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3.58  ·  Rating details ·  214 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Behind the toddler-proof gate of Santa Monica’s exclusive Garden of Happiness, it’s the grown-ups who are getting schooled.

When new preschool parent Justine discovers that the man who broke her heart back in grad school is a dad in her daughter’s class, she tells herself she’s immune to the superficial charms of the ex she calls “the crapwizard.” But when his presence open
ebook, 289 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by Full Fathom Five Digital
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3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  214 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Preschooled is a funny, light and sardonic debut novel from Anna Lefler.

Thrilled when her daughter gains a place at the exclusive Garden of Happiness preschool in Santa Monica, Justine is eager to impress the center's demanding owner, Margaret, but is thrown when she runs into the man who once shattered her heart.

Margaret expects nothing less than slavish obedience from the parents who pay handsomely for privilege of a preschool education at The Garden of Happiness. Margaret is always in control
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I got an advance copy of this book and literally COULD. NOT. PUT. IT. DOWN. I love a funny book that's also smart, and PRESCHOOLED did not disappoint. Lefler isn't just hilarious; she's a gifted story-teller as well. Her characters are real, relatable and perfectly flawed, and her writing style makes you feel as if you're having a chat with your coolest, most intuitive girlfriend. Highly recommend!
Donna Cavanagh
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I have been a fan of Ms. Lefler for a long time. Her writing is crisp, funny and down to earth. Prechooled will make you laugh out loud and feel the main character Justine's maternal angst. If you thought college admissions down the road were going to be tough, get ready for the cutthroat world of toddler education. This book is filled with humor, warmth and you will root for Justine and a cast of characters, who learned the hard way that the social challenges of preschool are ...more
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
So. Much. Fun. Take one snooty Santa Monica pre-school, a fleet of wealthy hipster parents, and add that L.A. air and you have the makings of a guilty pleasure. The novel seamlessly moves back and forth between three characters affiliated with the school; the mother of a two-year-old girl just entering the foray, a Mr. Mom father of twins attempting to make it in the television sitcom business, and the rigid director smack in the middle of a contentious divorce. I am not sure if readers in other ...more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such a fun light book. A guilty pleasure reality tv type book!
Zee Monodee
Funny, warm, and actually engaging! If you love pre-school 'politics', then this is one book you do not want to miss
Lorraine Montgomery
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
All is not rosy at the Garden of Happiness preschool. The chapter titles are all one of three characters: Margaret, who owns and runs the most prestigious preschool on the Westside of Santa Monica, CA, Justine, a mom who found all of the preschools she previewed a bit annoying but thought her daughter, Emma, was the most comfortable at the GoH, and Ruben, a stay-at-home dad of twins whose wife is working so that he can work on his comedy script and possibly land a job in television.

All of the ot
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Title: Preschooled
Author: Anna Lefler
Publisher/Year: Full Fathom Five Digital 10i/1/15
Length: 336 pages


Behind the toddler-proof gate of Santa Monica’s exclusive Garden of Happiness, it’s the grown-ups who are getting schooled.

When new preschool parent Justine discovers that the man who broke her heart back in grad school is a dad in her daughter’s class, she tells herself she’s immune to the superficial charms of the ex she calls “the crapwizard.” But when his presence opens a time tunne
Grace {Rebel Mommy Book Blog}
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I totally grabbed this puppy up as soon as I saw the title. then I read the blurb. I was sold.

