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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Acceptance* by Susan Coll- young adult book review  
by Susan Coll
Grades 9+ 320 pages Picador March 2008 Paperback    

Acceptance is the comical story of three eleventh-graders in the process of applying to colleges. While it doesnít sound like a side-splitting topic, Collís wit and insight make the novel vastly entertaining.

First there's AP Harry (AP like the classes), who is interested in Yates College, which accidentally ended up on the U.S. News and World Reports top schools list. Maya is a swimmer who is wonderfully smart; unfortunately, her siblings are smarter. Taylor just wants a dorm room with a private bathroom! Thereís also Olivia, a woman who works in the office of admissions at the aforementioned Yates College. These stories intertwine and play out in a hilariously heartbreaking manner in Acceptance.

Each of these three teenagers is a stereotype whom the reader will recognize in him or herself or someone he or she went to school with. AP Harry is, obviously, the smart kid, but also an overachiever. Taylorís a bit depressed, and Maya is the school athlete who canít meet her parentsí expectations.

The sad part about Acceptance is that it is true Ė competition has really gotten that cutthroat. Anyone who has recently gone through a school applications process, whether for college or graduate school, will recognize the truth in Collís prose.

There really are mothers who try and have their extremely smart children diagnosed with a learning disorder in order to boost their SAT scores (Mayaís mother). It really is difficult for teachers to write all the acceptance letters asked of them, so they find ways to limit the number, which leads to the studentsí drastic measures taken to obtain those coveted letters. If you read Acceptance and find yourself frustrated with Collís over-exaggeration, stop yourself; she isnít exaggerating by much.

Coll is hilarious - thatís all there is to say about it. Though her previous novel, Rockville Pike, was a bit unbalanced at times, she finds her equilibrium in Acceptance. Her razor-sharp wit and sarcastic satire of the college applications process are right on point. They elevate this book from another forgettable novel about some aspect of life to a must-read bout of hilarity that will enchant anyone familiar with the applications process.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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