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Acceptance: A Novel

3.22  ·  Rating Details ·  599 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
A comic chronicle of a year in the life in the college admissions cycle.

It's spring break of junior year and the college admissions hysteria is setting in. "AP" Harry (so named for the unprecedented number of advanced placement courses he has taken) and his mother take a detour from his first choice, Harvard, to visit Yates, a liberal arts school in the Northeast that is e
ebook, 304 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2007)
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Atl Goddess The parents of the students and the parents seemed pretty realistic to me.
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Oct 11, 2014 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
This book grew on me. This morning I was in the middle of it and I was incredibly annoyed by the satire that wasn't that funny and the unrelatable middle-upper middle class angst over admission to selective schools. I had some spare time on my hands this morning (ironically enough, proctoring the SATs) and decided just to power through it so I would be done with it. Then oddly enough, the book grew on me. Maybe it was the setting, but this was one of the few books that I have read that ended in ...more
Perryville Library
For the parents of Cecil County’s graduating seniors, it’s only a few short months until their children are packed up and sent on their way to various colleges, signaling the last number in the college admissions dance. For the parents of incoming juniors and seniors, this dance has just begun.

In her widely acclaimed new novel Acceptance, Susan Coll delivers a witty satire that encourages parents and college hopefuls to take heart. Told from the point of view of three seniors at a highly competi
Jordana Horn Gordon
Okay. Much better book on same topic is Early Decision by Lacy Crawford.
Vickie T
Oct 03, 2007 Vickie T rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: high school students
Shelves: ya-lit
really enjoyed this book. I thought it was funny and a little sad at the same time. The book is fiction and is the story of 3 juniors going through the college admissions process. I have known students like AP Harry (becuase he has taken so many AP courses), Maya, a gifted athlete, whose SAT scores alarm her family, and Taylor, whose mother is obsesses about the admissions process. Students applying for college will particularly enjoy the skewering of the whole competitive process of applying t ...more
I kept feeling this book should be funnier than it was, although there are some priceless moments; notably the stranded Harvard prospective students in the blacked out bookstore who fear that screaming for help might negatively affect their chances of admission. I connected only with Grace, low-key,down to earth mother of the insufferable AP Harry; and Taylor, the blue haired, self-abusing misfit. Everyone else evoked either a yawn or a sneer.

There is a quite decent film adaptation with the same
Jackie Trimble
May 06, 2014 Jackie Trimble rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was going to be more slapstick. I have a DD graduating with her Master's degree this weekend. She only went to a state U (but in the honors undergrad program) and is graduating this weekend with a Masters - coming home while doing a stint in the Peace Corps for this Master's Degree. Reading this book, I had to wonder what the hell I did to my oldest? (PS - she was on a competitive swim team for 8 years...) I also have 1 more DD, she's a sophomore in high school. I know she's think ...more
Erin Fay
Another book from my mom. This one made me glad that I'm not currently applying to college. The story follows three kids in a very competitive high school in Maryland, as well as an admissions officer at a small liberal arts college that finds itself, by error, on the US News and Reports Top 50 Colleges. People are psychotic. I genuinely hope this novel is satire, but I worry that it really wasn't. From the crazy, pushing parents, to the hyper competitive and socially awkward kids, everyone was ...more
Oct 28, 2014 Erica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this for a HECA Book Club (Higher Education Consultants Asso'n.) and loved it. It was a great parody of (some) high achievers and their parents as they go through the college application process. Great food for thought and the author had done her research on the world of college admissions. We were able to have a live chat with her during our Book Club, and she was thoughtful, witty and smart just like her book. Can't wait to read her newest book, The Stager, which received a great review f ...more
Feb 12, 2014 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really enjoy this book. My grandparents gave it to me as a birthday present the year I applied to college, as a lighthearted segue into the college application process. I guess I expected this book to be funnier than it actually was--I understand that it's supposed to be satire, but the truth is it kind of wasn't. I felt like the characters, especially AP Harry, were not nearly as exaggerated as the author probably thought. I could see a glimpse of myself, and of many of my peers, in AP ...more
One of the most marvelously counterintuitive (and efficient, and valuable) equations is "Comedy = Tragedy + Time." This satirical novel is probably funniest and most insightful to those who are furthest from its subject matter, but it is a mark of Coll's skill that the novel is capable of drawing those of us (teachers, parents, and I hope students) who are close to its subject into realizing how mockable we all are when we succumb to the insanity of the modern American college-admissions ratrace ...more
Sep 30, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This adult novel follows the lives of three high school students from their junior year to being accepted to college. The three kids go to one of the best public schools in the country, and the hype is all about test scores, AP tests, and what elite university will accept them. "AP Harry" earned his nickname the right way and dreams about Harvard. Maya is the rich girl who isn't as bright as her parents want her to be. Taylor is the troubled teenage girl who steals people's mail, paints her fing ...more
Jul 24, 2010 Sammi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was touching a little close to home for me, having just received my AP scores and planning to go to college in a couple of years. The book surrounds the lives of three kids from one high school bent on sending kids to the Ivy League.

