...[a] fun, stress-free escape from current events ... There are many 'types' here, including her hippy-dippy academic parents, but Poeppel gives them all a fresh spin. And she is really, really funny ... Both witty and wise, Small Admissions is a big-hearted, charming novel.
...a riotous, overcrowded, entertaining blowout of a novel ... Small Admissions contains a very large cast of characters. It was originally workshopped as a theatrical production, and readers might have welcomed a dramatis personae to help keep everyone straight. The book is heavy on dialogue, another clue to its origins ... She juggles multiple plotlines, offers social commentary with a dash of wit, and ties it all up neatly at the end ... Each chapter begins with a section of first-person narration from Kate's college friend Chloe. This device turns out to be more confusing than illuminating. Chloe's voice is not particularly distinctive from that of Kate or the other young women in the novel, so it's occasionally difficult to remember who's narrating these passages ... Readers who ride it out until December will find it's possible to catch the book's loopy rhythm and fling themselves wholeheartedly into the fun.
This debut novel might be described as The Devil Wears Prada meets Primates of Park Avenue ... Although Ms. Poeppel once worked in private school admissions, she delivers few startling insights. The rich parents are as entitled and demanding as you might expect ... The clichés extend to a promising Latina applicant, the violin-playing and 'unusually empathetic' Claudia Gutierrez, whose mother works two jobs and whose father died of cancer. Nuance is largely absent as the novel goes for frothy fun and hits predictably heartwarming notes. Take it for what it is; you’ll be entertained.
Poeppel’s tenor is just right. She delivers a perfect balance between the totally believable — awkward student interviews — and the truly absurd — a tense showdown involving parents and firearms ... If Small Admissions has a lesson, it’s that rejection does not have to be absolute. What appears to be an obvious failure may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as both Kate and these anxious parents come to learn.