This debut novel by Amy Poeppel, published in 2016, is the funniest thing I’ve read since The Rosie Project. It started at such a fast pace with such catastrophic events that I had to catch my breath by the end of the second chapter. It is F-U-N-N-Y! We meet Kate, a grad student, after her horrendous breakup with Robert, Chloe’s Parisian cousin, as Kate accepts a job as an admissions counselor at a prestigious Manhattan prep school. It is the height of the admissions season, and the craziness abounds. Soon we meet Angela, Kate’s older, Miss-Always-Perfect, a “told-you-so” sister. What happens to her during the story, which spans a year, is humorous as well. The “Trio,”of friends, Kate, Vicki and Chloe, round out the cast of main characters.
Kate’s jaw-droppingly-funny interview lands her the job, and the frantic pace is on. The story runs from August through the following July, with all the ins and outs of the school year: legacy parents, well-to-do parents, desperate parents. There is a good story line throughout, although it jumps around as to whose point of view each chapter is from, but keep reading… the speaker will reveal herself, and the read is worth it! Part of the plot is divulged through Kate’s interview notes, letters from parents and/or students and Kate’s replies, and there is enough variety to keep the reader interested. The middle school aged children are “…suitable, wildly unsuitable, charming, loathsome, spoiled beyond all measure.” Their lives are the ones up for grabs, although the adults in the story are the ones who have mishaps, misunderstandings, and generally conduct themselves like middle school students.
Since Poeppel once worked in the admissions office of a “prestigious, independent
school, “she must know whereof she speaks, and the result is a funny, funny read.