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I would to thank PRH Global for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my personal opinion.
Description Summary | Despite having one of the most clueless MCs in YA, it is sadly a grim reflection to perhaps a big portion of the privileged rich kids. Makes a fantastic discussion book.
Book Summary | (Skip to Review)
Chloe Berringer, Wood Valley senior, Beverly Hills rich kid and the daughter of B-list celebrity and sit com star Missy from the show My Dad, My Pops, and Me is determined to finish off senior year with a flourish by finally graduating and heading to her dream college.
All that comes crashing down when the FBI arrives at Chloe’s home one startling morning, and Chloe’s life is altered completely.
Now thrown into the middle of a nationwide scandal (perhaps even worldwide) Chloe finds herself written out as the tyrannical villain in this cover story. And even though she may not have been directly responsible for the crime, her defined as being an “accomplice” forces her to reconcile and reexamine harsh truths of not only her crime but of her self as well.
This is a fictional account of the college admissions scandal that has erupted back in 2019.
“Money makes you weak because it tricks you into thinking that you’re strong”.
This is exactly what this book is about. Of course I’m pretty sure the whole world knew about the admissions scandal because it does shed a garish light on privilege, corruption, and integrity of these so called “prestigious” institutions. Honestly this is one of the most important discussion books for teens, and is one book I would definitely recommend to be taught in high schools. There are so many themes that pop up that include, the education system, standardized testing, racism, entitlement, and of course wealth privilege.
The story was a great spin on the real life scandal, and in the book we had a look at alternating chapters of pre-scandal Chloe and post scandal Chloe. I think this was a really unique way to see the shifting narratives, and contrary to other readers I didn’t feel like it was confusing or exhausting.
I wasn’t a fan of the romance though; it’s like having jello for dessert when you wanted that fudgy gooey chocolate brownie. I know this doesn’t make sense but roll with me 😂 It was an underselling in short. Levi was so vanilla compared to other YA love interests. (Okay I’ll stop with the food references).
I cannot though with Chloe freaking Berringer. She is one of the most clueless human beings in existence it’s terrifyngly alarming. Oh yeah and she’s extremely lazy. And that’s excuse enough to not put in effort in her school work. Jeez I can’t with her I just can’t. Glad to know that the influencer rich kids L.A scene is not for me; lol what a nightmare truly.
If you think I was overrating her cluelessness just look at some of her dialogue from the book:
“Mom is not going to jail for twenty years, you idiots. It was only a college application!”
“I don’t let myself dwell on it too much, anyway, because I don’t like the way it makes me feel something uncomfortable and unfamiliar; an uncertainty about my parents’ judgement”.
“Apparently,( it’s) a crime. That’s news to me”.
“Honestly I don’t even understand how my mom broke the law. Shady is different from illegal.”
The author tried really hard to make us readers sympathize with her, but ultimately I couldn’t. I may have felt sorry but whatever consequence and punishments that came out of this is justified and she deserves it. However making her the sole pariah I feel distracts that this is a systematic issue and instead turns it into another “celebrity scandal”. That’s what many tabloids tried to do with the original true story.
Isla (side character shout out!)
I loved Isla, and I was so happy that the author included someone who was fearless and righteous as she is. She said a lot of stuff that I personally wanted to say to Chloe and her parents, so what a relief to see her deliver the harsh truths of their crimes.
Do I recommend? Despite me not really clicking with the book, I 100% think it should still be read.
Date published: December 1, 2020.