Small Admissions

Small Admissions

For fans of The Nanny Diaries and Sophie Kinsella comes a whip-smart and deliciously funny debut novel about Kate, a young woman unexpectedly thrust into the cutthroat world of New York City private school admissions as she attempts to understand city life, human nature, and falling in love.Despite her innate ambition and Summa Cum Laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned int...

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Title:Small Admissions
Author:Amy Poeppel
Rating:
ISBN:1501122525
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:368 pages

Small Admissions Reviews

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    Jun 13, 2016

    Those are the two words I’d use to describe this book. I stated in my brief, immediate thoughts after finishing this one how I rarely give Chick Lit 5 stars, but I stand by my opinion that this one is worth every star. It might appear similar to many other fluffy, girly, mindless reads out there; I’m not claiming this to be a deep read, but it is different in quite a few ways which I’ll tackle below. This was the perfect beach read, which is why I went ahead and devoured it now

    Those are the two words I’d use to describe this book. I stated in my brief, immediate thoughts after finishing this one how I rarely give Chick Lit 5 stars, but I stand by my opinion that this one is worth every star. It might appear similar to many other fluffy, girly, mindless reads out there; I’m not claiming this to be a deep read, but it is different in quite a few ways which I’ll tackle below. This was the perfect beach read, which is why I went ahead and devoured it now instead of saving it until closer to pub day.

    My favorite surprise to this upbeat read was the fact that it isn’t centered around the main character finding a soul mate. Sure, there is some romance sprinkled in, but it isn’t the main focal point of this story, giving the lead female character much more depth than your stereotypical, recently dumped woman. Instead of solely focusing on dating and our girl pining over multiple men until she finds “Mr. Right”, the story highlights in depth many other relationships, such as growing in the areas of family (parents) and friends/coworkers. It also confronts the issue of tragedy striking in personal and professional areas, and how we have to dig deep to work through and overcome, rather than just giving up on everything good in life.

    I also couldn’t believe how dang funny this book was! This wasn’t cheesy, chick lit funnies; this was my type of dry humor that had me snorting out loud and my family wondering if they should have me committed while on vacation.

    The humor and situations involved in the school and specifically the admissions department are nothing short of hilarious, and feel very relatable on what I would expect working with children and their Type-A parents would be like. The letters her parents continually send had me in stitches and also had me thinking I could be BFFs with author

    ; I’d love to sit down with her and a coffee to see if she’s as hilarious in person.

    If you have trouble finding a breezy read that isn’t totally flakey, you’re not alone. It always seems the Chick Lit I hunt down is either too unbelievably ridiculous or isn’t as care-free of a read that I’m looking for. This story had the perfect balance of “escaping from the pressures of life to just enjoy a fun read” without being “over the top cheesy and vomit worthy in the romantic department”. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit/Contemporary Fiction. I can’t express how shocked I was to love a book like this as much as I did; I thoroughly enjoyed escaping from my own little terrors long enough to enjoy laughing at the fictional parents of the teenagers (read monsters) in this book. I’ll be keeping my eyes glued looking for more work from Ms Poeppel!

  • Sam
    Dec 01, 2016

    is an easy read, by turns occasionally smartly observed and amusing, but also thin, never penetrating far beneath the surface layers of its characters and situations. The novel centers around Kate, pulling herself from the despondency caused by a tough break up and academic failure. Kate is the fulcrum, and we orbit around her and the lives of her sister and college friends, and as she accepts a position in admissions at Hudson Day School, the lives of the privileged New York pa

    is an easy read, by turns occasionally smartly observed and amusing, but also thin, never penetrating far beneath the surface layers of its characters and situations. The novel centers around Kate, pulling herself from the despondency caused by a tough break up and academic failure. Kate is the fulcrum, and we orbit around her and the lives of her sister and college friends, and as she accepts a position in admissions at Hudson Day School, the lives of the privileged New York parents and children jockeying for position and status in the rigorous application process for 6th grade.

