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Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy

Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy

by Lacy Crawford

Narrated by Erin Moon

Unabridged — 11 hours, 51 minutes

Lacy Crawford

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Overview

A delightful and salacious debut 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.

Tiger mothers, eat your hearts out. Anne the "application whisperer" is the golden ticket to success. Working one-on-one with burned-out, helicopter-parented kids, she can make Harvard a reality. Her phone number is a national secret. Her students end up at the best of the best.

But sometimes acceptance comes at an enormous cost. In a world of cheating scandals, huge alumni donations, and lots of inside pull, some parents know no bounds when it comes to ensuring that their children get in. It's Anne's job to guide students to their own destinies, beginning with their essays. Early Decision follows five students-four privileged, one without a penny to her name-as they make their applications and wrestle with fate.

To write the perfect personal statement, they must tell the truth. And the stories they tell are of greed, excess, jealousy, deceit, money, ego, and pressure, as well as of endurance, tenacity, victory, and the hope of surviving their parents' wildest dreams so they can begin to live their own lives.

Early Decision captures the most ferocious season in a modern family's life. Parents only want the best for their children, and students are fighting for college seats that will give them a head start into work and adulthood. Is it possible to face the fall semester of senior year without losing your mind?

Told in part through the students' essays, unsparingly revealing the secrets of college advisors at the highest levels, Early Decision is an explosive insider's guide to college admissions in our day. It's also a sharp commentary on modern parenting. The truth is, the kids are all right. Their essays are fabulous. But the system is broken. With humor and hard-earned wisdom, Early Decision illuminates the madness of the college race.



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Editorial Reviews

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.)

From the Publisher

“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.” — Entertainment Weekly

“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.” — People

“By focusing on the essay-writing process, Crawford explores how we find our own stories—and suggests that a successful campaign depends on revision.” — Chicago Tribune, Editor's Choice Book

“This entertaining tale of upper class parents and adolescent learning curves points a keen eye at the college application process... with the right support, those students find their way despite themselves. Sprinkled with tips for writers, essays in various forms of rewrite, and a very satisfying twist at the end.” — Publishers Weekly

“At times hilarious, at times soul-crushingly sad, and unfailingly astute and well-written, Early Decision will leave you super-satisfied.” — Redbook.com, October Book of the Month

“Savvy...the hearts of the students beat a true, steady rhythm throughout the novel.” — Booklist

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 Daily Beast

“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.” — Ann Beattie

“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.” — KEVIN KWAN, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF CRAZY RICH ASIANS.

“this novel about kids caught up in the admissions rat race is wise and completely engrossing.” — People

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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…

Booklist

Savvy...the hearts of the students beat a true, steady rhythm throughout the novel.

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.

The Atlantic Wire

A wickedly fast-paced testament to the hysterical arms race for prestige that college admissions has become.

Carol Edgarian

a winning, insightful, tender and ultimately redemptive tale

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.

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.

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.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940170208708
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/04/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews