Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Book Review: Getting In by Karen Stabiner

I love books about college admissions. If I didn't work in book publishing, I would work in college admissions somehow, probably as a high school guidance counselor. I even applied to and got into graduate programs for that, but while waiting for my own admissions, I got my first job in the world of books and didn't look back.

This book tells the story of five seniors in Los Angeles worrying about colleges and the future, and their families. Three go to a prep school, a fourth used to until her parents' divorce, and the fifth is her tutor. Aspirations are high (Northwestern! Harvard! Yale is a backup!), competition is intense, the future is uncertain, and everything is tense.

I bought this book on impulse and was very pleased. The book was relatively light, without major themes or symbolism, but the issues in the book seem like life or death to the people involved. (And as I remember, that's relatively accurate.) And light was just what I was looking for after lots of dense nonfiction and deep book club novels. All these characters seemed pretty real, although there also were cliches. But the cliches felt legit, like this is the reason why cliches exist: because those actually do happen in the real world. There are studious Asian-American students who are a shoe-in for Harvard, there are Mean Girls who have easy lives, high school is populated with ditzes and nice girls and popular boys, and they all are in Getting In. We also get the parents' perspective and the guidance counselor.

If you have students approaching college age, or if you are through the process and would like to see it without the accompanying stress, or if you just want to read a fun book mostly about people in a certain income bracket, Getting In is perfect. It would be an ideal poolside read, and the timing is perfect to read it when school's out!

I bought this book at a Borders GOOB sale.

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