The book follows three characters who all have some connection to the Garden of Happiness preschool. Margaret who owns the school. Rueben a preschool dad whose kids are returning to the school. Finally, Justine the first time Garden of Happiness parent. These characters and their stories do intersect a bit, but for the most part, they are kind of separate. I'll go through all three characters st
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Justine and Greg Underwood have succeeded in getting their daughter Emma into Margaret Askew’s prestigious Santa Monica preschool, Garden of Happiness, and they’re about to find out what an education awaits them. Well, Justine is, at any rate; attorney Greg is too busy with a demanding caseload (and an overly-attentive associate) to get very involved, but he can’t avoid seeing how Justine has been sucked into the school’s power-mom vortex as chair of its annual fundraising auction. He doesn’t se ...more
Kate Puleo Unger
Oct 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, but it really felt more like three parallel stories instead of one cohesive novel. The book follows the lives of three characters, all connected to the Garden of Happiness preschool. Margaret, the owner, is dealing with a messy divorce and trying to save her school from being sold, so her soon-to-be ex-husband can get his half of that asset. Justine, a new preschool mom, gets roped into being the chair of the school auction. She's also dealing with her insecurities when an o ...more
Monica Cullip
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it


This story was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review by NetGalley.

What a change of pace. My usual go-to read reading style is definitely romance but when asked to review this one I decided to give it a go. What a lovely story. This author made me see inside all three characters. They all revolve around the Garden Of Happiness preschool.

Justine, a stay at home mom has just managed to get her daughter Emma accepted at the school. Here she runs into her old college boyfriend whose
Aug 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Original review at

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

3.5 Stars

Preschooled reminded me of Mommy Tracked by Whitney Gaskell and the spate of similar books that came out in 2006-2008. Sanctimommies abound and the main character/s are the only sane ones around, usually with a clueless/unsupportive spouse. I actually like books like this; yes they are formulaic but they
Karen Tomsovic
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
It can be so hard to find a book that makes you laugh out loud, especially one with a satirical story. Happily, "Preschooled" fills that bill, in a romance-y, chick litty, women's fic kind of way.

Anna Lefler does a bang-up job skewering moneyed L.A. hipsters and the Brentwood designer preschool around which the story is centered.

Of the three protagonists, the character of Margaret, the founder of Garden of Happiness, who risks losing the preschool in an impending divorce, was my favorite. The au
Fluff Smut & Murder
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thank you to and to the publisher for the ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

I remember when I was beginning to look at pre-schools for my daughter so many years ago. I grew up in L.A. so I made calls as soon as she was born to put her on a waiting list – only to be laughed at by many of the Orange County preschools who didn’t have them at the time! This novel is light and fluffy and perfect for those parent’s who have already passed this stage in their lives so th
Jayne Burnett
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
The Garden of Happiness Preschool. A story about stay at home mums whose days are filled with the happenings which take place in the circle of mums, which include 1 dad , at the posh private preschool - the Garden of Happiness.
Margaret who owns the school is struggling with all the changes to her personal life. She needs to raise a large sum of money to buy her husbands half of the school in their divorce settlement.
Justine & Gregg enrol Emma their precious daughter - problems arise when wh
Marcee Feddersen
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book. Man, this book. It was okay, but for some reason I got stuck in it and I couldn't get out. It wasn't a bad book, but it definitely wasn't setting me on fire.

For a book about rich parents, half of them didn't seem very rich, and the kids were just scenery in the book. I didn't get drawn into caring about any of the parents or the kids.

The owner of the preschool, Margaret, seemed to be based on an Oliver Kitteredge type character, but not strongly enough to really
Joanna Fantozzi
Feb 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Preschooled, for all intents and purposes, was a "gossipy popcorn novel." With the backdrop of a fiercely and ludicrously competitive preschool that will look familiar to most young urban parents, Lefler's novel was funny, sharp and full of juicy drama that took place both inside the tiny classrooms and in the bedroom. The book wasn't the best-written out there (I noted several typos), and felt a bit more like a well-executed creative writing exercise from a promising young student than an exper ...more
Teri Rizvi
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Anna Lefler offers an amusing, absurd look at Alpha moms in her debut novel. The characters are wonderfully drawn and engaging, and the dialogue is witty, convincing. The reader feels part of this big, largely dysfunctional family thrown together at Santa Monica's uppity Garden of Happiness pre-school where happiness is not a prerequisite for admission. Almost makes you want to buy a handbag the size of a Volkswagen, sip a multi-colored drink and watch the drama unfold. I received an advance cop ...more
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-purchase
Cute, fluffy beach read with relatable characters. It's really more of a 3.5 star story but I chose to roundup since I enjoyed it even more than anticipated.

