Crunch Time
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Crunch Time

4.5 14
by Mariah Fredericks

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Leo, Max, Jane, and Daisy don't have much in common. But when they all blow off their SAT prep in favor of forming their own study group, they actually begin to bond — over why there's so much competition over a stupid test. And what it really measures, anyway.

Then it's revealed that someone has cheated on the SATs, and all eyes point to the study


Leo, Max, Jane, and Daisy don't have much in common. But when they all blow off their SAT prep in favor of forming their own study group, they actually begin to bond — over why there's so much competition over a stupid test. And what it really measures, anyway.

Then it's revealed that someone has cheated on the SATs, and all eyes point to the study group. Everyone knows that Leo can't stand to lose. That Max is convinced he's a loser. That Jane couldn't care less about the whole thing. And that if Daisy doesn't clinch the right score, forget it — she can't afford to go to college.

The pressure is on for the cheater to come forward. Who will fess up?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fredericks (The True Meaning of Cleavage) weaves together the experiences of four juniors who are in the throes of preparing for the SATs: Max, an intelligent test-taker and gifted writer with his sights set on Columbia; Daisy, his best friend, a popular basketball star who freezes up at test time; Leo, a hottie and a skilled tester but with no extracurriculars to his credit (thus he yearns for "the perfect score" to ensure entry to Yale); and Jane, daughter of a movie star with average scores and little idea of what she wants to do. The quartet comes together in an SAT prep course, when the teacher can't find the test booklets, and Daisy suggests they walk out. Through a first-person narrative that shifts among the four, the author convincingly portrays each character's motive for leaving the class, and for accepting Jane's invitation to study at her house. They gradually improve their scores over the course of their weekly meetings. Meanwhile, Max finally summons the courage to tell Daisy that he feels more than friendship for her, just as Leo begins calling Daisy at home. And when a brilliant senior admits that she was paid to take the SATs for someone in their class, suspicion causes the narrators to turn on one another. Even more than the mystery, teens will be intrigued by the philosophical discussion these four characters bring to light regarding what it means to be judged by standardized test scores. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Jennifer Hanni
Following four high school juniors through the endless struggle of growing up, Crunch Time by Mariah Fredericks is a novel many students will relate to. Delving deep into the issues of friendship, relationships, failure, parents, and fear, this novel depicts the world of high-stakes testing and pressure to succeed in a refreshing, entertaining way. Crunch Time stands as a snippet of high school life, including the dramas and scandals typical in most schools today. Fredericks creates this high-stress world by giving first-person accounts of the four very different main characters who met by skipping a SAT prep course together. The characters tell their side of the story in their own unique voices, so readers know what's going on far before the characters do. This out-of-the-ordinary perspective allows for more suspense, insight, and connection as readers sympathize and relate to each specific character's personality and situation.
Junior year, competitive schools, SATs, and a guidance counselor's power plays: these all adds up to crunch time, as any high school student knows. The four students Fredericks creates for her readers are each complex individuals, evading stereotypes. They share a rebellion (for various reasons) against the costly SAT prep course, and form a study group of their own. Fredericks returns to the milieu she does so well, the NYC private school, and she tells the story in the four voices of her main characters: Jane, Leo, Daisy and Max. Daisy and Max are already good friends, and Max has a crush on Daisy, but she gets interested in Leo as time goes on. Leo is selfishly ambitious and has a drinking problem. He is highly competitive with Max, but true to high school standards, Max suffers in comparison because he is short and not so handsome. Then there is Jane, a different sort of heroine, and the strangest. Her mother is a famous movie star, and Jane shares her mother's glamorous looks, but she is friendless and lonely. She is the character who is the most enigmatic. Their foursome proceeds towards the fateful day of the SATs. Daisy, who started as the weakest among them, with the help of the others improves her skills dramatically. So, when it is discovered that someone in their class paid a senior to take the test in their stead, Daisy is a prime suspect, since her scores are much higher than expected. But then, Leo seems to have few scruples and everyone knows how aggressively competitive he is--perhaps he is the guilty one. The mystery and tension surrounding the suspicion focus on how serious some people are about the SATs. When we discover the guilty one, Fredericks offers a real zinger,which perhaps will help her readers put crunch time into the proper perspective. The four characters are reflective, intelligent, and interesting, and she makes their thoughts and conversations flow naturally with her skillful writing. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Simon & Schuster, Atheneum, 317p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
