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As I read GETTING IN,Karen Stabiner's novel about [Link Removed]  I wasn't sure who I felt sorrier for; the families who invest their hopes,dreams, and success as parents in where their kids get in to college or the kids themselves, seniors at Crestview, a prestigious LA prep school, on whose slender shoulders rest the burden of fulfilling those expectations.  

In a nod to merit, diversity and demographics, Crestview's entitled, Ivy-seeking preppies are supplemented by a couple of public school kids;one whose Harvard application essay tidily telegraphs the pressure she feels to live up to her immigrant parents' sacrifices,and another whose newly single mother can’t afford to keep her at Crestview for her senior year.

The kids themselves are less incisively drawn than the stereotyped (or maybe satirized; it's hard to tell) grown-ups. This may be intentional, since all teenagers are shape-shifters in search of an identity, anyway, but if not, Stabiner defines them for us the same way Ted, the head Crestview college counselor, does; by their SAT scores, extra curricular activities, a few mercifully brief excerpts from their essays, and his assessment of their chances of being accepted by the colleges of their (or their parents‘) dreams.  

According to the author's bio, her own daughter left for college in 2007. Presumably Stabiner wrote this to keep her sanity during the preceding year. Or maybe writing was how she found it again later.  Depending on what stage you're in of [Link Removed] you'll find GETTING IN a comedy, a tragedy, or both.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote May 20, 2010
    • Hmmmmmm..... not sure how to respond here....

      My kids went to public school vs an exclusive private one and getting them into college was filled with lots of stress and worry. Not because they would be gone but how to pay for it and the debt we all would incur.  

      So I think our transition was a little different and I can say that my kids going to college is not a dream of mine. Them being happy defined by their dreams would be my dream.

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