|AUTHOR: Rahul Kanakia|
PUBLICATION DATE: August 2, 2016
GENRE: realistic fiction
SETTING: present-day, California
GIVE IT TO: high school seniors
SUMMARY: On paper, Reshma is the perfect applicant for Stanford University. She's on-track to be her high school's Valedictorian. She's got tons of extra-curricular activities, and now she's even scored a literary agent. But when a teacher accuses Reshma of plagiarism, Reshma must fight back--hard--for her future.
REVIEW: This is one odd book. Well-written with interesting characters, Enter Title Here was interesting enough that I read it in one sitting. A couple of parts made me laugh out loud, and another part made me gasp. Reshma's story is interesting and probably needs to be told in today's world. I'm sure there are high school students out there who are just like Reshma, who will identify with her struggle to make it to the top of the top. *shivers*
But Reshma herself is a horrible person who delights in "one-upping" anyone who stands in the way of her goals. Even worse than that, she seeks to tear people down when she feels violated. She goes so far as to sue her school when something doesn't go her way, kind of hypocritical when you consider she herself regularly plagiarizes and is addicted to Adderol. She cries racism when she disagrees with a teacher and drags the teacher and the school through the mud. She should be a lawyer, not a writer.
So I didn't like Reshma, and I doubt I was supposed to. But I couldn't help but think Reshma would change by the end. After all, isn't Reshma's character growth the point of the story? While Reshma isn't 100% horrible by the end, she's so ruthless and competitive that she comes off as a scary person to be avoided at all costs. I would seriously run the other direction if she showed up at my workplace or as one of my kids' parents. By the end, she's still far too calculating and has not changed nearly enough.
I also felt like Reshma's Adderol addiction wasn't dealt with properly. She just decided to quit, and that was it? It was that easy? Her parents never knew about it?
Strangely enough, the book I read just prior to this one was Miranda Kenneally's Defending Taylor. That book also featured a senior student obsessed with getting into a university (Yale). She also uses Adderol and is obsessed with studying constantly. Does art reflect life here? Is this something our students are doing to deal with misplaced pressure to be perfect?
THE BOTTOM LINE: This book was weird for me. It's well-written and interesting, which usually warrants a big rating from me. But Reshma is just a huge mess of a girl. I never felt sorry for her or rooted for her or connected with her character.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: No plans to get it unless someone requests it. I'm not sure if my students will identify with Reshma. I sure hope not.
READALIKES: Nothing But the Truth (Avi)--for MS readers; Defending Taylor (Kenneally)
- Overall: 3/5--points for good writing and being interesting
- Creativity: 4/5
- Characters: 4/5--they are well-drawn, even if I didn't like them
- Engrossing: 5/5--read it in one sitting
- Writing: 5/5--can't argue that it's well-written
- Appeal to teens: 3/5--I really don't know if this will appeal to teens. Reshma is off-putting, but some may identify with her.
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 4/5--a little long in the ending, but I was mostly glued to the story
- Language: medium; some F-bombs, but not gratuitous
- Sexuality: medium; some kissing and intercourse, but nothing described in detail
- Violence: none
- Drugs/Alcohol: medium-high; Adderol addiction; teens get drunk at party; one character smokes marijuana