A little while ago I was sent a copy of the new book, Dangerous Admissions, by Jane O'Connor and asked if I would be willing to read and review it. I'm always happy to try out a new book and I was very curious about this one since it's the first adult novel by one of my favorite children's writers. Jane O'Connor is the author of the Fancy Nancy books - a hilarious look into a little girl who tries to get her family to do everything as fancy as she does. And she also writes a series that my girls and I all love - the Nina, Nina Ballerina books. So I read her first foray into the world of adult literature with a great deal of anticipation.
The book centers on Chaps, a fictional, private, "college prep" academy where the 'elite' children in Manhatten attend with the intention of making it into the most prestigious colleges. It's written mostly from the point of view of Miranda "Rannie" Bookman, a divorced mother of two teenagers (one at Yale and the other still currently attending Chaps) who recently lost her 10-year job as an editor because of a missing letter 'l' from the title of a Nancy Drew book - supposed to read, The Secret of the Old Clock. Right away, the author draws you into the lives of her characters with humor and you feel as if you can relate to the struggles that Rannie has gone through. Although her children are mostly grown and mine are still small, I felt that I knew where she was coming from, especially about the innate maternal urge to protect your children, no matter what. Other characters whose points of view appear in the book are Rannie's son, Nate, and the object of his teenaged crush, Olivia Werner - both students at Chaps.
It's Olivia who in the very first chapter, discovers the body of Lawrence "Tut" Tutweiler, the school's Director of College Admissions. And the plot takes off right from the very beginning with multiple possible scenarios of who could have killed him and why. Rannie finds herself drawn into trying to discover the truth, especially since her son is one of the leading suspects. The reader learns clues through interacting with the three separate points of view and only concretely learns the identity of the killer when they do. Without giving anything away for those who wish to read the book, I can say that the ending was both thrilling and satisfying and that Ms. O'Connor does a very good job at wrapping up loose ends (something which is a pet peeve of mine if not done well).
I enjoyed this book. It was a fairly easy read and at 353 pages (at least in the paperback version I have), I didn't find it to be too cumbersome to either tote around or squeeze into a diaper bag or purse. I didn't read it in one sitting (with work and 3 kids, I hardly had time to read more than a few pages some days!) but it was rather easy to get back into the story each time that I was able to pick it up. I did find a point around the middle of the book where my initial interest in the central mystery of the story and the characters' lives had dulled and I mostly lost the desire to open the book back up for several days. However, when I finally did, I immediately hit the excitement in the second half of the book and did actually read the rest in one sitting today while Becca napped and Abby and Hannah had quiet time. I'm glad that I had time to finish it because I don't think I would've been able to put it down easily by that point.
Which is why I'm writing this right now instead of doing my contest round-up today... :)
All in all though - I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good murder mystery, with a bit of romance thrown in as well. And I look forward to seeing other novels from Jane O'Connor in the future.
Are you interested in reading and owning your own copy of Dangerous Admissions? I'm giving away my slightly read copy to one lucky reader! It's hard to me to part with books but I'm making an exception in this case because I'd really like to give someone else the chance to enjoy reading this one. If you're interested, just leave a comment below and let me know the title of the book you're currently reading or the last book that you read (not including kids books, LOL!). And if you want an extra entry, just link up or help spread the word, but that isn't required. The contest will end at midnight Eastern time, next Friday (December 14th) and the winner will be notified the next day. Only those with US shipping addresses please - sorry!
And keep an eye out - I'll have a couple more book reviews coming in the future as well... :)