A young Manhattan teacher falls in love with all the glitz that other people’s money can buy in this debut novel from Lakhani, a one-time teacher at an elite Upper East Side school.
Anna Taggart is a bright-eyed Columbia University graduate who becomes a low-paid middle-school teacher, even as her sorority sisters take jobs in investment banking. Employed by an exclusive institution on the Upper East Side, Anna decides to also give tutoring lessons to private-school teens as a way to supplement her income. Quickly realizing just how much cash astronomically wealthy parents are willing to throw at her, she compromises her morals and begins doing the teens’ homework assignments for them. A few eighth-grade essays hurriedly written in her students’ designer bedrooms yield enough money for swanky shopping trips for Juicy jumpsuits and Chanel handbags. The plot runs on a loop: Anna sacrifices morals by cheating for students; Anna buys designer stilettos worth more than a month’s rent to feel better; Anna pauses to question her career path and integrity, then buys a latte with her new bad-news tutor friend Randi and forgets about it. The author has a lot to say about the scarily corrupt world of elite private schools, but she never takes the story to the next level.
A fun read that could use more snap.