Cover Image: Girls with Bright Futures

Girls with Bright Futures

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For most people, Varsity Blues was a movie featuring the former star of Dawson’s Creek. But in 2019, “Varsity Blues” became a criminal case, snaring corporate executives and B and C list celebrities in a cheating scheme to ensure their offspring got into colleges that would otherwise pass on them. It was an eye-opening reveal that even the wealthiest parents were convinced that only a top-rated college would guarantee their children’s future, and that they had to cheat to get them in. 

If the wealthy have to cheat, what hope do normal people have? 

For the rest of the review, click on the link below.
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Girls with Bright Futures by Tracy Dobmeier; Wendy Katzman.   I didn't think that I would enjoy reading a book filled with ruthless, backstabbing, wealthy elitists, however the story proved to be quite addicting.  Spot on characterizations, a bit of a mystery, tons of drama, emotional outbursts, humor, and even a moral to the story even if it is presented in a satirical fashion.  If you have an Alicia in your life hopefully there is also a Maren.    

Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
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Girls With Bright Futures by Tracy Dobmeier & Wendy Katzman is an adult mystery thriller novel set in Seattle. Three women. Three daughters. And a promise that they'll each get what they deserve.

Tech giant Alicia turns to her fortune and status to fight for her reluctant daughter's place at the top. Kelly, a Stanford alum, leverages her PTA influence and insider knowledge to bulldoze the path for her high-strung daughter.

Maren, Alicia and Winnie, three slots but only one can get to the top. Just when the admissions are due, a student has a fatal accident. well, was is just a coincidence or a conspiracy? The parents are at cutthroats with each other and will do anything to make their child reach the top.

I enjoyed reading this book. This was a fast paced book with a lot of thought provoking scenes and statements that makes the book more fun. The book has power, greed, privilege, and many more things. I liked the mother's point of view as well. The book was gripping and unputdownable once the story picks up.
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Thank You NetGalley and Publisher for sending me eARC in exchange for a honest opinion.
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Buckle up for this wild ride!

I am not usually a fan of the 'rich people behaving badly' trope, but this one sucked me in from page 1.

Word is out..only one student from an elite prep school will be accepted to Stanford. Alllll the crazy competitive parents show up! They will do any and everything to give their kid the edge---bribery, stalking, inciting text messages sent from a burner phone, a hit & run ?!?!

This book frightened me and here's why: I wanted to believe this outrageous behavior was, well, fiction. But we have only to look at the headlines to know it's all too real.

The authors may have exaggerated some of these characters and their actions, or not, but they raced us to a satisfying conclusion. Along the way are some wicked smart observations about privilege, power and excess.

Thank you to @netgalley @bookmarked @katzndobs for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Just wow. These moms (and some dads) are (escuse me for saying this) Cray-cray.  Geez. It was sort of interesting, it didn`t have me guessing and all the college talk almost gave me a headache. Everything resolved around it.. ouf. It must be tiredsome to be those moms.
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Every mother dreams of a bright future for their kid, but what happens when they go too far and things get out of control? This book is a perfect case of wealthy moms behaving badly. As the students at an elite prep school in Seattle prepare to submit their early admissions college applications the moms up the ante and schemes and scandals rock the school community to its core. ⁣
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If you loved Big Little Lies, this is the high school senior version. Three mothers will do whatever it takes to ensure that their kid gets the last coveted spot at Stanford. Just when you think there's a line that the mom's won't cross, prepare to be astounded as they do 𝗮𝗻𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 to get ahead. This read is full of lies, scandals, scheming, and all the backstabbing. ⁣
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I really enjoyed this one! I had recently read Admission (fictionalized account of the college admissions scandal) and I much preferred that this was told from the mother's perspectives instead of the student's. I want to say that it's completely bonkers that some mothers would go to these lengths - but after the real-life scandal broke anything is possible! ⁣
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Girls with Bright Futures was gifted to me by @bookmarked and it is a total page-turner! What happens when a group of entitles parents are all fighting to get their kids into the most prestigious universities? ⁣Back stabbing, jealousy and doing anything to get heir kids ahead. I found myself shocked with what people were willing to do but not so shocked that every page of this book could not be true! However, this book is more than just a fast paced race to the finish. It has heart, emotion and had me routing for the underdog. I read this book and listened as well- I couldn’t put it down! My favorite read of this year so far!
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It’s college admissions season at an elite prep school in the Seattle area, where three hopeful students compete for one spot into Stanford. While the girls are the ones applying, their mothers are the real competitors. Told in alternating perspectives between the three mothers, this book explores themes of pride, parental expectations, family relations, class dynamics and a good ole dose of Wealthy People Behaving Badly.
In some ways, this book was what I expected - suburban drama, entitled rich people stopping at nothing to get their way - but it was also much more... it was fast-paced and included mystery elements that almost made it feel like a thriller in some spots.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this book! It was very entertaining and fun to read!
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This immediately sucked me in and I had to know what happened.  Although it wasn't inventive, it was definitely drama filled if you like reading about he battle between parents trying to get their children into college.  I enjoyed it a lot and found it quite realistic as well.  I just ached for the kids, though ... 

