By Julie Buxbaum
** Publication Date 1 December 2020 **
Chloe Berringer has it all. Famous mom, devoted dad, annoying sister. She lives in a big house in Beverly Hills and attends an elite private school. The only thing Chloe doesn’t have is great grades and a shoe-in to her college of choice, SCC. Her best friend Shola and her friend Levi are both eyeing Harvard. Chloe can’t even dream of a school like Harvard. Not with her slacker attitude about school work.
TV star mom to the rescue. Mom is going to hire every support specialist known to get Chloe into SCC. While Chloe reasons that it’s okay if she goes elsewhere, mom and dad are going to make sure that what Chloe wants, Chloe gets. So when Chloe opens the front door expecting a delivery from Sephora, but instead finds the FBI with guns pointed at her, the reality of what her parents have done to achieve those dreams sets in.
Julie Buxbaum has taken the stories ripped from the headlines about the college admissions scandal and created a YA novel about what it’s like to be the kid in this scandal. Admission isn’t just about getting admitted to college, it’s also an admission of guilt. How much did Chloe know before the fact? How much did she know while breaking all the rules and stepping over others to achieve her dream?
While this novel addresses the main issue of how these parents played the game to get their kids into their schools of choice, it also addresses the more pressing issue of those it affects in the periphery. Chloe is forced to face up to the fact that she pretty much lives a life of white privilege, while her parents are forced to face up to the fact that they’ve provided this cushy little world for their kids, where little is expected of them other than to be happy.
Five stars for this one. The writing is impeccable. The story of two siblings with the same privileges but different outlooks on life is fabulous. Set in my own hometown, this story rang all too true for me. Yes, white privilege exists, and yes there are some who game the system. But there are also those who work really hard to get where they are and to get those college admissions. Buxbaum highlights all of those in a fabulous YA read.