Look for The Real Deal: Ravin' Reviews on the last Thursday of every month! 

Hey there you guys, Vanessa here letting you in on a new Real Deal feature called Ravin' Reviews, where my mom and I will each comment on either a book, movie, or piece of music that we think is something that wouldn't be incredibly embarrassing to read, watch, or listen to with your mom.

This week's entry will be on the book Hacking Harvard by Robin Wassarmen.

~*~Vanessa's Take~*~

The book Hacking Harvard by: Robin Wassarmen takes place in Boston, Massachusetts where, of course, Harvard stands over high school students intimidating those who are brave enough to attempt to get in. Over the years things have gone quite smoothly, the same old students getting accepted and the same old getting rejected, that is before three boys, one freshmen in Harvard who goes by the name of Schwartz and his two high school senior friends Eric and Max, begin to question the admission offices ethics and rights to say who is right and who isn't. The book follows the boy's attempt to win a bet by getting a low-life senior, named Clay Porter, through the system and into Harvard to prove that anyone can get in.  This book is an exceptionally wonderful read! It is nothing like those sappy teen novels that make you want hit your head against the nearest coffee table, it is a novel that makes you want to know more to the point where you are staying up till midnight sitting in bed reading (I know you thought that would never happen) and it is also a book that boys and girls could read so it is most definitely not sappy! Plus, Wassarmen adds her own sense of humor into the book giving each character their own colorful personality.
I give this book five stars and two thumbs up! It is a must-read!

Dr. A's POV 🙂

From a Mom's point of view I have found that sharing common interests with your tween an important conduit for communication.  Sometimes those common spots don't fall into our laps, we need to make them happen.  For example, Vanessa likes to read, I like to read.  When I stopped reading out loud to her (I'm pretty our last read-out-loud book was a Harry Potter) we stopped sharing an important part of our lives.

Last summer I noticed Vanessa was reading a lot of what's called YA (Young Adult)  literature and it was all new to me.   On the radio or somewhere I heard mothers and daughters were forming book clubs.  Another book club wasn't in the cards for us (sounds too much like homework) but reading the same book and then discussing it…why not?  Vanessa was raving about a book she just finished and I asked her if I could read it.  It was an eye opener to me to learn the depth of feeling in The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen.  This was not a "children's" book.  It addressed serious issues like recovering from sudden profound loss and hidden hurtful prejudice.  And it had humor, too, and a light, natural sounding voice, making it all go down with ease.  Vanessa and I had fun discussing the characters and the situations they found themselves in, just like in my 'old lady' book club.

I haven't read Hacking Harvard yet; Vanessa lent it to a friend before I could make a grab for it; but I do look forward  to reading it and talking it over with her, especially after reading her review.