Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age level: 14 and up
# of pages: 320 p.
Three intelligent best friends enter into a bet that they can get anyone into Harvard. Max wants to do the bet for the substantial monetary prize. Eric does it to prove that the college applications system is flawed. Schwarz does it because he always does what he is told. The opposing team chooses a deadbeat slacker (Clay) from the senior class and they all get to work. First of all, they have to plan how to get Clay a great score on his SATs. Then, they need to train him for his college interview. Finally, they need to fix his current transcript. The entire time, though, as things continue to go wrong they can’t help but feel like they are being sabotaged. Plus, Eric starts to have second thoughts as he begins dating a girl who desperately wants to get into Harvard. He worries that if they do succeed in getting Clay in that will mean that one deserving person who would have gotten in will now be rejected. He begins to wonder which is more important: fairness or exposing a flawed system.
This fun story follows the many ups and downs as the characters navigate this difficult task. Obviously, this is a fictional story and in no way a how to manual for getting someone into an Ivy League school. At times the language can be a bit strong, but these are teenage boys and therefore the dialogue feels realistic. As the boys begin to think about their own futures it becomes clear that they are as confused as every other teenage student, despite their high IQs. A smart read about students who have high aspirations, but do not always know how to best use their intelligence.