Hardcover, 368 pages
Published December 27th 2016 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
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…