An entertaining twist on a familiar theme: A high-achieving teen figures out who she really is at heart despite the pressures of the high school rat race.
Mischa Abramavicius, an overachieving private school student and self-described “college-admissions machine,” has the shock of her life when she is rejected from every single institution she applies to despite her very strong record. She struggles to hides the truth from everyone—especially her mother, whose single, working-mom status differentiates Mischa, who is on scholarship, from her wealthier classmates. But when she discovers that her application was tampered with, she joins forces with her best friend, Nate Miller, and a group of hacker misfits—Emily Sreenivasan, Bebe Tandoh, and Shira Gastman—to investigate further. Their explosive discovery necessitates some hard decisions, but Mischa comes through in the end. Along the way she learns things about herself and who she really is beyond "College Applicant Mischa.” While Mischa’s insights seem pat at times, the fast-paced plot with its well-crafted climax is full of enough surprise twists to keep the suspense and interest high. Mischa is white and Jewish, and with the exception of Bebe, who goes to visit relatives in Ghana every summer, surnames are the primary indicator of diversity.
A well-written, intricately plotted, and sympathetic portrayal of the pressures that some elite college-bound kids experience during senior year. (Fiction. 14-adult)