I read this and wrote the review back in April, but the publication date changed to the end of the year.
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: December 1st, 2020
From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes an of-the-moment novel that peeks inside the private lives of the hypercompetitive and the hyperprivileged and takes on the college admissions bribery scandal that rocked the country.
It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She’s headed off to the college of her dreams. She’s going to prom with the boy she’s had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer–at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood.
As she loses everything she’s long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?
A fictionalization of the college admissions scandal in 2019, Julie Buxbaum’s newest book gives insight into the lives of a Beverly Hills family thrusted into the public eye because of their entitled actions. She did a great job of capturing the craziness during this wild time that we have yet to see fully resolved.
This relevant novel moves through two different time periods—before and after—showing the different choices that were made leading up to her mother’s arrest, followed by the consequences of those actions. Chloe was so clueless, but you kind of can’t blame her. She grew up in the bubble of Beverly Hills, having everything done for her: meals cooked, house cleaned, tutors for studying, ect. She knows she’s not the brightest girl—not like her best friend, boyfriend, and even her younger sister—but she also knows that she doesn’t try as hard as she could.
I absolutely loved Chloe’s sister Isla. It was like she was the only person around with any real sense of the outside world. You really feel a lot of sympathy for her, knowing that her integrity and own worth will be in question when she applies to colleges the following year.
If you are familiar with the scandal, you can definitely pinpoint different nods to some of the more high profile cases. While this wasn’t an extraordinary piece of literature, it was highly entertaining and moved through the college admissions process really well.
ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.