Saturday, May 30, 2009

Review and a giveaway: Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Admission Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz

rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the cover flap:

For years, thirty-eight-year-old Portia Nathan has avoided the past, hiding behind her busy (and sometimes punishing) career as a Princeton University admissions officer and her dependable domestic life. Her reluctance to confront the truth is suddenly overwhelmed by the resurfacing of a life-altering decision, and Portia is faced with an extraordinary test. Just as thousands of the nation’s brightest students await her decision regarding their academic admission, so too must Portia decide whether to make her own ultimate admission.

ADMISSION is at once a fascinating look at the complex college admissions process and an emotional examination of what happens when the secrets of the past return and shake a woman’s life to the core.

I honestly did not know what to expect from this book when I started reading it. I received it through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer Program. I just knew it sounded like an interesting book that I wanted to read. My first impression was definitely correct. From the first page of Admission, I was hooked.

Portia is a woman who thinks her life is just fine until one decision shakes up everything in her life. At that point she begins to question all that she has done as she has coasted through her life for almost 20 years. I found Portia a likeable character. I cared about her and wanted her to sort out her life. I also saw some of me in Portia. Don’t we all just sort of accept things and coast through our lives? As Portia works through her life I found myself turning the pages and wanted to know more about her. I didn’t always agree with decisions she made, but I never reached a point where I didn’t care about her.

The backdrop of Princeton admissions was very interesting and I loved the insight into the process that was throughout the book. I also enjoyed the other characters introduced and the setting of the Northeast and the Ivy League colleges. Growing up in the south, this book was a lovely look into the northeast for me.

This book is wonderful and I will definitely be checking out Jean Hanff Korelitz’s backlist (The White Rose, The Sabbathday River, and A Jury of Her Peers). I hate making comparisons to other authors because I truly believe each author is an individual and while their works are similar to other authors, they have their own way of writing and creating the characters. That said, if you like the type of books that Anita Shreve and Jodi Picoult write, I think you will like Jean Hanff Korelitz’s Admission. It has that serious tone (though there are some pretty funny moments) and a very real-life feel.

I can’t recommend this book enough and I am thrilled to have had a chance to read it.

Don't forget my Lili St. Crow Strange Angels giveway in the post below.

And for a chance to win my hardcover copy of Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz, just post a comment. Additional entries for following me or being a follower and also for tweeting or blogging a mention of this contest. I will run the contest through next Saturday June 6th at midnight and will draw a winner on Sunday or Monday June 7th or 8th and post on the blog.