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3.23  ·  Rating details ·  682 ratings  ·  111 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
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published March 6th 2007 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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Average rating 3.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  682 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Laura Peña
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it
i got this book for 25 cents at a library clearout sale. i always wondered why it was withdrawn. i decided to read it now after having it for years and years in light of the recent admissions scandal. one of the storylines about an admissions officer proves that the scandal isn't all that shocking given the legal bribery and inequal admissions that occur due to legacy, donations, building a new library wing, etc. it was interesting to read this as a recent grad and take me back to that time in m ...more
Perryville Library
Dec 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: morgan, ya, fiction
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
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Vickie T
Oct 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jordana Horn Gordon
Nov 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Okay. Much better book on same topic is Early Decision by Lacy Crawford.
Mattthew Frauendorff
In the novel, Acceptance, the main character is referred to as "AP Harry." Harry aspires to attend Harvard University after high school. During the novel, a realization comes upon Harry which changes his perspective on the cost of college. "The tutor ... had only just come to understand that 'money was a problem ... ' Harry could only imagine his mother's reaction, which she hadn't shared with him. He felt bad having her spend so much money on him-she worked incredibly hard and rarely complained ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I reread this novel this fall for a writing class on Social Class and Education that I am teaching. It's a smart and funny account of the rat-race-like competition high school students (and their parents) go through to get into a college "of their choice". The first-year students in my course certainly identified with it. Indeed what I saw as stereotyped and exaggerated characterizations they tended to view as realistic. I was hoping that the book would help us think about the defining pressure ...more
Una Johnson
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I thought that Acceptance by Susan Coll had an interesting theme and represented issues that are definitely present in today's age, and may be appealing to read about for a high school student eager to learn about the stress of college acceptances (from the perspective of students, parents, and a college administrator). The variety of characters with different experiences and viewpoints was something I liked. However, I found the book slightly boring (nothing very dramatic ever really happened, ...more
Melissa Stio
Jul 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
Got this book at a church bag sale, and as a recent MSEd grad and high school teacher, I thought it would be a good read...

Honestly, I stopped 30 pages in. Usually I'll stick it out and give a book a chance but it seemed flat and depressing. The characters aren't all that interesting, and there's just nothing spectacularly special about it.

I came on here to see what the general consensus is. I don't want to base my opinion solely off of what others thought, but I also don't have a reason to kee
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Definitely a clever little satire of the whole college application and admission process (from both the college and student/family sides). The multiple angles to consider make this story ripe for a book group discussion. Definitely NOT for anyone deep in the throes of their own parent or soon-to-be high school graduate experience or anyone who has just completed the process and will cry “too soon”. A little distance means that you will appreciate the dark humor and familiarity of the stereotypic ...more
Kelly McCloskey-Romero
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think that I’ve discovered a new favorite author. This book was so fun and intoxicating. I the heels of Nanowrimo, I observed thoughtfully and carefully the skillful way that Coll combines scenes, plot, dialogue, and social commentary. I appreciated very much the multiple points of view, and I value what this novel is saying about the insanity of college admissions. Can’t wait to try another Coll novel.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought this book gave great insight into the college application process and the competition of high schoolers. As a sophomore in high school, it was enlightening and kind of scary to think that I would be doing this in two years. I enjoyed it and I would definitely recommend it!
Summer Seeds
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, contemporary
This gave me anxiety. It was like reliving my highschool experience trying to get into college.
Jan 13, 2013 added it
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
Tranna Foley
Mar 12, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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
Jan 20, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jul 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 30, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Nov 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
May 29, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Apr 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: seniors, parents of kids who are going to college
Shelves: own, fiction
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
May 03, 2012 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 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 26, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Britt Lovelady
Feb 09, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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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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