Children's Literature
When the SAT prep teacher is late, an unlikely foursome creates their own study group: Daisy, a popular girl who performs well on the basketball court but poorly on tests; Daisy's best friend, Max, a bright student and promising journalist secretly in love with Daisy; Jane, the beautiful but insecure daughter of a famous actress; and Leo, a BP (Beautiful Person) with a bad boy reputation and a competitive drive. Over the course of the book, told in multiple narratives, their practice test scores rise and fall, as do their friendships and romances. Max finally gathers his courage and reveals his feelings to Daisy who, to his devastation, does not reciprocate. To make things even worse, Daisy gets involved with Leo, who has become Max's rival. Jane's insecurities lead her to overreact continually: thrilled when the group includes her; crushed when they don't. After the long-dreaded test is over, the heroes learn their scores—and the school learns that someone cheated. A witch hunt ensues and two of the key suspects are Daisy, whose hard-earned scores were much higher than those on her practice test, and Leo. Things get ugly as the friends begin to doubt and distrust each other. When the cheater reveals his or her identity, it is no great shock (the author gave enough clues), but it is believable. Fredericks has created a highly readable page-turner with three-dimensional characters and relevant issues. This is an excellent choice for all high school readers. 2006, Richard Jackson/Atheneum, Ages 14 to 17.
—Naomi Milliner
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-After skipping out of an SAT prep class, juniors Leo, Daisy, Max, and Jane agree to meet regularly at Jane's apartment for their own study group. They all work hard, seem to improve their test-taking skills, and forge friendships in the process. Soon, Max reveals to best friend Daisy that he wants more than friendship from her. Daisy, however, falls hard for Leo, who appears to fall back but doesn't know how to be devoted in a relationship, especially when he is drinking. Jane is the rich, beautiful wallflower whom Max could ask out if the idea occurred to him. After the SAT, a senior high scorer confesses that she was paid to take the exam for someone else. The whole school is in an uproar as the senior refuses to disclose the cheater's name. When two members of the study group are among the suspects, things begin to unravel. The extreme preoccupation with the SAT and getting into good colleges becomes somewhat weighty during the course of the novel and some of the plot elements test believability. However, because it is, for the most part, insightfully told from the various viewpoints of the four main characters in short, quick-moving segments with true-to-life dialogue, the story is redeemed. Readers will wonder what will happen to the friends as they embark on senior year at the conclusion.-Diane P. Tuccillo, City of Mesa Library, AZ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Four juniors, who attend the same Manhattan private high school, find themselves in an SAT review class and, at the sight of a flaky instructor, decide to skip out to form their own study group. In alternating voices, the four relate a story that's not big on plot but large on interior thinking. At first the author seems workmanlike in her storytelling, steadily building to a crisis involving the four, but she supplies enough subtext to keep readers amused and guessing about characters until the central conflict unfolds: Someone has cheated on the SATs and somehow one of the four is involved. Fredricks is particularly adept at carrying the narrative line chronologically through the alternating perspectives of the four teens. Speakers change without missing a beat. Readers might be confused initially between the two boys (Max and Leo) and the two girls (Jane and Daisy), but personalities quickly emerge and diverge into individual belief systems yearning to be formed, with plenty of personal inner demons to help that along. College-bound readers will find this page-turner immediately absorbing; it might amuse all high schoolers who are about to or have already participated in this American rite of passage. (Fiction. 12+)