Despite the fact that everything was wrapped up with a perfect now at the end, I appreciated the realness of the characters and their conversations. The exchanges between Justine and her husband Greg were some of the more believable ones I've read in quite awhile.
Nancy Kho
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Of the many things to love about Anna Lefler's new novel, Preschooled, about life in the preschool fast lane in Santa Monica, one of the most enjoyable is her ear for dialog, particularly for the character Justine. She was the kind of fictional character I'd like to take out for a coffee so we could give each other a reality check that it's the helicopter Alpha moms who are crazy, not us. Lefler's sharp and funny and illustrates a corner of parenting that I am so, so very glad to be past....
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Preschooled was an interesting book although I wouldn’t read it again it is just not my style. We have three different people with different kind of life and who are connected through kindergarten. So we read theirs POV. There were some funny moments but in all It didn’t pull me. I much rather read about love story of one couple and theirs trouble to make it happen.
An adult read.
*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
The Suburban Eclectic
Perfectly captured the trials and tribulations of tot life. I really enjoyed the walking contradiction that was Justine. I was frustrated by her (hello, ex boyfriends are exes for a reason) and rooted for her and I think I could have been her in some cases. The cast of characters are fully fleshed out and it was really hard to hate on the “villains” in this story because they was charm in their vulnerability.

ARC provided.
Maria Neely
Sep 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: do-not-finish
I'm sure this story probably would reach out toyuppies living in an area where preschool cost as much as a college tuition. That type of lifestyle is so unbelievable to me, although I know it does exist,
the story line is just very boring. It's very hard for me to grasp the reality of any of the characters , from their simplicity, to their dullness, to the ridiculous Hitler style rules of the school administrator. I got 32% into the book, put it down and do not recommend anyone to read it.
Feb 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Being a teacher/caregiver of wee ones, I saw this title and had to read this. There were a number of intertwining characters in a Southern California setting. I read about half and put it down for a bit. The plot wasn't that exciting to me. I can usually picture characters in my head and some I couldn't as they were 'all talk'. It had some funny dialogue. I was most like Margaret, the owner of the preschool. Her assistant Trey was the funniest character in the book. It was a good beach book.
Jenn Swanson
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, humor
This is a hilarious book. That being said, I also do not want my child to go the pre-school because of this story. This is making me nervous about when my munchkin is of school age. I'm sure that she will be fine but if there are parents like some in this am I going to be able to handle that? Anyways, I would recommend this.
May 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, kindle
This book is told from three perspectives: a stay at home mom, a stay at home dad and the head of a preschool who takes herself WAY too seriously. Justine, the mom, is suddenly in charge of the school auction; the head of school is in serious debt and can only be helped by the auction and the dad's story is mostly ancillary.

Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley for the copy of this book.

This book was very entertaining with a lot of witty humor that I enjoyed and made the book a quick read. I could just picture the "elite" preschool and different parents that were encountered throughout this story and it made it a lot of fun to read.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book!

Offered in the multiple perspectives of her characters, Preschooled is wonderfully written and an engaging story. For once, relationships between husbands and wives were explored without predictable affairs, but definitely with realistic yearnings.
The humor was also delightful. You probably won't be able to put it down
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This a cute story that looks at a family in a preschool, the director and side characters if other families in the centre.
I have worked in the field for many years and found humour in a story that related to my life! It is funny, well written and worth the read.
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Anna Lefler is a humorist, comedy writer, and author of the novel PRESCHOOLED. She is also the author of the humor book The Chicktionary: From A-Line to Z-Snap, The Words Every Woman Should Know, which The Chicago Tribune called "a wry celebration of modern femininity." She was a staff writer on the Nickelodeon/NickMom TV show "Parental Discretion with Stefanie Wilder-Taylor," where she also serve ...more
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