Fat Envelope Frenzy by Joie Jager-Hyman

If you’re going through the college admissions process, you might want to read this book–or not.  It profiles five students applying to predominantly Ivy Leage schools and chronicles their journey through the year-long process.  We meet Felix, the pianist from Pennsylvania; Nabil, the math whiz from Memphis; Andrew, the “I must keep my 4.0 GPA” from New Orleans; Lisa, the world class rhythmic gymnast from Chicago; and Marlene, the less than stellar one of the group, from New York.  They’re all high achievers, and they come from varied ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds, and they all seem to be great kids.  So why did they all annoy me by the end of the book?  Perhaps it’s that the author felt compelled to detail every nuance of their lives, particularly the aspects that make them Ivy League material, such that by the end I didn’t care about any of them.  Honestly, I don’t think it’s the kids, but the writing.  The book was about twice as long as it needed to be.  By the end, I just wanted to skim and see which schools they got into.

If you’re looking for advice on what to do or not to do in the college frenzy process, this is not the book you want.  Actually I’m not sure it’s the book you want for much of anything.  Ultimately, the message is to not get caught up in the college frenzy-but that’s exactly what the author makes you do as you read. (non-fiction)

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