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Crunch Time

By Mariah Fredericks

Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books

Copyright © 2005 Mariah Fredericks
All right reserved.

ISBN: 068986938X


They never list the names. Just the numbers.

Every year the school posts the SAT scores in the lobby, where anyone can see them. But they don't put the names -- like Jeff Stein got 2340, Susie Chen got 1160. They just put the numbers and let you guess who got what.

Which, of course, is what everybody does.

It's easier than you think. Like some kids, the math geniuses and future physicists, you can pretty much figure out they're the 2300s. If someone gets 2400, it always comes out who it is. "Oh, don't tell anyone, but I got 2400." Yeah, right. Next day everyone's like, "He got 2400. He's going to Yale."

And it's not too hard to figure out who's at the bottom of the list. Who got in the 1200s -- when they give you 600 points just for writing your name. You think of the stoners, the jocks, kids who just say, "Screw it." Because some kids do. They say they don't care what they get, and they mean it.

Then there's everybody else, all clumped together in the middle. The pretty goods, the fines...also known as the not good enoughs, the not quite acceptables.

Last year when I took the PSATs for the first time, I told myself I wouldn't look at the list.

But I did. And there it was: my score. This is where you are, Max. This is how much you count for.

Sometimes I think, What's worse? Doing just okay, or totally bottoming out? There's a weird honor in completely screwing up, in scoring so low that no college'll take you except the ones that take everyone, including mental cases and paint eaters. The kid at the top has that spot all to himself. But so does the kid at the bottom.

When you're trying to figure out who got what, you remember -- who looked happy the day after you got the scores? Who looked bummed out, who was crying?

Mr. Crowley, our college adviser, always says, "The top colleges can only take so many kids from Dewey." Only a few of you, maybe even only one of you, are going to get to go to Yale or Harvard."

In other words, like it or not, you're all in competition with one another.

Part I

Pick Up Your No. 2 Pencil. Begin.


In New York everybody knows everybody else. Well, there are all these people you totally don't know -- like cabdrivers and the freaks in the park -- but they don't count. The people who count, the kids who go to your school or schools like your school, we all know one another. It's like a club. "Dalton, check. Prada, check. Summers in Europe or the Hamptons, check." We all want the same things and we all do the same stuff to get them.

Like college. You can pretend you don't want to go to Yale or Harvard or Brown -- but you do. Unless you're a nose picker. In life there are those who count and there are nose pickers. Very few people actually count for anything -- even though everybody likes to think they do.

Anyway, I'm not surprised when I walk into the SAT prep class in the last week of summer vacation and there's at least three other kids from Dewey.

Without even thinking, I size them up.

Daisy Stubbs. Plays b-ball, dates b-ball. Heavily into saving things, from the planet to the guy at the party who thinks it's a cool idea to mix tequila and schnapps. I've been to a lot of parties where Daisy's holding somebody's head while they puke. She's a lot of guys' dream, but I never saw the big deal.

Strictly state school. No threat.

Of course, next to Daisy is her best bud, Max. Max is a little guy. Those who can't play, write for the school paper. He'd probably tell you it's all about the game, but it's like, dude, girls in shorts? Who are you kidding?

Max is smart. He could be thinking Ivies. Maybe Columbia.

Then there's Jane Cotterell. When she came to our school last year, we were like, "Sweet, Julia Cotterell's daughter and she passes for a babe." But Jane speaks

to no one. Shy or stuck-up? Can't tell. Guess when your mom's a movie star, you don't mix with the little people.

Possible threat. But only because of Mom.

I take a seat, look around. No sign of the teacher, and it's almost time to start. While we wait, I open my notebook and start a list, "Five People I Don't Know Who Count."

1. Bill Gates

2. Quentin Tarantino (or Steven Soderbergh)

3. Bono

And maybe, just maybe, Jane Cotterell.


I really, really hope they don't make us go around and say our names. I hate that. Somebody always asks, "Hey, is your mom Julia Cotterell?"

I have two standard answers: "Um, yeah" or "No, but I get that all the time."

I hardly ever do "Um, yeah," because then you get, "Oh, I loved her in Persuasion," or "She totally deserved the Oscar that year." And then what do you say? "Thanks"?

My mom would be so on me right now. There are three kids from Dewey here, and she'd be like, "Why don't you say hi? Why don't you talk to them? They don't have fangs, for God's sake."

Mom, believe me, Daisy and Max would find me utterly boring, and Leo Thayer is a BP who talks only to other BPs.

Where is the SAT guy, anyway?


Just when I'm thinking Is this class ever going to start? this bald guy sticks his head in the door and gasps, "Can't find the booklets. Stay put, I'll be right back...."

I feel Daisy's notebook nudge my hand. I look at what she's written.

"It's a sign. Let's split."

I write, "Can't. Must learn secrets of a, b, c, d, or e."

Daisy scribbles some more.

"a. This is lame.

b. This is boring.

c. This sucks.

d. All of the above.


Last year Daisy and I both said prep was elitist and sick, and we swore we wouldn't do it. Then we got our PSAT scores, and well, I guess things change.

I tell myself everyone does prep. Even Tory McEwan, who got the one perfect score in the school last year, did prep. There's no shame in it.

I just feel...disgusting, that's all.

The SAT guy is back. He pants, "Just a few more minutes, I'm arranging for backup."

Then he disappears. Leo Thayer makes a big show of looking at his watch. "That's ten minutes gone. This one class costs a hundred dollars, this guy owes us each ten bucks."

A girl with pink fingernails who obviously thinks Leo is hot says, "Totally."

