I was looking for a quick, fluffy read to devour before Harry Potter arrived and Admissions by Nancy Lieberman fit the bill quite nicely. I guess this is considered part of the "mommy-lit" (as opposed to "chick-lit") genre as the majority of characters are late-30s well-heeled Manhattan-ites frantically negotiating the roller coaster ride of private high school admissions. In this world anticipation isn't about being seen in the right places with the beautiful people, but instead about receiving a phone call or an email from an aloof and/or toad-like admissions officer. Yeah, it sounds about as enjoyable as visiting the Whole Foods in White Plains on a Saturday morning, but it's actually rather entertaining and realistic without being overblown.
Headmistress Pamela Rothschild isn't quite as evil as Miranda Priestly (the Queen B from The Devil Wears Prada) but more than a bit buffoonish and unbelievable. The children in the story are well drawn – particularly Julian , the budding fashion designer whose father wants to send him to "Manover Academy" to "straighten him out," and Zoe, who grapples with issues of race and economic advantage as she tries to decide which type of school she most belongs in. Ideal for the beach, the morning commute, or while waiting for your delayed flight to wherever.