    I'm not sure whether it's the writing or the characterization, but the main adults whose lives we're peeking into never really rose to become characters I cared about or was even truly interested in - this despite the fact that I am in a personally similar situation to Kate's at the beginning of the novel. Kate is a bit of a cipher: awkward, intelligent (though mostly told that and only sometimes shown that), beautiful without trying, you never really feel her despair enough in the beginning to truly root for her to succeed, in part because it already feels like a foregone conclusion that she will find herself and (probably) find a new, better fit man for her. Vicki is the ambitious, gorgeous, shallow striver who gives tough love and breaks girl code and ultimately amounts to little more than a beautiful cold bitch stereotype (although at least her ambition is made clear, even if it is presented as a double edge sword). Chloe is the one we could be most interested in since she has the most amount of emotion and thought (and is the more plain one of the three deliberately), but Poeppel shifts her perspective to first person with her parts, and she's mostly on the outside of the entire proceedings even though we have small opportunities to get directly in her head.

    Amy Poeppel has a knack for good observation, even if some of the sketches of characters can feel a bit banal at times: telegraphing personality by what one wears, the erudite and eccentric anthropologist parents of Kate, the workaholic verbally abusive father, the housewife growing increasingly delusional and drugged out, the charming commitment proof French Lothario who ensnared and rejected Kate and then begins things with Vicki. Her writing style is just fine, good for her observations, but doesn't necessarily excel at capturing and showing mood or emotion. It also switches from first to third person, and from straight narrative to occasionally epistolary with emails between characters, and I don't feel these style changes added much to the overall, even if the emails could occasionally be funny.

    There's some snark and moments of humor (but nothing I laughed out loud at) and interesting ideas, but the whole reads somewhat flat to me. These aren't characters or situations that were made to be interesting (because anything can be interesting and well written). And even as a New Yorker who did attend private school at various points of my childhood, none of the observations or characters were new or surprising to me. I could see fans of

    or

    being interested in this title, and again, it's a very easy read. But I found it just ok and ultimately unmemorable.

  • Lola  Reviewer
    Nov 14, 2016

    I would not be surprised if this became a best seller. Maybe not #1 of its genre, but it’s interesting and insightful, since it explores multiple subjects.

    With the use of humour.

    This is a book particularly for those who are amused/entertained by drama, somewhat ridiculous situations or/and women who like meddling in each other’s lives.

    There is Kate, who was dumped by Robert, who is Chloe’s cousin, who is Kate’s best friend who keeps her love life a secret from everyone. Kate is going through a

    I would not be surprised if this became a best seller. Maybe not #1 of its genre, but it’s interesting and insightful, since it explores multiple subjects.

    With the use of humour.

    This is a book particularly for those who are amused/entertained by drama, somewhat ridiculous situations or/and women who like meddling in each other’s lives.

    There is Kate, who was dumped by Robert, who is Chloe’s cousin, who is Kate’s best friend who keeps her love life a secret from everyone. Kate is going through a rough time right now.

    There is Angela, who is Kate’s sister, who obsesses over her sister’s splintered life. Her plan to fix Kate? Get her a job! Will it work, will it make things better? And does Kate have what it takes to work in admissions?

    There is Victoria, who is Kate’s former best friend and still kind of friend, who has a secret she is not eager to tell anyone.

    Oh, this is just so much fun, especially Kate’s interviews with potential candidates for Hudson and their parents. God, some parents are crazy! And some kids are really clueless.

    There is one couple in particular that is scary-insistent about their kid going to Hudson. It’s pathetic but also pretty darn entertaining to read about.

    In the end, even with all the humour and (some) unrealistic drama, there are things to be learned from this book. Don’t let a guy dictate who you are! Don’t give up everything for a guy! There is always hope! Things will always get better! Some times you lose, some times you win! There is love where you least expect it!

    I actually don’t read many books genred as ‘‘women’s fiction,’’ because I’m much more interested by YA novels, but this was better than a comedy movie. Almost.

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  • Grace {Rebel Mommy Book Blog}
    Dec 07, 2016

    Review

    This book started off a bit rocky for me. It was in the third person which I am not that big of a fan and it was just flat out a little confusing. I am so glad I stuck with it though because I really loved it!