I tell myself I don't hate Leo Thayer because he's one of the Beautiful People and so many women think he's hot. I tell myself I hate Leo Thayer because he's an egotistical schmuck.

And I almost believe myself.

Then Daisy says loudly, "Screw the ten bucks. Let's just walk out."


Well, someone had to say something.

I mean, God, we were all just sitting there like, Oh, please, Mr. Brilliant SAT Man, share your wisdom with us. We have paid you hundreds of dollars for the wonderful privilege.

And those who don't have hundreds of dollars, well, screw them.

And those who don't go to private school, screw them, too.

I said to my parents, "Doesn't it bother you, just a little, how unfair this is? How the whole system is completely and disgustingly rigged?"

And they were like, "Yeah, but you're going anyway."

Yay, principles.

Last year Coach said she would bench me if I didn't quit arguing with the refs all the time. So I've been trying not to lose it so much. But this whole scene is just too obnoxious. I say it again: "Let's walk out."

If this were a movie, this would be the part where the crowd rises up with a huge roar and burns something down.

But all that happens is Leo Thayer rolls his eyes and says...


"What, because the guy didn't show?"

Because yeah, I'm annoyed the guy is late, but that doesn't mean Daisy gets to piss on the whole thing. I know exactly what she's thinking. And I'm sorry, I know some kids go to lousy schools and never learn to read -- but how is me screwing up my SATs going to help?

I tell her, "You think there shouldn't be any test at all. Colleges should just take us because we're nice and kind to animals. Not 'cause we' or anything."

Daisy cocks her head like she's thinking about it. "Well, if we're so smart, how come we have to pay some jerk to teach us how to take a freaking test?"

She looks me right in the eye, and I have a weird flash. Some party where this girl was following me around, all boo-hoo, because...I don't know, she had ideas. She got herself totally trashed, and Daisy took her home. When they were leaving, Daisy looked back at me, and I was like, Not my problem. Daisy gave me this look: Whose problem is it?

I said then and I say now: not mine.

Although it's seriously pissing me off that this guy is so late....


Probably most of the kids here think Daisy's kidding. Yeah, she says "Let's walk out," but she doesn't really mean it.

Except she does. She totally means it.

I look around the classroom. Here's what I see: a bunch of kids who know the whole college game is stacked against kids without money and connections.

And...a bunch of kids with money and connections.

All of a sudden Daisy gets up, goes to the front of the class, and says, "Everyone who thinks the SATs are bogus, the time for pizza is now."

Okay, Max. Here's where you stand up....

I think of my dad: "Hey, how was SAT prep?" "Uh, well..."

Then all of a sudden I hear this little, tiny voice: "I'll come." I look toward the voice, see...Jane? Jane Cotterell?

Daisy sees her too, smiles at me like, Insanity time...

And that's that. If Jane Cotterell's walking out, I certainly have to. I stand, say, "I'm up for pizza."

The rest of the kids stare down at their notebooks. I go stand with Daisy and Jane at the door. Daisy looks back at the class. "Last chance."

Then Leo says, "Screw it," and gets up.

And before anyone has a chance to do anything, Daisy yells, "Sayonara," and we run out the door.


This is wild.

I've never done anything like this. Just leave and slam the door, good-bye!

I've seen people do it. My mom used to do it all the time when she was fighting with my dad. I wanted to tell her, "Hi, Mom, this is not a movie, we're not your audience...."

Except this time we're the ones everyone's looking at. I guess they think we're crazy. I should feel embarrassed, but I don't. It's like, You're the fools.

When we get out to the hallway, and we see the SAT guy -- still looking for his stupid books -- and Daisy says, "Run for it," we get nuts running down the hall, charging down the stairs, and someone, I think Max, starts laughing because it's so nuts, and then we're all cracking up, even me, and I'm worried because I'm running so fast I'm going to fall down and break my neck, and we jump down the last few stairs, and Leo shoves open the door and waves us all through, and suddenly we're out on the street and we're free and...

And I think, Maybe we are crazy. But crazy's really good.

Then Leo says, "Okay, now what?"

Max and Daisy look at each other. If no one says anything, we'll all just walk away....

I say, "You could come to my house."


One of my basic rules in life: Never ever turn down a chance to meet a famous person. So when Jane asks us over, I immediately say, "Sure."

Daisy says, "Yeah, cool." She's so psyched she got us all to walk out she'll agree to anything: "Take a swim in the reservoir? Yeah, cool...."

Only Max looks doubtful. Probably thinking he's too dorky to meet Julia Cotterell. He's right -- but I'm not going to let that stand in my way.