First is AP Harry. Obsessed with going to Harvard, Harry not only manages to drive himself insane, but causes his single mother a great deal of distress during the application process. Though he is incredibly intelligent, Harry has never been at the top of
Honestly, I'm glad this book is over. I apologize to my book club friends, because I know it was the choice book for March, but it was somewhat tedious to get through. Mostly, I imagine this is because it hit a little too close to home. I like my books "quick and dirty" so to speak, and unfortunately, this book was neither. I can unabashedly say that I did not like one character in this entire book and I don't think that's necessarily reflective of the way I feel about my students and/or the par ...more
Tranna Foley
Follows the lives of three high school juniors--Taylor, Maya, and Harry--as they apply to a number of colleges and cope with the pressures of their teachers and parents, and an admissions advisor, Olivia, who struggles to sift through applications after her university was accidentally placed ona list of the top fifty schools in the country. - from library catalog record

I read this for our facutly book club meeting. Our theme was humor and although I would call this satirical, I hesitate to say i
Apr 02, 2012 Pauline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: seniors, parents of kids who are going to college
Shelves: fiction, own
I found this to be quite hilarious. It's a slightly exaggerated telling of the hassles and worries that accompany parents and students during the years that lead up to applying for college. I say it is slightly exaggerated due to my own experiences since they were no where near as stressful as depicted in the book. However, I would not be surprised if there were a decent amount of people who went through exactly what Harry, Taylor and Maya went through for their college applications. It would su ...more
Apr 12, 2009 Christina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Randomly picked this off the shelf at the library; mostly curious because the author lives in a DC suburb and because I suspect I'll be able to identify with being a college-admission obsessed high school student.

ETA: I'd give it two and a half stars, but rounded up to three because two feels too harsh. This novel follows 3 students at a competitive high school in a DC suburb and how they deal with the various pressures surrounding college applications. It made me grateful to have grown up in S
Jul 22, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit
I really don't know why I picked this book up. I lamely watching the Lifetime movie based on this book a few weeks back and as always I always get sucked into college-y based stories. And while the movie pretty much sucked, I was like, as always, maybe the book will be better. Yeah it wasn't. The movie did a really good job representing the book. All in all, not really much happened. The book was like one long description of characters and situations, but nothing really meshed. Essentially the s ...more
Nov 09, 2010 Nightowltoo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although college is many, many years behind me, when I came across an old review of this book I was enchanted with the character AP Harry. I immediately went to my kindle and purchased Admission (oops). I was several chapters in (and completely engrossed) before the I realized AP Harry would not be making an appearance.

Frankly, Admission with its focus on Yale admission officer Portia is the better book. Acceptance is engrossing in many ways, but ultimately fails because it focuses on far too ma
Acceptance by Susan Coll (287 pages) (Young Adult)

Acceptance is a realistic fiction that talks about the reality of a competitive high schoolers who try their best towards "acceptance". However, the three protagonist have different opinions of being "accepted". One of the character "AP" Harry comes from a low-expectation family; however, "AP" Harry wants to show how he can achieve the Harvard dream by trying as hard as he can to reach that. Taylor has a complex relationship with her mother, who
May 29, 2009 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
25. 4/12/09: Acceptance, by Susan Coll. So when I described this yesterday as "a silly kind of modern chick-lit book," I was totally wrong. I was led astray by the colorful cover, upper-middle-class subject matter, and female author. Oops.