    After a devastating break-up, Kate hasn't been able to move on or well, move off her couch. The once smart motivated Summa Cum Laude has taken to Sex and the City reruns and not much else. Her friends and family are at a loss of what to do until her sister helps her get a job in the

    Review

    This book started off a bit rocky for me. It was in the third person which I am not that big of a fan and it was just flat out a little confusing. I am so glad I stuck with it though because I really loved it!

    After a devastating break-up, Kate hasn't been able to move on or well, move off her couch. The once smart motivated Summa Cum Laude has taken to Sex and the City reruns and not much else. Her friends and family are at a loss of what to do until her sister helps her get a job in the admissions department of a prestigious school. While Kate is in her busy time at work and slowly getting her life together, her sister and friends are tangled in lots of secrets and fights that Kate has no clue about.

    Man Kate was a mess and I felt bad for her. I understood why her sister wanted her to get on with her life but then she almost did like that she got on with her life without keeping her up to date. They definitely had a complex relationship which I found interesting and realistic. I loved how all the characters' - mainly Kate, her sister and her two friends -  stories all kind of intertwined and unfolded.

    My favorite part was the growth of Kate and just how self-aware she was about herself and the past. A lot of that had to do with the new job she had gotten in admissions. I loved the look into that world. Her co-workers were great and the interviews with potential students were interesting and pretty funny at times.

    There is a bit of romance but not much. It really focuses on Kate and her journey as well as her dynamic with her sister and friends really. I loved that it was quirky and an engrossing read. There were some small issues here and there but I honestly just enjoyed it so much I overlooked some of them. Definitely a read for those fans of lighter, quirky women's fiction read.

  • Jenna
    Jan 07, 2017

    A fun, frothy confection and lightning-fast read, this is ChickLit at its finest. This isn't a book that will likely stick with you for the ages, but neither will you regret the time you've spent with it. And neither will you be distracted by stilted prose here; Poeppel is a fluent, witty writer whose experience as a playwright shows through her lively dialogue, which at times reminded me of an episode of Gilmore Girls mixed with HBO's Girls. The author incorporates emails, texts, and student es

    A fun, frothy confection and lightning-fast read, this is ChickLit at its finest. This isn't a book that will likely stick with you for the ages, but neither will you regret the time you've spent with it. And neither will you be distracted by stilted prose here; Poeppel is a fluent, witty writer whose experience as a playwright shows through her lively dialogue, which at times reminded me of an episode of Gilmore Girls mixed with HBO's Girls. The author incorporates emails, texts, and student essays to good and humorous effect, and there is plenty of fodder here for readers who enjoy any of the following popular topics: elite school admissions processes, shenanigans of high school and academia, "problems" of elite Manhattanites, and millennials-finding-themselves drama. In all, a big-hearted, good-natured romp for fans of books like Eligible, Big Little Lies, Modern Lovers, and the happy, tidy endings of Jane Austen and Shakespearean comedies.

  • Suzanne Leopold
    Jan 18, 2017

    Kate Pearson quits graduate school to live in Paris with her French boyfriend, Robert. She is blindsided by Robert as he quickly breaks off the relationship and she ends up moving back to New York City. Kate spends a good part of the year living on her sister’s couch, watching television and barely functioning. Her two friends from college and her sister were doing everything they could to get Kate back on her feet. They eventually find her an apartment to sublet and a dog walking job, in the ho

    Kate Pearson quits graduate school to live in Paris with her French boyfriend, Robert. She is blindsided by Robert as he quickly breaks off the relationship and she ends up moving back to New York City. Kate spends a good part of the year living on her sister’s couch, watching television and barely functioning. Her two friends from college and her sister were doing everything they could to get Kate back on her feet. They eventually find her an apartment to sublet and a dog walking job, in the hopes that she can pull herself together.

    She eventually lands a job interview at an admissions office for a small

    Manhattan private school. Kate leaves the interview feeling that she botched it the because of her inappropriate answers to questions and her profuse sweating. Surprising herself, Kate gets the job and enters into the competitive world of admissions. Although feeling unqualified, she slowly begins to settle into her job and with her two co-workers. She interviews a multitude of children, deciphers essays and meets with stressed out parents.

    While Kate seems to be progressing with her newfound career, her sister is still greatly concerned. She micromanages her with unsolicited advice amid worries that she will regress back into depression. Her friends continue to stay in contact with her but have ulterior motives.

    The dialogue during parent and student interviews was very humorous and I laughed out loud a few times. This book was fun and entertaining and I look forward to future works from Amy Poeppel.

    giving away 2 copies on my blog until 1/29

  • Olivia-Savannah Roach
    Jan 09, 2017

    I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going in for when I decided to read and review Small Admissions. But I was pretty pleased and satisfied by the time I finished reading this book. Although it is centered around a school and the admissions process, it really is about family. Friendships, love, break ups, recovering from a funk… this book really covers it all.

    What I had to like most about this novel was the brilliant character development we get to see from Kate. At the beginning, we really see he

    I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going in for when I decided to read and review Small Admissions. But I was pretty pleased and satisfied by the time I finished reading this book. Although it is centered around a school and the admissions process, it really is about family. Friendships, love, break ups, recovering from a funk… this book really covers it all.

    What I had to like most about this novel was the brilliant character development we get to see from Kate. At the beginning, we really see her as someone who is hopeless and helpless. I have to admit – I criticized her a bit for wallowing so much when it came to a break up. A whole year is a really long time! But we steadily get to see a bit more of the bigger picture and what truly went on as we get further into the story. I started to blame Kate less and less. It helped that we were getting to see her beautiful transformation as well.

    I also really liked how present the secondary characters were in this novel. We see things from all of their perspectives, and really get to see their story going in tandems with Kate, even though it might not really have to do with her story directly. I’m someone who really thinks minor characters all play their own role, and we really get to see this in the book. Because indirectly, things that the minor characters do, eventually end up effecting Kate’s journey and life in certain ways. So it was pretty nice to see that reflected in the story.

    The style of writing was pretty nice and easy to read. At times some of the story is told through letters, emails and correspondence which was a nice change. I didn’t feel anything particular for that in either way. There was also quite a lot of point of view switching, which worked at times and didn’t work at others for me. I really liked to see all the different perspectives, but it was also a bit of brainwork trying to figure out whose perspective we were seeing things from after a chapter break.

    I was expecting to not be able to appreciate any of the parts which had to do with the school. I know a bit about running a school because my mum is a head mistress, so I was prepared. But the author actually managed to make it interesting, and I found myself strangely invested in what was happening there. Yeah, it surprised me.

    I have to admit though, in the middle the story dragged a bit. Not because it was boring, necessarily, but because I think Kate reached a plateau moment in her life and that slowed down the story. It’s the reason I couldn’t give the book five stars.

    Most of all, this book make me think about what it means to leave things in life behind. Let go, move on. It made me think about rejection – in the sense of school admissions and from other people. And it also made me really think about whether there are really bad people in the world, or just bad mistakes or bad situations that some people can’t handle…

    This review can be found at Olivia's Catastrophe:

  • Larry Hoffer
    Jan 11, 2017

    I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I'll round up.

    Sometimes after I've read a few fairly heavy or angsty books, I need to metaphorically cleanse my literary palate by reading something a little lighter. It doesn't necessarily have to be a humor book or utter fluff, but every now and then I like to seek out books that are lighter in tone, more straight-forward, something I can enjoy without having to tax my brain or my psyche too hard.

    After the last few books I've read, I turned to Amy Poeppel's

    I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I'll round up.

    Sometimes after I've read a few fairly heavy or angsty books, I need to metaphorically cleanse my literary palate by reading something a little lighter. It doesn't necessarily have to be a humor book or utter fluff, but every now and then I like to seek out books that are lighter in tone, more straight-forward, something I can enjoy without having to tax my brain or my psyche too hard.

    After the last few books I've read, I turned to Amy Poeppel's

    as my literary intermezzo of sorts. It was just what I was hoping for—an engaging story with characters I could root for (as well as some I could root against). It even made me laugh more than a few times, which was a pleasant surprise.

