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3.15  ·  Rating details ·  587 ratings  ·  84 reviews
For Helen, getting her daughter Zoe a plum private school place shouldn't be an ordeal, as her best friend Sara is an admissions officer at Zoe's current K-8. But Sara's position becomes precarious and Helen soon finds herself drawn into the mounting lunacy generated by the fierce competition.
Paperback, 355 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Warner Books (NY) (first published October 18th 2004)
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Average rating 3.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  587 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Kristi Cameron
Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Thrift store pick. It was a far cry from a good book, yet I read it from cover-to-cover which is actually sort of embarrassing. I suppose I have a weird fascination with the lives of really rich people.
Manik Sukoco
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
If someone else has already coined this term, apologies for not giving them credit, but this is the best way to describe this book and others of its type that I could come up with here. Like "chick lit" these books are chock full of characters that are more toxic than a nuclear waste dump: shallow, pretentious, amoral, obnoxious and more concerned about a latte spill on their Armani suit than say, the war in Iraq. Most books of this sort take place in a Big City, almost always New York (apparent ...more
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: chicklit
I am a dork. I love books like this as I never really had to go through anything like this. People that torture themselves with this interest me to no end. This book was about the applying to private high schools in NYC, which is slightly different then most books like this, which would focus on college, so the difference was kind of good. Still over done about WHO THE HELL CARES subjects that I find weirdly interesting. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to scream, CALM THE FUCK DOWN. The on ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a strange cross between The Devil Wears Prada and Nanny Diaries starring The Real Housewives of NYC. The only characters I liked were the 14 year olds and Michael, the Dad. I tried to like the main characters Sara and Helen, but each time I would start to warm to them, their shallow personalities, often revealed by a snarky remark, brought on my disdain. Lieberman's substitution of descriptive names for schools' real names( examples: "The Fancy Girls' School" and "The Bucolic Campus Scho ...more
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
I wish I had read "Admissions" by Nancy Lieberman back in 2004 when it first came out, as it now seems dated. The underpinnings of the Manhattan private school admissions process were clearly written by someone with experience in this echelon. I could almost see the editor's notes saying "add humor" as many sections ended with a literary groaner. The Times was very generous likening it to "The Devil Wears Prada" or "Nanny Diaries." And while I was looking for a light read, these characters were ...more
Alecia Cole
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!! Very entertaining, very humorous. A goodlight read. Nancy Lieberman takes a subject that is, by anyone NOT fro New York, would find almost unbelievable. The way the parents of children vie and compete for placement in the "best" schools is a subject that would never enter the mind of an "ordinary" parent of a child in any other city. If Ms. Liberman can come up with a subject as entertaining as "Admissions" and carry off her comical writing style with another book, I'm there!!
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
This was a fun read for entertainments sake. It was not as cut-throat as I expected- and conflicts in the book seemed to resolve before they came to a climax, which did make the story less predictable.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
A very typical parody of life in the Big Apple. But this time, it's school admissions! The story did not go the way I expected it to.
Jane Lippincott
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting story of getting a kid into NYC private schools. Funnt and informative, but could have been a 1/3 shorter
Jul 25, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
The writing in this is horribly juvenile. Straight from the book: "She's acting like a real Miss Buttinsky."
"Your mom's usually so cool. Can't you tell her to butt outsky?"

It hurts to read.
Jul 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008, chicklit
i feel like i should have a section devoted to nyc chick-lit, but anyway.

this isn't about getting your kid into preschool (like The Ivy Chronicles). this is about a family that has a daughter who needs to get into high school, a best friend who is an admissions director for a K-8 school, and the crazy ways people try to get into school. it's fairly depressing, in a way, that so little is on the actual merit of the child when portrayed in this type of light.

however the story has crazy twists w
Kendall Concini
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
#readingchallenge2016 (my book based on the cover) (admittedly based on the title and cover equally)

