book review: Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

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Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate it!

This was a sheer delight. 

At first, I didn’t think so at all… I’ll admit. So I urge anyone reading to give this time. Don’t immediately buy into the Kinsella-adjacent marketing. For one thing, Sophie Kinsella’s books are inherently about ‘wacky’ characters (who often do deeply stupid things for which they rarely take true responsibility), and for the most part – romance. This book is not really wacky, nor is it in any way a romance. It’s about friendships, careers, parents and how rejection stings deeper than the worst wounds can ever sting.

It’s also wonderfully, dryly funny.

Kate, in short, is a mess. Which is fine with her scatterbrained and highly intelligent parents, but not so much with her friends and her wound-tighter-than-a-spring sister, Angela. You see, Kate’s been dumped by her tres-French boyfriend and her career is in tatters. When she finds a job as an Admissions assistant for a rigorously academic school in Manhattan, she decides to take her chances. What’s the worst that could happen after all?

Self-pity isn’t in the agenda for Kate after she begins her new position. In fact, nothing is – other than overzealous parents, ditzy and/or insufferable children, her colleagues Henry and Maureen (Maureen is my new book girlfriend) and “the dark time” of selecting candidates for the new school year.

Watching Kate navigate this new world – and the increasingly hilarious letters from parents and children begging to be let into Hudson’s Day – is, as I said, delightful. As is the lack of emphasis on romance (the downstairs neighbor is a welcome footnote, but just that – a footnote).

It’s refreshing to watch Kate’s growing competency, and glimpse the tertiary characters struggle with – or take joy from – her growing up and away.

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