Early Decision: A Novel

( 12 )

Overview

A delightful and salacious novel about the frightful world of high school, SATs, the college essay, and the Common Application—and how getting in is getting in the way of growing up

Anne Arlington is twenty-seven, single, and in demand: she is the independent "college whisperer" whose name is passed from parent to parent like a winning lottery ticket, the only tutor who can make a difference with the Ivy League.

Early Decision follows one ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.63
BN.com price
(Save 15%)$14.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (39) from $1.99   
  • New (13) from $1.99   
  • Used (26) from $1.99   
Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price

Overview

A delightful and salacious novel about the frightful world of high school, SATs, the college essay, and the Common Application—and how getting in is getting in the way of growing up

Anne Arlington is twenty-seven, single, and in demand: she is the independent "college whisperer" whose name is passed from parent to parent like a winning lottery ticket, the only tutor who can make a difference with the Ivy League.

Early Decision follows one application season and the five students Anne guides to their fates: Hunter, the athletic boy who never quite hits his potential, a kind, heavily defended kid who drives his mother mad; Sadie, an heiress who is perfectly controlled but at the expense of her own heart; William, whose intelligence permits him to dodge his father's cruel conservatism but can't solve the problem of loneliness; Alexis, a blazing overachiever whose midwestern parents have never heard of a tiger mom; and Cristina, who could write her ticket out of her enormous, failing high school, if only she knew how.

Meanwhile, Anne needs a little coaching herself, having learned that even the best college does not teach a person how to make a life.

In this engrossing, intelligent novel, Lacy Crawford delivers an explosive insider's guide to the secrets of college admissions at the highest levels. It's also a deft commentary on modern parenting and how the scramble for Harvard is shaping a generation. Told in part through the students' essays, this unique and witty book is so closely observed that it has been mistaken for a memoir or a how-to guide. A wise and deeply felt story, Early Decision reveals how getting in is getting in the way of growing up.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

