white privilege came across as kind of trite. Also, the cute romance I expect from a Buxbaum book was almost completely missing here. The one bright spot in the book was Chloe’s sister, Isla, who was the only character who didn’t feel like a complete cliche, even if she was a little unrealistic.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2020

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Moment of Truth by Kasie West. Read March 3-5. 3 Stars

It makes me a little sad to say this, but I found this book really dull. I didn’t really start to enjoy it until about the last 25%. I expect a slow burn romance in West’s books, but it felt almost non-existent until close to the end. I also thought the big drama between Hadley and her parents was resolved WAY too easily. I almost gave this book 2 stars instead of 3, but I did really like Hadley and Jackson in the last few chapters.

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Wild at Heart (The Simple Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker. Read March 5-7. 4 Stars. 

I loved this. I think I enjoyed it more than the first book, actually. It’s extremely character-driven and not a lot really happens and if I was in a different mood, I could see where this might not have worked for me, but I really enjoyed it. I liked seeing Calla and Jonah work on starting a life together. There were lots of sweet moments between them and Jonah could be far more romantic than I remember him being. However, he still did lots of stupid things that made me frustrated with him, too. I liked the new location and the new characters, especially Toby and Roy. One negative thing, though, I thought there were a few too many sex scenes. None of them were that detailed and some were even more “fade to black”, but it just seemed a little excessive.

I would love a third Calla and Jonah book. I think I’m going to go back and re-read the first book now just because I don’t feel like being done with them quite yet.

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca. Read March 8-10. 2.5 Stars. 

I think I was way too hyped for this. Everyone I know that read this gave it 4 or 5 stars and I had really high expectations. I found it really lackluster, though. I didn’t really like the main character, I didn’t buy the romance, and wasn’t really impressed with the writing. There were a couple of cute or funny moments, but I just didn’t enjoy this one.

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Bennett Mafia by Tijan. Read March 22-24. 3.5 Stars

When I was having a hard time concentrating on anything, this one kept my attention. It was crazy and sometimes ridiculous, but addicting, which is what I expect from a Tijan book. It was just a little too long, though. Just when I felt like the story was coming to an end, the plot completely shifted. I almost felt like this could have been broken into two different books.

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The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren. Read March 24-25. 4 Stars. 

I don’t know what all these lukewarm reviews are about because I really enjoyed this! I liked the home renovation show vibes and the slow burn romance. The two main characters were likable (except when James did a couple of super dumb things) and the “villains” were more of the love-to-hate variety. I could’ve used an epilogue, but this was a cute, fast read and I’m kind of sad that I finished it so quickly.

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The Assist (Smart Jocks #1) by Rebecca Jenshak. Read March 26-27. 3.5 Stars.

A little cliched, but after a rough start I started to enjoy this. I liked Blaire and Wes (Bless) and I liked that we got both of their POVs. I’ll probably give the rest of this series a try before my KU subscription ends.

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Fake It ‘Til You Break It by Meagan Brandy. Read March 28-29. 3.5 Stars

This was one of those crazy Romances where high school kids act like adults and everything is 100x more dramatic than it needs to be, but I was into it. I liked both Nico and Demi and I shipped them. I will probably check out some of this author’s other books while I still have KU.

*****Re-Read*****

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker. I liked this just as much the second time around – maybe even more.

*****Back on the TBR*****

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Open Book by Jessica Simpson. I didn’t make it past the prologue. Just wasn’t in the mood for non-fiction. I’ll try it again, though.

*****DNF*****

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By the Book by Amanda Sellet. DNF @ 5%. I try to go 25% before I give up on a book, but I couldn’t even make it through two chapters of this book. It was just trying way too hard. The main character was insufferable. I will say I’m also a lot older than the target audience for this book, so a younger, quirkier crowd may enjoy this much more.

Pretty Reckless by LJ Shen. DNF @ 7%. Whenever I sign up for Kindle Unlimted, I try a lot of books that I probably wouldn’t otherwise ever read and this book definitely fell into that category. I’ve seen so many great reviews of LJ Shen books and I wanted to see what the fuss was about, but I think it’s safe to say this author isn’t for me.

Doughn’t Let Me Go by Teagan Hunter. DNF @ 21%. Nope. Just can’t do this. I don’t really like either of the characters. Porter is way more skeezy than I can appreciate and I’m just rolling my eyes at Dory and her whole Pretty Woman “sex is fine, but no kissing” thing. I also am not a fan of the Single Dad / Nanny trope. I’ve enjoyed several other books by this author, but this one just isn’t for me.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter – 2 Stars

The First Date by Zara Stoneley – 3.5 Stars

The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond – 3.5 Stars

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson – 2.5 Stars

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett – 3.5 Stars

Admission by Julie Buxbaum – 2 Stars

The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell – 3.5 Stars

My COVID-19 ARC TBR

How is everyone doing? I personally think the world is overreacting right now, but I’ll still stay home and follow the guidelines the government and health officials put forth. I mean, I’ve been practicing social distancing all my life, so it’s not really a big deal. I am on administrative leave / working remotely for at least the next three weeks so that means plenty of time for reading! I plan on working through my ARCs:

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Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

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Admission by Julie Buxbaum

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By the Book by Amanda Sellet

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Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

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The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell

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The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

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The Heatwave by Katerina Diamond

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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The Bright Lands by John Fram

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The Vacation by T.M. Logan

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Louisiana Lucky by Julie Pennell

What’s on your COVID-19 TBR?