Monday, January 4, 2021

Admission by Julie Buxbaum

Author: Julie Buxbaum
Delacorte Press
Publication date: December 1, 2020
Pages: 304
Source/format: e-ARC//Publisher
Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from

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?

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Chloe Berringer is your average student who is trying to obtain a high SAT score in order to get into a good college. She attends Wood Valley and is super stressed out about the SATs. Chloe's best friend, Shola, has amazing SAT scores and high GPA, which causes Chloe to freak out a bit whether Chloe will succeed in life since she struggles academically. 

Admission flips back and forth between the present (now) and past (then) of what is happening now when Chloe's mother is arrested and charged for being apart of an admissions scandal and the past of what events lead to the scandal. Readers see what it's like for being the teenager whose mother is involved in such a scandal.  Dealing with the pressure of being a teenager is already hard enough. Now Chloe must endure cyberbullying and doxing as Chloe tries to navigate her life after her mother is arrested.

What hurts even more is Levi, Chloe's boyfriend, doesn't want to talk to her anymore after learning about the scandal. She tries to tell him it's not what he thinks but he blocks her via text. Chloe is devastated so many people hate her. Even Shola refuses to return Chloe's texts. Chloe feels alone and even her lawyer tells her not to talk to anyone. This isolation affects her immensely.

Julie Buxbaum's novel touches upon college admissions bribery scandals that have happening lately involving celebrities. I love how she included text messages involving Shola/Chloe, Levi/Chloe and the encrypted chat Chloe has with other teenagers involved with the admissions scandal. This makes the story plot realistic and current. 

Admission includes huge theme about what privilege means including socio-economical privilege and racial privilege. Shola tries to show Chloe what it is like not to be super rich and not to be white. Things are not handed to people on a silver platter. Shola talks about FAFSA and Chloe had know clue what Shola was talking about. Shola tells Chloe that she doesn't have any private tutors or private consultations for appointments. She even tells Chloe how her younger siblings didn't get into Wood Valley and how she didn't get into Southern California College, a college Chloe gains an acceptance letter to. Shola tries to describe what it is like in her shoes when she mentions to Chloe, "Welcome to the real world, Chlo." But instead, Chloe says, "Maybe you guys should move to a better school district." What a slap in the face! 

I found Chloe to be a bland in personality. She is always putting herself down and whining about everything. There is nothing interesting about her. Chloe is insensitive and is stuck in this super privileged bubble that she doesn't see the struggles of others. She is super naive. I don't understand how she didn't think it was strange to take a SAT test at another site who doesn't ID SAT test takers, to give her college application login to a random person or to overhear a "donation" for 250k. Chloe didn't even question these random requests. I would love to get to know Shola better in a short story or a companion novel. Reading Shola's journey to success would be a great read and it would be inspiration for many teenagers.

Overall, Admission is a novel for readers who want to read a fictionalized version of the college admissions scandals. I highly suggest readers to pick up Tell Me Three Things, also by Buxbaum, and is also set at Wood Valley.