Friday, April 13, 2007

Pg. 69: Susan Coll's "Acceptance"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: Susan Coll's Acceptance.

About the book, from the publisher:
A comic chronicle of a year in the life in the college admissions cycle

It’s spring break of junior year and the college admissions hysteria is setting in. “AP” Harry (so named for the unprecedented number of advanced placement courses he has taken) and his mother take a detour from his first choice, Harvard, to visit Yates, a liberal arts school in the Northeast that is enjoying a surge in popularity as a result of a statistical error that landed it on the top-fifty list of the U.S. News & World Report rankings. There, on Yates’s dilapidated grounds, Harry runs into two of his classmates from Verona High, an elite public school in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There’s Maya Kaluantharana, a gifted athlete whose mediocre SAT scores so alarm her family that they declare her learning disabled, and Taylor Rockefeller, Harry’s brooding neighbor, who just wants a good look at the dormitory bathrooms.

With the human spirit of Tom Perrotta and the engaging honesty of Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep, Susan Coll reveals the frantic world of college admissions, where kids recalibrate their GPAs based on daily quizzes, families relocate to enhance the chance for Ivy League slots, and everyone is looking for the formula for admittance. Meanwhile, Yates admissions officer Olivia Sheraton sifts through applications looking for something — anything — to distinguish one applicant from the next. For all, the price of admission requires compromise; for a few, the ordeal blossoms into an unexpected journey of discovery.
"Having just sent one kid off to college and with a second now preparing to apply, I had shivers of recognition again and again as I read Acceptance. Fortunately, each shiver came along with its corresponding several smiles and chuckles. Susan Coll has written a dead-on satire that's also full of heart, which is a rare achievement."
—Kurt Andersen, author of Heyday

"I don’t know why anyone would bother with those big, ugly college admissions manuals when a novel as smart and savvy as Acceptance can give us the same tips, with laughs. Susan Coll could make hell fun — and she does."
—Marilyn Johnson, author of The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries

"Acceptance is A+ entertainment -- witty, clever and unpretentious. Excellent reading for all, but a MUST READ for anyone with teenage children."
—Anita Shreve

"A cheerfully pointed satire about the college-admissions process at a suburban Washington, D.C., high school where students and/or their parents have Ivy League aspirations…. While readers will root for these kids, Coll's affection for her targets does not detract from her bite."

"Like Jane Smiley's Moo, this latest from Coll is a hilarious novel about academe, following three high school students, their parents, and one dean of admissions in the year before the students' graduation… This extremely engaging story about the high-stakes, upper-middle-class world of college admissions is poised to become a popular book club
Library Journal
Visit Coll's website and her blog, and read an excerpt from Acceptance.

The Page 69 Test: Acceptance.

--Marshal Zeringue