This is another one that I saw on Goodreads awhile ago, fell in love with the cover, thought I had added to my tbr, and read with the hopes of taking it off my list only to see it wasn’t there in the first place. Still, I’m glad I read it because I ended up really liking it!
Mischa Abramavicius is a walking, talking, top-scoring, perfectly well-rounded college application in human form. So when she’s rejected not only by the Ivies, but her loathsome safety school, she is shocked and devastated. All the sacrifices her mother made to send her to prep school, the late nights cramming for tests, the blatantly resume-padding extracurriculars (read: Students for Sober Driving) … all that for nothing.
As Mischa grapples with the prospect of an increasingly uncertain future, she questions how this could have happened in the first place. Is it possible that her transcript was hacked? With the help of her best friend and sometimes crush, Nate, and a group of eccentric techies known as “The Ophelia Syndicate,” Mischa launches an investigation that will shake the quiet community of Blanchard Prep to its stately brick foundations.
Yeah, it’s pretty obvious that I read this based solely off the first paragraph of the summary and the cover, because I didn’t see the hacking plotline coming at all. I loved the direction the book went and am so glad this was about more than not getting into college.
I love the messages in this book: you’re more than your schoolwork, your grade, your GPA, and your college; people are quick to judge, so maybe take a step back before you draw conclusions about someone; mental health is very important and it’s OK to talk openly about it. There’s a lot more but these ones really stand out, especially the first one.
I wasn’t the most obsessive about school but I definitely spent a lot of time studying, doing extracurriculars (mostly because I was actually interested, not just for my college applications), worried when I didn’t get an A, and busted my butt with all AP classes senior year. I enjoy school, I love learning, but the stress and pressure does get to you! I could really relate to Mischa’s struggles with and feelings about school throughout this book.
I think the characters themselves could have been more developed. The relatability I just mentioned made Mischa the most developed character in my mind, and the snippets in the book about Mischa’s family and their history were incredibly interesting and made everything feel more personal, which also helped me feel closer to her. The secondary characters, namely the members of the Ophelia Syndicate, were amazing but also felt kind of glazed over. Nate was my favorite character but even he felt somewhat unfinished. Still, I liked the roles all the characters played and thought they felt real enough for the story.
Speaking of the story, the plot took a lot of surprise twists and turns, though if I had actually read the summary I wouldn’t have been so surprised lol. The extent to which this hacking went was insane and I loved the conclusion. I don’t want to say much and spoil anything but it was great.
Though the characters might have been lacking in some respects, the plotline was interesting and the messages were important. I would definitely recommend this book, especially to current high school students and those of us who put a lot of effort into school. It’s nice to see that, while effort is great, it’s OK to not pressure yourself to be the best at everything.