Mischa Abramavicius is a high school senior at an expensive private school where the kids are momentarily expecting admission letters from the hifalutin schools of their (and their parents’) choice. Mischa is the child of a single mom who works as a legal aid lawyer, so great sacrifices have been made to supplement a scholarship to enable her to attend this school. As she is a grandchild of a Holocaust survivor, even more pressure is put on her to make her life count for something.
There is a fair amount of bad language; Christians especially will be offended. There are bisexual and homosexual characters. There is romance but no explicit sex. The sexual talk and references are not inappropriate to the story, but moral judgments are absent. Also in the book are adultery and blackmail.
The characters are well-developed. The mystery itself is a tense one, and readers will be anxious for some of the characters. Although the tone is rather lighthearted, some serious thoughts pop up: Must a person “produce” in some way to justify his or her existence? How much are we obligated to meet the expectations others have for our lives (i.e., do we “owe” others our lives, and if so, to what extent)? How much focus on an eventual goal robs us of joy along the way?
All through her academic career Mischa played the game of constructing the necessary record to gain admission to any school she desired. And yet they all reject her. There is a mystery to be solved in all this, and the author does an excellent job of spinning it out and successfully resolving it. Girl power is demonstrated.
It’s too bad the language will keep this book out of the hands of readers who would greatly benefit from it.
Categories: Controversial YA Topics, Navigating through High School, Offensive Language in YA Literature, Peer Relationships
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