Book Review: Small Admissions: A Novel by Amy Poeppel

Small Admissions
Cover Art is copyright of Atria/ Emily Bestler Books

I ran across Small Admissions on NetGalley, and the publisher stated that fans of Sophie Kinsella should enjoy this book. I do love Sophie Kinsella’s work and not just her Shopaholic series but her stand-alone novels as well for their fun, quirky, relatable characters. So I was excited to receive an early look at Small Admissions and hopefully discover a new favorite author.

Well, Ms. Poeppel has introduced some fun, quirky, and relatable characters of her own in what proved to be a light, enjoyable read that kept me entertained. I found myself relating to her main character, Kate, (and no, it’s not just because she has a fabulous name!) as well as her minor characters of Chloe and Maureen. This book was filled with familiar situations (who hasn’t had a broken heart or a rift with friends or been nervous starting a new job?) and relatable characters.

I could relate to Kate and found her to be an admirable character. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’ll just say that I went from seeing her as a victim of a broken heart at the beginning of the story to seeing her as someone who has managed to finally be honest with herself about what she really wants and is not afraid to get it – regardless of what others might think. I also enjoyed Chloe’s character as I felt she had a lot of integrity. Maureen was one of my favorites! I didn’t like her at first but she grew on me, and I found myself able to relate to her cautious approach to people, testing people before she allows herself to let her wall down. These well-written, well-rounded characters are one of the reasons that this book was so enjoyable. It also made me smile, laugh out loud at times, and got me so engulfed in the story that I finished it in three days.

One of Ms. Poeppel’s writing techniques is to break up the chapters by inserting various letters throughout the book. These letters allow the reader to gain multiple characters’ perspectives and don’t interrupt the flow of the story too much. There was one exception, about 85 pages into the story, in which a string of letters from various characters to other various characters was inserted and I felt that it was too many letters back to back, that it interrupted the flow and I struggled to keep straight who was writing to whom and to remember each different situation. But other than that one spot, the rest of the story flowed nicely. It was interesting to get an insider’s view into the selection process at a prestigious school as well as a peek into the lives of the applicants and their parents.

Whether you’re the little sister or the big sister in the family, you will find yourself entertained by, and likely relating to, Angela and Kate. You will likely also relate to Kate and her circle of friends. In short, it’s a story about life, and if you’re looking for something entertaining and funny or a main character who rises to the challenge and manages to find her way out of a dark time, you should give Small Admissions a try.

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