The Battle for Big School by Sarah Tucker

Blurb from the back of the book;

There are 50 places at The Oaks, the best grammar school in Letchbury, and 1,000 children applying. Competition is fierce and parents are prepared to do everything and anything to get their child one of the coveted spaces. Close friends Lily, Julie, Karen and househusband Paul aren’t overly concerned. After all, aren’t their children bright and sociable enough? But they’re quickly shaken out of their complacency when enrolment time approaches and turns out to be little more than a rigged lottery, where only the most ruthless hold the cards. Marriages and friendships crumble under the pressure, fake addresses abound and tutors rates soar. As measures get more and more extreme, the four quickly rally their troops and throw themselves into the battle for big school. Initially wary to be in competition with each other, they realise that the only way of out-smarting the rest of the pack is by coming up with a plan. Because getting their kids into The Oaks will demand determination and strategy akin to Mission Impossible …

A very light quick read. If I wasn’t so obsessive about finishing a book once started I definitely would have stopped after a few chapters. I heard an interesting interview on the radio with the author last year which motivated me to pick up this book. Also having been through big school selection fairly recently I thought I would be able to identify with some of the main characters. Unfortunately this was not to be. The main focus of the book is about the organisation of a charity fashion show instigated by a mother to impress the Headmaster of the local grammar school in order to gain preferential admission for her child. In fact that is totally what the book is about. No mention in the blurb. It is so far removed from my reality of parents in the playground being ex top models and successful journalists for example that the average reader might be inclined to switch off as I did. However I am sure there are some readers out there who would enjoy it as it bounds along with gusto and the ending, not so obvious as you would think, is mildly amusing.

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