People
“this novel about kids caught up in the admissions rat race is wise and completely engrossing.”
KEVIN KWAN
“Early Decision is part Gossip Girl, part Dead Poets Society, and entirely addictive! A brilliant, satirical peek at the families of privilege behind the Ivy Curtain, this book made me laugh out loud.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Overbearing moms and dads scheming to secure their kid a place at Harvard will find it more helpful than any nonfiction book on the market... everyone else can enjoy Early Decision for what it is: a sweetly sharp modern-day comedy of manners about the brutally competitive college-admissions ordeal.”
Wendy Corsi Staub
“I picked it up the November of my firstborn’s senior year and found it impossible to put down. A fascinating and relatable read for anyone who’s ever been through the college application process, gone through it with a child-or anticipates doing so.”
Chicago Tribune
“By focusing on the essay-writing process, Crawford explores how we find our own stories—and suggests that a successful campaign depends on revision.”
People
“Here’s an engrossing novel that no parent of college-bound teens will be able to resist...Crawford nails the anxiety of a selection process gone crazy and counsels parents to do the hardest thing of all: back off.”
Booklist
“Savvy...the hearts of the students beat a true, steady rhythm throughout the novel.”
Ann Beattie
“A book that should get some serious discussions going. Like other dramas, it’s sometimes a comedy... an insider’s view, projected not from the eyes but from the heart.”
The Daily Beast
How did we go from regular old college admissions to seven ‘early action’ applications and 11 personal essays? Former private college counselor Lacy Crawford, author of ‘Early Decision,’ breaks down the craziness…
The Atlantic Wire
“A wickedly fast-paced testament to the hysterical arms race for prestige that college admissions has become.”
College Admissions Counselor Anonymous
“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Lacy Crawford’s Early Decision hits the nail squarely on the head. WOW. I loved the book and can honestly say that it is all true.”
Debbie Stier
“Lacy Crawford portrays the admissions arms race with wit, sympathy, and candor. A great read for anyone with an interest in the college admissions process.”
Carol Edgarian
“a winning, insightful, tender and ultimately redemptive tale”
October Book of the Month Redbook.com
“At times hilarious, at times soul-crushingly sad, and unfailingly astute and well-written, Early Decision will leave you super-satisfied.”
Chicago Tribune
“By focusing on the essay-writing process, Crawford explores how we find our own stories - and suggests that a successful campaign depends on revision.”
October Book of the Month Redbook.com
“at times hilarious, at times soul-crushingly sad, and unfailingly astute and well-written, Early Decision will leave you super-satisfied.”
Publishers Weekly
09/02/2013
This entertaining tale of upper class parents and adolescent learning curves points a keen eye at the college application process and the agony and ecstasy of getting that acceptance letter. Twenty-seven-year-old Anne with her polished Princeton background has somehow fallen into the college essay coaching business and is quite proficient. Enter Margaret and Gideon Blanchard and their daughter Sadie who has been groomed from birth to attend Duke as a legacy. Anne sets to help Sadie polish her essays and in the process they discover each other's strengths and weaknesses. Anne is dealing with an unruly upstairs neighbor who hates her dog and may be stealing her newspaper, a philandering actor boyfriend, and her own unfinished aspirations, while her students deal with their sexuality, finding their voice, and escaping their parents' expectations and jealousies. Wealth and privilege are in no way major indicators of who gets in where, and sometimes they hold the perfect student back, but with the right help and support, such as Anne supplies, those students find their way despite themselves. Sprinkled with tips for writers—"it isn't so much about editing as it is about aligning execution to intention," essays in various forms of re-write, and a very satisfying twist at the end, the reader is lead through a long, dark supervised High School hallway and off to the freedom of the great lawn. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
A struggling young tutor tries to find her destiny among the children of privilege in this cutting peek at the vicious world of college applications. Based largely on personal experience, Crawford's debut novel explores the rarefied world of Anne, a bright but world-weary English major who has fallen into the unusual trade of "Application Whisperer," helping affluent Chicago high school students tweak their personal essays and nail their college applications. Anne is also wrestling with her personal identity, unsure of her own talents, ambitions and security. The novel focuses on Anne's students, all of whom are blandly unique in their own way. There's a hunky young tennis player who only wants to run with the wild horses in Montana, the wealthy daughter of an Ivy League university trustee and a gay theater buff afraid to confront his aggressive father. The ringer in this exclusive club is Cristina, a Guatemalan illegal immigrant whose brilliance belies her origins. "She was helpless to reframe eighteen years of parenting and generations longer of expectations," Crawford writes of Anne. "She was just a custodian of fate, as she pictured herself now, an orderly, shuffling alongside these kids. Perhaps offering them a bon mot. Sending them through the next set of doors, and turning back each spring to where the new kids were waiting." And while the children are all well-characterized, their parents are portrayed with enough delicious malice to flirt with satire. To ratchet up the personal drama, Crawford tosses in Martin, a vain but ambitious young actor whose boyfriend status seems like a fleeting afterthought, and a nasty upstairs neighbor who plots to unravel Anne's perilous residency in her building. Crawford delivers a palpable sense of pathos into this absurdly complex process, but non-parents and other parties immune to the cult of the Tiger Mother may find trolling through adolescent essays a bit laborious. Much like The Nanny Diaries--sincere and readable.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062240699
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/26/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 91,092
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

For fifteen years Lacy Crawford served as a highly discreet independent college admissions counselor to the children of powerful clients in cities such as New York, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London. Her "day jobs" included serving as senior editor of Narrative magazine and director of the Burberry Foundation. Educated at Princeton and the University of Chicago, Crawford lives in California with her husband and two children.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 11, 2013

    College Bound?

    This is an interesting look at the lengths some kids and their families will go to to get into their college of choice. I was fascinated with the subject and wish she had included even more examples.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2015

    ¿Early Decision¿ intrigued me because my oldest daughter is a hi

    “Early Decision” intrigued me because my oldest daughter is a high school sophomore, and I know that the dreaded college applications are just around the corner. I expected this book to be a bit of fluff in which I might learn a thing or two about the process, and walk away entertained.

    Pleasantly, perhaps, the novel was much meatier than I anticipated, but like a gristly steak, I walked away not totally satisfied.