Frankly, I thought once we were out of there, Daisy and I would go and hang on our own. We don't know these guys. And when it comes to Leo, I seriously don't want to know him.

But somehow we're all going to Jane Cotterell's house. Not that Jane is so terrible. But I don't know her, and I have no idea what to say to her. I know she used to hang with Lily Previn, but they don't seem to be buds this year.

And of course, Jane's insanely gorgeous, and I can't speak to insanely gorgeous females. The most I can manage is, "Uh, duh..."

She really looks like her mom, with this cloud of black hair, huge gray eyes. Thin, perfect skin -- she's like from another planet where they build everyone perfect. Whereas I'm from a planet where they build everyone short and weird looking.

You don't want to be supremely uncool and say, "Hey, I saw your mom in the newspaper." But I don't know what else to talk to her about.

The only other thing I know about Jane is what everyone knows about her. And that you really can't talk about.

What people say about Jane is that her stepfather watches her naked. They also say she lets him.

I have to admit, sometimes I look at Jane and the thought of her naked and being watched is not the worst thing to think about.

Then I look at her face, the way she never really looks anyone in the eye, and I feel like if that's true, it's really ugly, and someone should do something.

Copyright © 2006 by Mariah Fredericks


Excerpted from Crunch Time by Mariah Fredericks Copyright © 2005 by Mariah Fredericks. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Mariah Fredericks is the author of the bestselling novel The True Meaning of Cleavage, which Meg Cabot called "Laugh-out-loud funny and way twisted!" She is also the author of Head Games, Crunch Time, and two previous books in the In the Cards series, Love and Fame.

Mariah accepts that cats are her superior in every way and would never dream of insulting one by trying to own it. However, she has been reading tarot cards since she was a teenager, and while she knows that it is lame to believe in fortune-telling, her readings keep coming true, so she keeps doing them. She has even written a tarot guide called The Smart Girl's Guide to Tarot.

She lives with her husband, son, and basset hound in Jackson Heights, New York. Visit her online at or