Anyway, the most compelling part of this book, which tells the story of three high-school seniors navigating college admissions, was the fact that I was dying to know where they ended up going to school. It was like being in a time warp back to my own seventeen
I reserved this book at my library because I clearly remember specific scenes from the Lifetime movie version of this i had watched at age 10, though the majority of it I had completely forgotten.

I thought this book might be sad, might even make me cry, as it was obvious that from the movie that it included the element of depression, divorce, college rejection, alcoholism, the splattering of dreams, and acceptance of the fact that your dreams had just been splattered. What I got instead was a ve
Dec 20, 2012 Lemon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: High School Seniors
Recommended to Lemon by: No one
Shelves: fiction
I enjoyed reading this book. Every month was full of excitement...

(view spoiler)
Dec 29, 2009 Erin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the idea of this book, but I found the writing incredibly boring. It really did illustrate however the giant rip off that college has become. Colleges are no longer searching to attract the best and it's the richest, biggest donors, most connected and ethnically diverse. It also showed the silliness of the people pursuing the most test scores and one mom who although she admitted to herself that her middle class white son had no chance in hell of getting into Harvard, she ...more
A keenly observed satire about the college-admissions process, Acceptance portrays the students, parents, and college officials who spend years jockeying for bragging rights only to learn that there are more important things in life than where you went to college. The insights here are as sharp as a No. 2 pencil, making Acceptance a worthy pick for any SAT-obsessed college-bound reader (along with parents and teachers, too).
Nov 18, 2007 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty good--I agree with a lot of the reviews that say it's sort of shallow and paper-doll-ish, but I think that was intentional. All of the admissions stuff rang true from my own experience ten years ago, as well as the time I spent working in the Carleton admissions office as a student. I could almost keep reading this book forever--it's not really a re-reader, but I'd be happy to start over with a new class of kids--if it was a blog, I'd read it every day.

One point of confusion, if
May 09, 2015 Jaci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book so much, but I have one negative thing to say: This author really needs to find another word for "evidently." She seriously used "evidently" so often that I became distracted. I know, I know--it sounds petty. But seriously, we're talking every paragraph. It was particularly ironic, given that one of the main characters is obsessed with the SATs and is constantly rattling off synonyms.
Atl Goddess
May 01, 2016 Atl Goddess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Witty, entertaining, and thought provoking story about the craziness of the American college application process seen through several different viewpoints. This story is not the same as the Tina Fey movie of the same name although there are some similarities. This is the kind of book that makes me want to pick another of the author's work.
Feb 15, 2008 K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
As Acceptance opens, "AP Harry" (so named for the unprecedented number of AP courses he's taken) and his mother take a detour from his first choice, Harvard, to visit Yates University, a small liberal arts school that's enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to a statistical error that landed it on U.S. News & World Report's list of top colleges. There, on Yates's dilapidated grounds, Harry runs into two of his classmates from Verona High, an elite public school in the suburbs of Washington, ...more
Britt Griffith
Jul 08, 2010 Britt Griffith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This novel follows students and their parents during the students senior year of high school as they are going through the college application process. I found this book hard to relate to, so I think that took some of the enjoyment out of it. The characters in this book live in a very affluent neighborhood, so money is not really a factor in their decision, its about getting into the absolute best school. That type of obsession just wasn't an issue with my friends or me. Still it was interesting ...more
Chelsea Maravilla
The book wasn't really my taste of genre. But I got to see how getting their applications to good college's. It made me see how stressed out they became on not getting in to Harvard or Columbia. But it made me see a lot of sense.
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Susan Coll is the author of the The Stager and the novels Beach Week, Acceptance, Rockville Pike, and A television adaptation of Acceptance, starring Joan Cusack, aired in 2009. Coll is the Events & Programs Director at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC.
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