Rummanah Aasi
 Jessica and Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.

For Emily, it’s a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she’s sure she even wants to go to college, but let’s ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. They have to, right?

For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers and Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn’t even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn’t sure she likes herself.

Together with a dozen strangers–and two familiar enemies–Jessica and Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family and old friends along the way. Surprises and secrets threaten their relationship and, in the end, change it forever.

Review: Abi Waxman's I Was Told It Would Get Easier attempts to capture the mother-daughter relationship like the television show Gilmore Girls but does not quite succeed. The book's plot is pretty simple: Jessica Burnstein accompanies her daughter, Emily on a week-long bus tour of top-notch colleges. The two women have a strained relationship and do not meet eye to eye on a lot of things.  Jessica, a successful lawyer and single mother, wants the best for Emily, which includes getting her into a top college. Jessica purchased a pricey package deal to tour big-name colleges up the East Coast from Georgetown to Columbia with all the bells and whistles including the inevitable tension and arguments. 
   Emily is unsure if she wants to go to college and is constantly aware that she is an utter disappointment to her ambitious and workaholic mother. Emily's dialogue tries too hard to be hip, but shes does act like a teenager, pushing her mother away; Jessica does the parent act, managing her emotions without drowning in them. The college tour is not really exciting and features the typical peppy tour guide, hectic schedule, anxious parents, and annoyed kids. Waxman does try to make her story timely with subplots such as a #MeToo sexual harassment incident at Jessica's job and a nod to the college admission scandal at Emily's school in Los Angeles; of course neither of which mother or daughter has shared with the other. There is nothing that wowed me with this book and I did get a few chuckles here and there. Overall an easy read, but it will not leave a lasting impression once you have finished it.  If you wanted to pick up a book by Waxman, skip this one and read The Bookish Life of Nina Hill instead.  

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, crude humor, and sexual situations. Recommended for adults and older teens only.

If you like this book try: Today will be different by Maria Semple
1 Response
  1. Too bad this didn't work because it's not a plot that I've seen before in YA or middle grade literature.

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