The Hawthorne family of an affluent California neighborhood appear to have it all. Nora and Gabe's oldest daughter, Angela, is a senior in high school and is focused on getting into Harvard. Their younger daughters, Cecily and Maya are busy with things such as dance lessons and play dates. They really appear to be the perfect family. If you look deeper though, you see that Nora is stressed about selling a house that could make or break her career, Gabe is stressed because his new intern may have discovered a closely held secret of his that could destroy his career. Angela is popping Adderall trying to keep up with the pressures of her senior year her effort to get into Harvard. Cecily blew a big dance competition and Maya can't read at the age of eight. What outsiders can't see is that the Hawthorne family is slowly imploding. The mounting pressures for each of them could have lasting consequences, but collectively the pressures could destroy the family. Will Nora and Gabe be able to pull it together before there are deadly consequences?
If you were just to read the synopsis for The Admissions you might think that the title refers to the whole family's efforts at getting Angela admitted to Harvard. I was about a third of the way through the book before I realized that each member, well except for Maya, had something that they were keeping from each other. Admitting their secrets is what could destroy the family. The efforts they went through to keep up the appearance of a perfect family was completely exhausting to read, I can't imagine that kind of pressure in my home life. It obviously was taking a toll on all of them. The author starts the book out with a bit of a crisis and then flashes back, but you must wait until nearly the end of the book to find out exactly what happened with that crisis and it is a bit shocking. In the end all of the secrets are revealed and the familial fall-out is not was not as bad as I expected. I think the author did a great job at giving the Hawthorne's and the readers closure.
Bottom line - The Admissions is one of those books that makes the reader thankful for the life they have. We all have our different kinds of pressures and stresses, but they seem to be magnified for the Hawthorne's and that is what makes it such a fascinating book to read. Peeking in their window, so to speak, to see how they handle those magnified pressures. Lots of fodder for discussion with this one!