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Crunch Time 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A perfect suspense story for teens. It will hit every college-bound high school student where they live: in the land of test scores and academic competition. Offers an excellent look at teenagers who find themselves dealing with the usual social (popularity) issues, but also the dehumanizing aspects of having their personal worth measured in numbers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Scholar-Berry More than 1 year ago "Max grins. 'We should have numbers on our butts.' He turns to Daisy. 'Hi, I'm a two thousand. Nice to meet you.' In a haughty accent she says, 'Sorry, I only date twenty-one hundreds and above....'" To be honest, I've never cared for any standardized tests. Not the MCA, not the ACT, so obviously not the SAT. (Yes, I have not even taken the ACT, and I will pass them, it's just that I never get the whole reason why people freak about it.) When I moved to US on August 2007, it was a bit weird (to me anyway). They (the school) insisted on me using Number 2 pencils, and I had to use the wooden pencils (I only use mechanical ones or pens back in Indonesia). So when I saw this cover, it grabbed my attention at once. Daisy and Max are best friends--Daisy is poor and well (let's face it) her grades are just average. She plays basketball good, though. Max, on the other hand, is smart though geeky. They both came for the SAT prep class, and found Leo Thayer and Jane Cotterell from the same school. Leo Thayer is one of the BP--Beautiful People--and he knows it. Worse, he always hits on freshmen girls and well, break their hearts. In short, of course, a jerk. Jane Cotterell is the daughter of Julia Cotterell, the movie star. Right, Jane is also the rich kid with the popular mom without any friends. The SAT Prep guy didn't show up, so Daisy (not caring about the test at all), walks out. Inviting anyone who'd come with. Then the four of them started their own SAT prep group in Jane's house. But then they figured out that someone cheated. Someone cheated the SAT. Was it Daisy, the poor girl who needed the scholarship? Leo, who wants the perfect score? Max, who needs his father off his back? Or Jane, so she doesn't ruin her mom's reputation? What I love about the book: The characters--Mariah Fredericks showed us all 4 characters' minds, and each of them was great. It was funny--hilarious, actually--and smart. :D What I dislike about the book: I didn't dislike anything! (I wonder why I haven't found any book that I have anything to point out that I dislike...?) This is one of my favorites!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
omg! this is like my favorite book of all time! i read it in 2 days but i would have read it in 1 but i got it at night. read it!!! its GREAAAT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading Crunch Time. It is a very inspirational book for students to read. It teaches a very important lesson on why cheating and lying is bad to do. If you are one that likes to read about the ups and downs of worrying about the SAT's than this book is great. If I could describe this book, it would be described as a train ride, a drama thrill, and an important lesson. I hope anyone who reads this book enjoys it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the book called Crunch Time by Mariah Fredricks. Out of five stars I would give this book a total of three. It was an ok book overall. I only liked it as much as I did because I really enjoy reading. It was on and off and didn¿t keep my interest as well as it could of. Some parts were nice while others became tedious. Crunch Time is a group of four people Leo, Max, Jane, and Daisy who all agree to basically on one thing they all hate the SATs. After ditching their SAT prep class, they decide, to please their parents, to create their own study group. Everyone wants to do really good so they can make it into an Ivy League college. After weeks of practicing, getting to know each other and a few practice SAT tests they finally take the big test. Afterwards when everyone is relieved, or dissatisfied, with their scores, they learn the horrific truth someone paid somebody else to take the SAT test for them! This could ruin the Dewey High School reputation. Any college in their right mind wouldn¿t want to accept a possible cheater in their prided school. Everyone begins to point fingers and make conclusions on who the culprit is. Is anybody right? Is it the obvious or not so obvious? Read the book to find out and discover the truth. There were a few things that I really liked about the book but more that I disliked. To start with, the story was told in four points of view by the main characters. I mean that every so often the first person narrative would switch and you would be in that persons mind over everything that happened in the book. This made it really unique and interesting. Also the book kind of explained the thinking and life of a sophomore in high school. To go along with the good parts there has to be bad and unfortunately there is a few. There was a very significant time change and I barely caught on. That made it kind of hard to follow along. Also, it seemed as if the author forgot about what she was writing and stretched out that made it long and boring. The mystery part didn¿t even come until over half-way through the book. Overall I have read better and worse books. It was a fairly good book and I recommend you should give it a try.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Crunch Time. Not one of my favorite books but reading it was enjoyable and worthwhile.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I finished this book in 1 day. it was awesome. although I kind've wanted Jane and Max to get together in the end, I liked the ending. I didn't suspect the person who did cheat to cheat, but oh well. I really loved this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Crunch Time has outstanding characters. I love how Jane, Daisy, Max, and Leo are all completely different, yet they form a bond. But this bond only got a chance to form because their SAT Prep class teacher could not find the booklets. Daisy, being the rebel that she is, stormed out followed by Max, Jane, and Leo. Jane is the movie star's daughter, Daisy is the rebel who does not follow the rules, Max is the typical guy with a crush on his best friend, and Leo is a total full-of-himself-jock. They are also stressed out for different reasons. This is a really creative way to write a book. I love the suspense of who cheated. I couldn't help but to take a peak to see who did--and I was shocked at what I saw. This book really portrays the stress put on students by both their parents and teachers to do well on the SAT.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was funny, and really showed you the stress high schoolers go through! And it had a mystery twist. It looks long, but it goes really fast. There were four diffrent plots, from four diffrent people, and they had the same plots from diffrent eyes. I give it 5 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Daisy, Max, Leo, and Jane all have their own reasons to be freaking out over the upcoming SAT tests. Though they all go to the same school, only Daisy and Max have been more than acquaintances before the day when, at an SAT prep course, they decide to bag the formal classroom prep in favor of their own study group of four. Different but alike in many ways, they meet and prepare for the big score that will surely, irrevocably change what college they will get in to and therefore the rest of their life. Right? Mariah Fredericks has written a pithy, tight story about a very timely subject that all high school students-and their parents-will immediantly identify with. Alternatively funny and poignant, capturing the frenzy of high schoolers coping with all the current expectations surrounding SATs, college admissions and the pressures of just being a teenager in this day and age, this novel will ring true with all readers going through the circus that is higher level education today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the characters in this book. I couldn't decide which person I liked the best, because they all were fascinating in their own way. They were so realistic that I felt like I was going through every awful and wonderful experience with them! (I even forced myself not to read ahead to find out who cheated, because--if it was one of them--I didn't want to find out!) The SATs suck, and I like how this book puts them into perspective.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book, written in the point of view of four very different students at a prestigious and competitive NYC private school. They all ditch an SAT prep class at the beginning of their junior year of high school, and instead befriend one another and form their own SAT study group. After they take their SATs, it is discovered that a student at their school has cheated, and the group is caught up in the mystery of who did it while pointing fingers at each other. A great and well-written book.