Girls with Bright Futures came out earlier this month on February 2, 2021 and you can purchase HERE.  

Maren Pressley had walked the halls of Seattle's Elliott Bay academy multiple times per week for the past six-plus years, though ordinarily she did so in her role as Alicia's personal assistant, fulfilling the multitude of volunteer commitments her boss had no intention of doing herself. In fact, Maren could probably count on two hands the number of times she appeared on campus simply as Winnie's mom. Unlike most of the other EBA moms, Maren had precious little free time, and when she did manage to carve out a few minutes for herself, she was loath to spend them sticking her nose in Winne's academic business. Her daughter had that well under control.
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I thought this book was exceptionally well done. While I wouldn’t classify it as a thriller, as I’ve seen it shelved, it was dramatic, gripping, infuriating in some portions, and as the real-life academics scandal proves, probably in some pocket of the world, realistic. I didn’t always love the different points of views –specifically Kelly wasn’t that interesting, but Maren and Alicia’s portions really kept you reading.

Edit: I keep thinking back to this book. Being a mother, looking back on how difficult it is to raise a child, and wanting to give them everything you can. Maren's story keeps resonating with me while thinking about Alicia and the Alicias of the world keeps angering me. I think any story that can continue to haunt you the way this book has haunted me deserves a special place on a shelf. Even though the end isn't I think what I had hoped for, it still is a good one.
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Girls with Bright Futures is an almost comical look at what happens when pride and greed take over.  While trying vying for top college spots, a group of parents will stop at nothing to secure their child's place.  That includes backstabbing, cheating, lying and perhaps even trying to take out the competition all together.
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What a great story! 
This book was in the thriller vein, but is very realistic. I think we truly have an issue in our society with helicopter parents controlling and overstepping in their children's lives. This is a fictional depiction of issues I know occurs daily in the college bound teenager population.
Three young women are the focus in this story as they all apply and hope to get into Stamford college. There are only limited amounts of spots available, and when that facts becomes well know these parents go to embarrassing length to ensure their kid claims the spot. 
There were so many fantastic side plots and event in this story. 
They go so far as to blackmail other children, send anonymous messages to the recruitment office and one girl even gets hit by a car. It was insane, but not that far fetched. 
I do think some of the plot events got a little tedious, and I wasn't sure how they were all going to come together. 
The authors did a great job concluding the story. I was very happy to see Maren find some closure and really stick it to her awful boss, Alicia. 
I was very entertained by the story and enjoyed listening to it on audio! This is a great one because its not too hard to follow and the events keep you engaged and listening!
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If this book doesn't prove the cutthroat world of applying to colleges, I don't think anything else would. 
This book centers around three sets of mothers and daughters, all of whom attend a prestigious private school that prides itself on getting students into the Ivy League Plus schools and these mothers will stop at nothing to make sure that happens. The problem is that they all want their daughters to go to Stanford, and Stanford has announced they are only taking one more student from the school and none of them will stop until those results are announced. However, there are secrets abounding and of course they are about to come out.

This book was so interesting. I found that I was immediately intrigued by the concept and how all of the relationships between the mothers went both with each other and with their daughters.  The book is full of drama, secrets, sabotage, and makes me so glad that this wasn't my experience.
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Girls with Bright Futures, is the debut novel by Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman. These two women have been friends for most of their adult lives, since settling in Seattle 20 years ago, so, when the idea of writing a book together crossed their minds, they went for it. In a recent interview they said that the "original" book they thought they would write, was NOT this book .... but after countless rejections of their manuscript, and 5 years of brainstorming together, Girls with Bright Futures is the result, and (IMO), it could not be more on point with the times. 

The book tells the story of 3 very bright girls in the same class at the private Seattle high school, Elliot Bay Academy. These 3 girls were competing for the one and only (outstanding)  "early admission" to Stanford University, When the #moms find out from the school guidance counsellors (who are privy to the student's college aspirations), that there is only 1 spot AND 3 applicants, these 3 very "different' moms PANIC. Suddenly, there is nothing they won't do to ensure, it's their daughter, that nabs the spot .... the lengths they go to will keep you flipping the pages ....

Of course, the lengths that people will go to to get their kids into their "#legacy (dream university) is now known to the world from the recent scandal #operationvarsityblues. But, @katzndobs had their fingers on the pulse years before the scandal broke, so, don't push this book aside because you feel you know the story. This author duo, @katzndobs, have spent so much time creating this story, putting attention to the important details, that while their story is (extremely) scandalous (maybe beyond what may truly happen ...), and maybe a bit exaggerated (the rich maybe do not behave quite SO badly), and also very FUNNY, deep down, so much of the story is TRUE. Parents do worry about their kids futures, and rightly so. But the competition leads to tension between parents (even within a single family forget about between parents of classmates)! In addition this anxiety has created an entire industry surrounding college admissions (the college industrial complex). The experience of seeing their own kids  through college admissions is what inspired @katzndobs to write #girlswithbrightfutures. Hopefully, the book leads to many lively discussions around dinner tables, or, on #zoom.

