Release date: December 1, 2020
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?
Talk about a timely, thought provoking, incredibly relevant book! I think we’re all aware of the recent college admissions scandal and this book was basically ripped straight from the headlines. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a gossipy read because it’s much more than that and takes a deeper look at several issues that I wasn’t expecting it to.
The family portrayed in this book are not likable at all, but they’re incredibly realistic and very well drawn. Chloe herself struggles with so many issues stemming from the scandal, including doubting her self worth, her own culpability and examining her own privileges that she’s always known existed, but to what extent? And at the cost of who exactly? See, she didn’t totally know what her parents were up to in the time leading up to her testing and application process. But she also didn’t totally not know. It flips back and forth between the lead up to her moms arrest and the days and months afterwards and it slowly tells the tale of a mother who will ignore her own morals, rules and any boundary in her way to get what she wants for her daughter. It also really examines Chloe’s behavior and the author doesn’t hold back at all. Chloe’s best friend, Shola is Black and attends their high school on a scholarship and with the backstory unraveling it’s quite clear just how privileged Chloe is and how unaware she is of her huge leg up in life. There are also several instances where she uses racial micro aggressions and I thought the author really handled it in an honest and true to life way. Overall this was a sobering read and one that really made me think, Chloe was an extremely messy character who fascinated me and the whole book definitely had me invested throughout. Highly recommended by me!
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.