Working in a school, I was excited by the notion of reading the dirty behind the scenes lives of those aggressive, self-entitled parents I'm all too familiar with. The book started strong. I became invested in the characters. I could relate to aspects in every sense. I was frustrated by the attitudes and comparing what I would do in real life. This made it a quick read. I just wanted to know more
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it
The author is the daughter of a friend of mine, and so I really had to read this book. I was pleasantly surprised at how funny I found it, and how much it reminded me of that high-energy, striving and driven Manhattan world I left. The author has a really wonderful wit, and her names for familiar NYC institutions were so clever. I finished it very quickly, really in 24 hours, as it was light reading. It does get a bit tiring after the half-way point to read about such spoiled, rich people with s ...more
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor
For Manhattan's most affluent parents, the Tuesday after Labor Day marks the beginning of the city's most competitive and vicious blood sport: the start of the private school admissions process. But for Helen Drager, mother of Zoe, it shouldn't be such an ordeal. After all, Helen's best friend Sara is an admissions officer at Zoe's current K-8. But Sara's position becomes precarious, and Helen soon finds herself drawn ever deeper into the mounting lunacy generated by the fierce competition.
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it
I thought this was an amusing but of satire until I started to bump into friends and neighbors who were actually exhibiting these behaviors. The day I sat in the coffeeshop, praying for an out of body experience while 3 otherwise sane pals casually discussed the 5 figure deposits they were putting down for kindergarten for the toddlers, I realized the world truly had gone mad. I contemplated slipping copies of this one into their strollers, but I don't want to have to move.
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
I picked this book off the library shelf randomly at the start of the summer. It was a fun and definitely fluffy read overall. The shallow obsession with getting into the right schools could be hilarious (particularly when it came to getting into the right kindergarten), but I tended to get frustrated with a lot of the characters for that very reason, which made it hard to get through the book at times. Only read it if you are not currently undergoing any kind of admissions process yourself.
Ashly Garberick
Apr 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: would-not-again
so I am not sure I should have marked this 'read' but I am sorry I spent the $1.99 to buy this book. (I had just finished another book and it was the advertised special on my kindle's screen saver) I had thought that since there is a movie coming out/is out based on this book.....
I just can't get through it. I only made it 30%.
not exactly sure why I doesn't hold my interest but it was moving slow and i don't have any patience or empathy for an adulterer.
Aug 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book was amusing and worth reading once. I might go back and read it again eventually, but it definitely won't become one of my favorites. I loved how she named the schools after what they were known for, like The Fancy Girls School and The Progressive School. Despite a few amusing anecdotes, I felt there was something lacking from it.
Oct 24, 2007 rated it liked it
This book, while being light, easy reading sure had a lot going on! There was family drama, eating disorders, embezzzlement,and adultery all mixed with plenty of teenage angst amidst a hilarious lampoon of the cutthroat world of upper class urban schooling. Especially if you know anyone who works in the world of private education you will find this over-the-top book to ring just a bit too true.
Apr 27, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a lot of fun, would have liked it better if I had managed to warm up to the heroine Helen but something about her I found off-putting. The sad thing is that I know some of these insane Manhattanites who go to extreme measures to secure spots for their children in these exclusive prep schools and for the most part the author is not exaggerating.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it liked it
I came across this book at the dollar store and figured, "What the's only a dollar." I found the book to be surprisingly entertaining. It resonated with me because I had just gone through enrolling my child in kindergarten, but the process left me feeling like I was trying to get her into Harvard.
Jan 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
A great light read about what parents will do to get their kids into the 'right' prep school.

A kind of Devil Wears Prada of the prep school circuit in NYC.

Perfect for a holiday read by the pool.
Jan 31, 2008 rated it liked it
This is along the same lines as Nanny Dairies and the crazy things some New York familes do to get their kids in the "right" schools. In the end it can't possibly be worth it. Easy read for the beach
Sep 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: womens-lit
I read this accidentally. I thought I was reading the book that the TV show "Privileged" is based on. I was wrong. It was an ok book - I wouldn't highly recommend it, but I didn't want to poke my eyes out rather than read it either!
This is a good read about the parents in NYC who are bound and determined to get their child into a good school so he/she can get into college. Having gone to a private school myself (albeit on scholarship), I can relate. It is an amusing ride.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was a blend of several themes that I enjoy. Upper class Manhattan and private schools. While this book wasn't flawless, it was a fairly quick read that showed how intense parents can be about their child's education.
Dec 17, 2012 rated it liked it
a funny novel on private school admissions in NYC..even if a 1/4 of this is based on reality its a sad commentary on what people will do for the 'right' school. but is was a good read..light and funny and moved quickly
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-own, fiction
I can't understand how *this* review disappeared since I enjoyed the book so much! Unfortunately (a year later) I can't remember the details that I had put down last time. I really liked it though, and wish I could own it.
Lian Dolan
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it
A window into the tiny, uptight world of NYC school admissions, from Pre-K to High school. Some funny/true observations- but in the end, didn't love either of the main characters enough to root for them wholeheartedly.
Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was laugh-out-loud funny at times. It made me very glad that I'm not raising children in New York City. The lengths that some of the parents went to in order to secure a spot for their child in their chosen school were unbelievable.
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I was born in Elizabeth New Jersey in 1955. In 1964 my family made a radical decision to relocate to Kailua Hawaii where I went to school barefoot, took hula lessons and learned to play the ukulele. In 1969 we moved again to Los Altos California, which at that time was the verdant apricot capital of the United States. Valley. I attended Los Altos High School in the early 1970's, a time when public ...more

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