    The daughter of two college professors, Kate Pearson has always been almost myopically focused on academics, much to the frustration of her friends and her older sister Angela. But when her post-graduate work in a prestigious anthropology program with a noted professor turns disastrous, she makes a characteristically un-Kate decision and plans to move to Paris with her

    handsome boyfriend Richard. Only she doesn't quite get out of the Paris airport, and then she's back in the U.S., nearly catatonic in her depression, never getting out of her pajamas, drinking far too much, and refusing to do anything to fix her situation.

    After nearly a year of moping and mourning, Angela feels compelled to do something to save Kate from herself. Angela's chance meeting with the overworked director of admissions for a tony prep school in New York lands Kate an interview. And despite one of the most disastrous job interviews on record, where she dresses inappropriately and says even less appropriate things, Kate is shockingly hired as the assistant director of admissions for the famed Hudson Day School.

    "...she didn't like children particularly. Didn't know any other than her niece, didn't want to. Didn't know anything about schools in New York City, either, obviously. Or schools anywhere. Or the admissions process. Or administrative anything. She would be expected to answer people's questions, and she wouldn't have the answers because—to get right down to it—she didn't know

    ."

    After her initial fear that her boss will discover he accidentally hired the wrong girl, or that she'll screw everything up, abates, Kate starts to settle into her job. Before long she's interviewing prospective students—smart, driven children programmed by their parents; clueless children wondering why they're even there other than because their parents are making them; and the rare child who actually

    to go to Hudson. Kate is far from a traditional interviewer, and as crazy as her interviews with the kids are, some of the parents are even crazier! (While a subplot featuring two feuding parents seems tired, there's a terrifically funny payoff.)

    Meanwhile, as Kate is getting fully immersed in the whole admissions process, Angela constantly worries that Kate will suddenly backslide and tries to take control of her life prematurely, and Kate's two best friends from college are dealing with their own secrets, while one of them, Chloe, tries to find Kate another boyfriend, mostly out of guilt, since Richard is her cousin. It's all fodder for more chaos than any one person can handle, but Kate surprises them all by taking it in stride. Mostly.

    Was this book fairly predictable? Absolutely, but that didn't lessen its appeal for me. I would have enjoyed the book more without the tired (and annoying) subplot about Kate's jealous friend, because Kate and her work in admissions made for a pretty enjoyable book on its own. I worried the book would lose its way diving into her romantic life, but fortunately Poeppel didn't hamper the book with turning the plot into total chick-lit. I thought Poeppel has a great ear for dialogue and a knack for crazily outlandish conversations that you can absolutely see someone getting nervous and saying.

    was fun, lighthearted, and it didn't take itself too seriously. It was exactly the type of book I was looking for, and if you want something to read that you'll enjoy without getting agitated or depressed, or having to really decipher the plot, definitely pick this up.

    See all of my reviews at

    , and see my list of the best books I read in 2016 at

    .

  • Toni
    Jan 19, 2017

    If you're in a January slump because of gray skies and rainy weather, or any other reason, get this book in any form. It will brighten your mood, make you laugh out loud, and you'll even shake your head. My library's ebook list was too long so I put a hold on the audio. Wha-la, two days later I received book and it's great! Three friends finishing college, the quiet, studious one meets the handsome, French cousin of one of the other girls, and falls hopelessly in love. So in love, she gives up h

    If you're in a January slump because of gray skies and rainy weather, or any other reason, get this book in any form. It will brighten your mood, make you laugh out loud, and you'll even shake your head. My library's ebook list was too long so I put a hold on the audio. Wha-la, two days later I received book and it's great! Three friends finishing college, the quiet, studious one meets the handsome, French cousin of one of the other girls, and falls hopelessly in love. So in love, she gives up her grad school plans and flys to Paris to be with him. (Wait, did he ask her to?!) She gets there, but never gets out of the airport.

    Yep, she flys back to NYC and spends the next year wallowing on the couch while her older sister, and college friends try to help her get back to a real person. Fun and hilarity ensue, especially when she goes for the job interview in the admissions dept at the private school in Manhattan. From there, the book just takes off.

