Saturday, December 8, 2007

Book Review - "Dangerous Admissions"

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!

Good luck!

And keep an eye out - I'll have a couple more book reviews coming in the future as well... :)

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20 wonderful people said...:

tegdirb92 said...

sounds like a really awesome read! I'm going to check this one out! I'm currently reading (when I get time) The Abrahms Daughter series from Beverly Lewis--love it!!

Anna said...

I understand not having time to read more than a few pages at a time. I wonder if it ever gets any better?

It sounds like a good book. Put my name in the hat!

Anna said...

I forgot to tell you what I'm reading!
I'm Currently Reading
By Diana Gabaldon

Also, I linked your giveaway - so you can enter me again!

windycindy said...

Hello! Sounds like a fun book to read and enjoy. Thanks for giving up your copy for a contest. I am currently reading "Christmas Miracles!" Please enter me in your contest. Thanks,Cindi

aBookworm said...

Sounds like such a fun read! Count me in.

I just finished reading 'Odd mom out by Jane Porter'. And I've posted it on my blog here -

angelaandconnor at said...

Im currently reading the first book in the Wilderking series.. its excellent.

Im blogging you now :)

Swapna said...

I'm currently reading The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willing. I'd love to be entered into this contest. E-mail address is skrishna1183 [at] Thanks!

Amanda said...

I would love to read this book! Sounds great.

Diane said...

I am currently reading Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich, who I absolutely love!

ellinghouse said...

awesome giveaway....currently I'm reading "love in the time of Chlora". I hope to finish it tonight so I can start "animal, vegetable, miracle."

hope I win this, I need some good reads this winter! Thanks!

Jason and Caryn said...

I am reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child to try to get my 5 1/2 month old to sleep through the night!

Dodo said...

I am currently reading Arthur Phillip's "The Egyptologist." Great reading! Spooky story, intriguing ending.


ChristiS said...

Sounds like a really good read! Thanks for sharing!

cute said...

I'm reading Hart's Hope.

Paige said...

I would love to read this! I just finished Stately Pursuits by Katie Fforde.

Lesha said...

I'm currently reading "The Other Daughter"

Laura K said...

Please put my name into your book raffle. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting!

blogged ya:

Brooke said...

Finished reading: Admissions (fiction about NYC private schools)

Currently reading: How to Quit Smoking

Please randomly select me!!

Candes said...

Reading Buh Humbug right now. :)