“Abbi Waxman is both irreverent and thoughtful.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin
Squashed among a bus full of strangers, mother-daughter duo Jessica and Emily Burnstein watch their carefully mapped-out college tour devolve into a series of off-roading misadventures, from the USA Today bestselling author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.
Jessica and Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.
For Emily, it's a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she's sure she even wants to go to college, but let's ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. . . . They have to, right?
For Jessica, it's a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers and Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn't even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn't sure she likes herself.
Together with a dozen strangers--and two familiar enemies--Jessica and Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family and old friends along the way. Surprises and secrets threaten their relationship and, in the end, change it forever.
Waxman (The Bookish Life of Nina Hill) expertly navigates the fraught shoals of college admissions in this spot-on tale of an ambitious mother and daughter. A hard-driving Los Angeles lawyer and single mother, Jessica Burnstein determines to get her delightfully acerbic teenage daughter, Emily, into a prestigious college and signs on for a guided tour of top schools with Excelsior Educational Excursions, a consulting firm relied upon by those in Jessica's peer group who seem to "enjoy ostentatiously subcontracting their parenting" by "E3ing the whole thing." As Jessica, Emily, and a group of seriously smart kids and their intense parents tour prestigious East Coast campuses, a cheating scandal erupts, with Emily, who all along hints at something that would kill her admission chances, at its epicenter. By the end, the FBI investigates, the culprits are charged, and the innocent are vindicated. Waxman's alternating first-person narration from Jessica and Emily rings true, while a memorable supporting cast ultra-driven students; mean-girl moms; a way-too-perky counselor, Cassidy, from E3 provide excellent support, especially when Cassidy's unintentionally hilarious but deeply resonating final scene is played out. This sweet treat doesn't require a college-bound child to enjoy, though anyone who has helped their offspring weather the admissions process will definitely appreciate this sharp send-up.