by Meg Mitchell Moore
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Just released: August 18, 2015
Genre: Women's Fiction
Hardback: 320 pages
Nora was trying not to sorry. But she'd been a mother for nearly eighteen years now. She was going to worry.
The Hawthorne family has it all. Great jobs, a beautiful house in one of the most affluent areas of northern California, and three charming kids with perfectly straight teeth. And then comes their eldest daughter's senior year of high school . . .
Firstborn Angela Hawthorne is a straight-A student and star athlete, with extracurricular activities coming out of her ears and a college application that's not going to write itself. She's set her sights on Harvard, her father's alma mater, and like a dog with a chew toy, Angela won't let up until she's basking in crimson-colored glory. Except her class rank as valedictorian is under attack, she's suddenly losing her edge at cross-country, and she can't help but daydream about the cute baseball player in English class. Of course Angela knows the time put into her schoolgirl crush would be better spent coming up with a subject for her term paper—which, along with her college essay and community service hours has a rapidly approaching deadline.
Angela's mother, Nora, is similarly stretched to the limit, juggling parent-teacher meetings, carpool, and a real-estate career where she caters to the mega rich and super-picky buyers and sellers of the Bay Area. The youngest daughter, Maya, still can't read at the age of eight; the middle-child, Cecily, is no longer the happy-go-lucky kid she once was; and the dad, Gabe, seems oblivious to the mounting pressures at home because a devastating secret of his own might be exposed. A few ill-advised moves put the Hawthorne family on a heedless collision course that's equal parts achingly real and delightfully screwball.
Sharp and topical, The Admissions shows that if you pull at a loose thread, even the sturdiest of lives start to unravel at the seams of high achievement.
There was still a month to go until Halloween. Even so, Cecily and Pinkie had spent much of the afternoon—Cecily's sole afternoon free from Irish dance practice—working on their costume, which was some sort of Siamese two-headed zombie situation; Guinness World Records meets The Walking Dead, while Angela went to French club and cross-country practice and showered and snuck into her room past Cecily, Pinkie, Maya, and the babysitter Maddie.
-chapter 10, page 43
I could relate to the woes of this story as I went through the college hullabaloo with my daughter last year. However, it did not reach the nightmare level that this story gets into.
The experience of living in the San Francisco bay area and college application process is presented well with perspectives from each member of a family. And boy-o-boy does this process affect everyone in the family.
As secrets are revealed it was interesting to see how the painful aspects and repercussions were dealt with.
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* review copy courtesy of BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge 2015 (details) @booksparks #FRC2015