Monday, March 26, 2007

Acceptance by Susan Coll

This adult novel follows the lives of three high school students from their junior year to being accepted to college. The three kids go to one of the best public schools in the country, and the hype is all about test scores, AP tests, and what elite university will accept them. "AP Harry" earned his nickname the right way and dreams about Harvard. Maya is the rich girl who isn't as bright as her parents want her to be. Taylor is the troubled teenage girl who steals people's mail, paints her fingernails blue, and wants to go to college where she can have a private bathroom. Add in AP Harry's mom, Taylor's mom, and a guidance counselor at the small college Yates, and you have this novel.
While the subject matter is appropriate to college-bound teens, I don't know if teens will get the subtle humor the author uses to show the stupidity of the college admission process. I thought is was hilarious at times, because I used to pore over the U.S. News & World Report college list, too. I went to Illinois Wesleyan because it was ranked as the best Midwest small liberal arts college. I filled out a Vassar and Yale application and pondered whether paying the filing fee was worth it, considering my chances of being accepted. So I understand where the kids in this novel are coming from, but I don't think their stories made a great novel. The book was okay. And that's not great.

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