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?
I have really enjoyed all of Buxbaum’s books that’s I’ve read so far (I think there’s only one I haven’t picked up yet.) So, I was super excited when NetGalley emailed me saying I was approved for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was really intrigued to see how the author was going to portray her own version of the college admissions scandal. First off, as an overall, I thought she did an incredible job making the reader feel things for these characters (whether those were positive or negative things, they were feelings either way.)
Chloe, our main character, was really complicated. We follow her story as the chapters flip back and forth between the before and the after of the scandal. I really liked her at first. I felt really bad for her. She’s a girl that grew up with privilege, but not entitlement. She knew she probably wouldn’t get into the colleges her parents want, but she was willing to make the effort they were asking to placate them. But as we learn her past leading up to her mother’s arrest we learn what she actually knew about the things her parents were doing. This made me like her less. I don’t want to go into too much detail about it because of spoilers, but the more the reader learns of her story the less likable she becomes. Though I think she really grew before the end of the book. I think she learned from the mistakes that she made and will continue to grow from them.
I think this book had some really important and thoughtful conversation about privilege and the different kinds of privilege, some that come with the color of your skin and some that come with having money. I’d like to see some own voices reviews to see their thoughts on these conversations, but I thought they were well done.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was gripping and interesting. I felt like I flew through the story and devoured it. Despite not always liking what I was reading, I was pulled into the story. Oh, I also totally loved the mentions of Hope and Other Punchlines & Tell Me Three Things, they were super cute.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.