One final thing, these ingenious women actually created their own diagnosis for the mothers in this book, called parental obsessive college syndrome, PCOS, in which parents of high school students suffer repeated paranoid thoughts or sensations concerning college admissions, compelling them to act in ways they would rather not admit. If severe and left untreated, POCS can destroy a person's capacity to function at work, maintain meaningful relationships, or even lead a comfortable existence at home. This is a MADE UP DISEASE, and don't worry, @katzndobs says its a fog and it eventually lifts! 

Thank you  @netgalley and @sourcebooks for my complimentary e-ARC of #girlswithbrightfutures. I am so inspired by these women! Pick it up! #5stars.
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Reminiscent of Big Little Lies, this is the story of a wealthy private school and the lengths the parents will go to get their children into the top colleges. Girls with Bright Futures revolves around three families and the competition to claim the one last spot to Stanford. If you were interested in the college admissions scandal or love rich people behaving badly (a favorite trope of mine), then this one is for you. The story starts with a near-fatal accident and then goes back in time to the events leading up to the early admissions deadline and the accident. There is also a parallel plot line centered around the main character, Maren, and the secret she is keeping from her daughter. This part of the story may be triggering to some readers, and one of the scenes in particular was hard to read. Thought provoking and entertaining, this book had me hooked from the beginning and kept me guessing throughout. I think this will make a great read for book clubs!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley for the advanced copy to review.
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At Elliot Bay Academy, three high school senior girls fight for one spot at the prestigious Ivy League. Alicia, mother of Brooke, CEO of a huge tech company, and prominent Standford University donor, wants her daughter to go to the Ivy League and will do just about anything to get her there. Kelly, mother of Krissie, is a stay-at-home mother who always has an ear out for everyone’s plans and keeps meticulous notes, knows her daughter’s number one choice is Standford and will go to extreme lengths to ensure it. Maren, mother of Winnie, and assistant to Alicia, knows her daughter will be crushed if she doesn’t get it. When the three families find out that they’re fighting for one spot, things get tense; rumors fly, accusations are made, and someone will get hit by a car. 
	This tense thriller is for fans of Big Little Lies and will have readers rushing to find out what happens next.
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Girls With Bright Futures by Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman
Rating  4 / 5 Stars
Publication Date - 2/2/2021

** Thank you to Netgalley, Sourcebooks, and of course, Tracy and Wendy, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Let me start out by saying, this book surprised me! It came at a great time - well, not so great in general, but interesting as we are dealing with the fallout of a real college admission scandal. While this guy was a bit corny at times, I adored how over the top it was. There are times when you want to pretend that all of this is true right? The way the parents and the girls are written about is great. I remember laughing out loud as the one girl tried to tell her parent about what happens when initials are *cough* down there *cough*. I was happy to see the one deserving mother and daughter win in the end, but I did enjoy seeing how different life situations are all equally discussed and represented. 

I loved how there was one mystery that drove the suspense of the book. It kept me invested until the end among the corny and funny.
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This book was hard to put down once I started it. The seniors at an exclusive private school are applying to colleges and their parents are going crazy trying to get them in the school of their choice (parents choice in some cases). This book also takes a bit of a mysterious turn and I really liked that.
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This was a fun, fast read about the parents of seniors at a prestigious Seattle prep school doing anything it takes to get their kids into top colleges. Reading about the hijinks of the parents (and teens, to some extent) was entertaining though disturbing. A few moments seemed a bit over the top but, sadly, I can see a lot of this happening. It was fun to read about some the glitzy lifestyles and people's attempts at power plays, etc. Certainly not a serious, literary read but a good, gossipy read.

Thanks to NetGalley for the copy!
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Elliott Bay Academy is one of the top private schools in the Seattle area and the school prides itself on the fact that it's students get into top-tier colleges. When Stanford University lets the school leadership know that since they've already accepted several student athletes from EBA for the next year, that only one more student from EBA will be accepted at Standford. This sets off a fierce competitions between 3 senior girls and their moms. The narrative shifts between the 3 moms: Maren, Alicia and Kelly. Alicia is the CEO of a large tech company and is definitely cut throat. Her daughter is not so cut throat. Maren is a younger, single mom who works as Alicia's personal assistant. Her daughter is the top of her class and has dreamed of going to Stanford since she was young. Kelly is a Stanford alum, head of the PTA and a bit of a gossip. Her daughter is super anxioys about the whole deal.

The book starts out with Maren rushing to the ER after she learns that her daughter was injured in a hit & run accident. The story then flashes back to earlier in the school year when all this intense competition started. There's lots of backstabbing, sneaky maneuvers, rumor mills, people digging up secrets etc. The book reminded me of both Big Little Lies and The Gifted School. It also, for me, brought to mind the college admissions scandal that has been on the news that past couple of years. Oh, what lengths some parents will go to in order to get their kids into college!! It was one of those books that I had to work hard to put down. I split my time between the eBook and the audiobook and enjoyed it in both formats.
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