Delacorte. Dec. 2020. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781984893628.
Gr 9 Up–Chloe’s world is turned upside down when the FBI shows up at her front door to arrest her mother, a beloved sitcom actress, who is believed to have taken part in a college admissions bribery scandal. Told in chapters that take place in the present and recent past of Chloe’s senior year in high school, readers are given an exclusive look at the privileged life Chloe and her family lead, and how the fallout from the scandal changes everything. Buxbaum does a solid job of crafting realistic main and secondary characters, which gives this ripped-from-the-headlines story believable insight into the scandal that took the nation by storm. Although Chloe lives a fortunate life, she is not unaware of the struggles of others: Her best friend Shola, a Nigerian American student, studies very hard in hopes of securing a scholarship for college. Cesar, the elementary student she tutors, worries daily about whether his mother, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, will be deported. When Chloe gets in to her dream college and her best friend is wait-listed, she recognizes the unfairness of the situation, but it is not until she loses her friendship with Shola that she truly begins to grasp the consequences of her and her family’s actions.
VERDICT This timely character-centric novel, which is a gripping, thoughtful exploration of contemporary themes, deserves a place on both school and public library shelves.

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