    It's smart, thoughtful and gives a real perspective of young adult life, overreaching parents, and friendship. All done with humor.

  • Aditi
    Feb 14, 2017

    ----Steve Maraboli

    Amy Poeppel, an American author, has penned a terrific and extremely entertaining debut contemporary fiction novel,

    that revolves around a fresh young graduate, who after a messy breakup goes into the caveman zone on her couch and with her sweatpants, bags a job offer to work as an admission administrator in a posh private school, but little did this young and intelligent

    ----Steve Maraboli

    Amy Poeppel, an American author, has penned a terrific and extremely entertaining debut contemporary fiction novel,

    that revolves around a fresh young graduate, who after a messy breakup goes into the caveman zone on her couch and with her sweatpants, bags a job offer to work as an admission administrator in a posh private school, but little did this young and intelligent graduate knew that the parents and the students who come for the admission procedure would go at any lengths to just to get a mere admission in such a posh school.

    Kate is the prodigy child of her parents who have excelled in their field of research and are highly intellects, unfortunately she fails to follow into the footsteps of her parents, when a messy break up with a tattered heart leaves her clueless, jobless and purposeless on her couch with some sweaty pants. A worried elder sister, Angela with a perfect Manhattan lifestyle, devises a plan to get her sister, Kate up from the couch and to push her to face the reality that her sister can't forever take care of her, neither her two on-off best friends, Chloe and Vicki and that she needs to get a job to support herself financially as well as mentally. Angela's dream comes true, when Kate bags a job at an upscale New York elite private school, where Kate is appointments as the assistant director for admissions who is responsible to handle the admission procedure during its season for the middle graders. But little did Kate had any idea about the world of admissions and how much crazy the NewYorkite parents could be and how pretentious and snobbish their spoilt brats could be, and eventually Kate actually gets tangles up into the messy world of admission process that finally become fatal for her existence.

    This book penned by a first time author tool me by surprise, as the story is so delectable and uproariously funny. And it would be a crime to give this book a miss, especially by those who fancy the genre of contemporary fiction. The book is so much more than just a love story or a story about three girlfriends, it is full of life, laughter and love, after all everything in this book happened for love. So love kind of played a supporting role in this book and never once losing its prime focus from the crazy drama of admissions into a private school. It is obvious that the author, who has prior experience of working in the admissions department of a private school, has depicted this unknown universe with thorough insight and vividness that the readers will be instantly drawn into its depth and will find themselves turning the pages of this book frantically.

    The author's writing style is polished and laced well with humor that holds the power to crack up even a serious and no-nonsense reader. The narrative is amusing to the very core, even though the book deals with some heavy issues like abandonment and heart break, yet the dialogues never once lost it sassy charm, thereby making the story one hell of an absorbing read for its readers. The pacing is fast, with an articulate prose. As for me, the only disappointment lies in the fact that the good ol' New Yorkite charm and aura is missing from the story line, thus I failed to capture the back drop of the story that paints a faint and dull portrait of the city of the Big Apple.

    The characters are well developed, but there are few handful of characters who actually stole the show, namely Kate and her colleagues and the quirky and the weird lot of money-minded parents and their equally haughty kids. Kate is charming, initially she comes across as a loser and stupid with a big fat brain that she is wasting recklessly over her heartbreak. Gradually Kate matures as well as grows up quickly while adapting in the relentless universe of admissions. Kate has a laid back demeanor but her dedication towards her job makes her an inspiring character, who is bit challenging to handle yet very thoughtful.

    Unfortunately her friends, Chloe, who is secretive about her love life yet protective about Kate and Vicki, who is extremely ambitious and hates Kate from her very core, aren't well portrayed through their differences and the readers might feel a bit dissapointed as they could have made the story one notch sassier. Angela comes across as someone bossy yet emotional and loving towards her younger sister, but then again her life story could have been developed with more depth.

    In a nutshell, the story is brilliantly hilarious and a must read for all those who enjoy a light hearted chick lit drama with lots of edge, unpredictable plot twists yet full of cliches.