Synopses & Reviews
"[C]harming and surprising…The work of Admissions is laying down, with wit and care, the burden James assumed at 15, that she — or any Black student, or all Black students — would manage the failures of a racially illiterate community…The best depiction of elite whiteness I've read." New York Times
A Most Anticipated Book by Vogue.com - Parade - Town & Country - Nylon -New York Post - Lit Hub - BookRiot - Electric Literature - Glamour - Marie Claire - Publishers Weekly - Bustle - Fodor's Travel - Business Insider - Pop Sugar - InsideHook - SheReads
Early on in Kendra James' professional life, she began to feel like she was selling a lie. As an admissions officer specializing in diversity recruitment for independent prep schools, she persuaded students and families to embark on the same perilous journey she herself had made — to attend cutthroat and largely white schools similar to The Taft School, where she had been the first African-American legacy student only a few years earlier. Her new job forced her to reflect on her own elite education experience, and to realize how disillusioned she had become with America's inequitable system.
In Admissions, Kendra looks back at the three years she spent at Taft, chronicling clashes with her lily-white roommate, how she had to unlearn the respectability politics she'd been raised with, and the fall-out from a horrifying article in the student newspaper that accused Black and Latinx students of being responsible for segregation of campus. Through these stories, some troubling, others hilarious, she deconstructs the lies and half-truths she herself would later tell as an admissions professional, in addition to the myths about boarding schools perpetuated by popular culture.
With its combination of incisive social critique and uproarious depictions of elite nonsense, Admissions will resonate with anyone who has ever been The Only One in a room, dealt with racial microaggressions, or even just suffered from an extreme case of homesickness.
"[James] offers sharp-witted insight, incisive reflections and an intense indictment of the cutthroat world of elite prep schools." Parade
"The book is, not incidentally, an excellent memoir. James is unsparing and hilarious about her adolescent foibles, her outré fashion choices and insistence on telling everyone about her hobby of writing erotic fan fiction." Los Angeles Times
"James' social commentary and sparkling wit shine throughout this absorbing and insightful coming-of-age memoir." Booklist
"[A]n eye-opening examination of race, class, and privilege in America." Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Kendra James was a founding editor at Shondaland.com where she wrote and edited work for two years. She has been heard and seen on NPR and podcasts including "Thirst Aid Kit," "Three Swings," "Star Trek: The Pod Directive," "The Canon," and "Al Jazeera." Her writing has been published widely from Elle, Marie Claire, Women's Health Magazine, Lenny, The Verge, Harpers, Catapult, and The Toast, among others.
Kendra James on PowellsBooks.Blog
Early on in Kendra James’ professional life, she began to feel like she was selling a lie. As an admissions officer specializing in diversity recruitment for independent prep schools, she persuaded students and families to embark on the same perilous journey she herself had made...