Book Review: The Last Applicant – Rebecca Hanover
Audrey Singer revels in her position as the admissions director of an exclusive Manhattan private school. Parents cater to her whims and desires, desperate to give their children an edge. Audrey’s power is undeniable; privilege comes with the territory. Her perfect marriage completes the glossy picture of her life.
Until the arrival of the neurotic, vulnerable Sarah Price. Determined to get her son into the city’s most coveted kindergarten class, Sarah inserts herself into Audrey’s world, testing boundaries at every turn. For Sarah, everything Audrey has is a potential target: her job, her friends…even her marriage.
But what seems to be another ploy by an overachieving mother takes a dark and ominous turn. Sarah seems to be hiding secrets of her own. Are her designs on Audrey’s life purely about getting what she wants for her son?
Or is there something more sinister at play in this cutthroat game?
Book Review: The Last Applicant – Rebecca Hanover
The Last Applicant
Lake Union Publishing
Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological
The Last Applicant: A true masterpiece of a book. It’s been a long time since I read a thriller that genuinely spooked me. It’s a gripping, suspenseful book exploration of a fresh and uncommon subject, laced with a sinister twist. Hanover skillfully plots the lives of the elite, offering a captivating twist that had me completely engrossed.
This complicated, unsettling story is about obsessive Sarah Price who won’t stop at anything to get her child into a stop at Manhattan’s most prestigious private school’s kindergarten class, which only the nation’s 1% get into.
“Sharply written and deftly plotted, ,The Last Applicant is the best sort of psychological suspense. It hooked me from the first page and kept me guessing until its surprising, satisfying conclusion.” ~ Cristina Alger, ,New York Times, bestselling author of ,Girls Like Us
The book is about Audrey Singer, the admissions director of one such school. Audrey is used to the power and privilege she has by parents fawning over her, just so they can reserve a spot for their children. She seemingly has the perfect life, until Sarah Price, a crazed mother who won’t stop at anything until she gets her child a spot in an exclusive private school in Manhattan, meets her.
It’s like Audrey is in the eye of the storm, Sarah’s fierce determination to secure a spot for her son creates havoc in Audrey’s perfect life, which she has worked hard to curate. Sarah’s audacious tactics cause tensions to rise, and the situation seems to escalate. But that’s not all, Sarah is just not hungry for the spot, she begins to eye Audrey’s job, friends, and even her marriage.
This tale starts as any other parent, wanting what’s best for their child, but takes a dark and ominous turn, as we start to see Sarah’s real intentions unravel, and the games she’s playing with Audrey.
The plot is richly developed, with no stone left unturned, The Last Applicant is full of unexpected twists, that make the reader question if Sarah’s main goal is what it seems like, or if there are more diabolical forces at play. This book is all about the high stakes that the elite encounter over the almost deadly competition there is in the world. This book is a true page-turner as it showcases the reality of the admissions process.
As the plot unfolds, the narrative skillfully explores the depths of human ambition, greed, cheating, deceit, and the lengths to which people will go to protect their privileged status, so their children’s future is secured in our modern world – and it can start at the ripe age of going to kindergarten. Rebeca Hanover skillfully crafts a tale of the truth and reality of the top 1% wealthiest Americans’ seemingly perfect lives.
The pacing of the story keeps the reader engaged without ever feeling a dull moment, the writing is descriptive in a way there is no room to ponder what something truly means, it immerses the reader into realizing the behind-the-scenes of Manhattan’s noble, but also delves into the darker aspects of human nature.
My only minor critique is that I noticed that sometimes the book feels a little rushed⏩, particularly in the latter, where I feel as though the events seem to unfold faster than I would like. However, it makes sense that the fast-paced plot adds to the story’s sense of urgency, which keeps readers eagerly turning the pages.
If you enjoy stories of suspense, power struggles, and psychological intrigue, this book is sure to captivate your imagination. Hanover perfectly displays obsession and suspense as the main dish with secrets as the side in this masterfully created book, which leaves readers wondering about the nature of ambition, and if in a world that is reigned by power, connections, and privilege, what really is the cost of success♀️?
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