    The author, Lacy Crawford, spent many years counseling teens on submitting their applications, and her protagonist, Anne, does the same. The book follows her work with a handful of particular students, mostly wealthy and Ivy-League-bound. Kudos to Anne, via Lacy, for really trying to explore what gave the teens their individual voice, and for eschewing what the parents automatically expected. Beyond that, however, Anne was not a compelling character, as her relationship was weak and depressing, her interactions with her neighbors and family were thin, and she moped about the story directionless. Really, I didn’t walk away finding a reason to cheer her on. I was more enthusiastic about some of her students.

    Crawford did have many detailed stories to tell, but I got the impression that they were largely drawn from her real-life experiences, and that if there were a follow-up, unrelated novel, she might have challenges thinking up unique material. Add to this one chapter that was a full NINETY pages long, I can say that I’m glad I read the book, but it won't be a repeat.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 25, 2014

    As a mom of a freshman in college, I can still remember all the

    As a mom of a freshman in college, I can still remember all the preparation it took and time spent to fill out college applications, scholarships, and visiting campuses. During that time, a friend mentioned hiring a person to fill out the applications for their son. It was a lot of money, and I thought it was a bit crazy.

    Well, apparently, that is the norm!! This book moved at a great pace and highlights different families and the challenges they face, along with the “college whisperer” to make sure the student has the best opportunity to go to the best university. This book isn’t a “how-to”, rather it shows the extents families will go for their child to remain a legacy in the family, the pressures the students face, and the way it can potentially bring a family closer, or break them further apart. I found it most interesting the relationships and family dynamics that Anne sees, as she spends more time with her students and family secrets are exposed and the pressures each one faces.

    It’s not a depressing book by any means, but it’s a somber look at what families expect from their children, even when their child may have a different idea of what they want for their future. I love how Anne is able to bring out the best in each of the students she works with and the trust she works hard at establishing.

    Anne has her own share of struggles and a relationship that is long distance, which puts pressure on her work and her own goals. Anne is a young woman, who didn’t set out to be a college coach. She taught at school and helped her students with their college essays, which slowly morphed into her coaching other kids because of the huge success she had with her former students.

    About a year ago, I read the book, Accelerated by Bronwen Hruska. Reading Lacy Crawford’s book made me think of the students from Accelerated, and I pictured them and their parents as the ones seeking help from Anne. I know…these books have nothing to do with the other, but I could see a natural extension of it all.

    Overall, I loved this book! Again, there aren’t any huge secrets that are revealed in the book. However, I loved the essays because it showed what each student was thinking, their writing ability, and how Anne was able to pull more from her students when she read the essays. I loved this book and any parent who has dealt with college admissions, has a child in school, or is simply a reader who loves books about family secrets, family relationships, and the pressure of today’s society, will all enjoy this fantastic read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2014

    Crap

    Sucked

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 22, 2013

    Too, too true

    Having worked in admission at a prestigious prep school, I can empathize with the applicants described in this book. The desperation of parents is palpable while frequently their children are uninterested in the process which only increases the parents' frustration. This book should be read by every parent facing the intricacies of admission, whether to prep school or college. Lacy Crawford speaks from experience and imparts the wisdom gained from viewing first-hand the admission process with humor and empathy. Highly recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 21, 2013

    pretty good

    author provides an interesting perspective on the college admissions process. The length that wealthy parents can and will go to help their kids get into schools that may or may not be the right place ....this would be an eye opener to any parent willing to accept that they might be a little over involved.

    Also points out what a real 'crap shoot' the process is. The pressure on today's kids and families is over the top...always one more thing these kids have to do from preschool to graduation and beyond. Building a resume and hoping they get it right. Glad my last one is almost through college...but then there is the grad school process.

    I would recommend this to parents of high schoolers that are wondering how critical the competition game really is in the college admissions process.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2013

    Good but not great

    Interesting exploration of a college coach's attempt to find the true goals of her student/clients
    The villains are trite and the author drops the ball at the end

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2013

    Thank god I already graduated

    Intersting tale of a super smart woman who takes up the career of college application councelor after her own future stalls. I'd never even heard of this job but it's entertaining to watch Annie shepherd a group of teenagers thru the process of breaking the apron strings while taking their first step into adulthood.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)