Book Review: WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU by A. E. Kaplan

Drama, mystery, romance, friendships, hacker girls, college admissions, and plot twists– These are just some of the elements that make WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU, one of the most solid contemporaries I’ve read recently.

Mischa Abramavicius attends the prestigious Blanchard High, coming at a great personal cost to her single mother. Mischa has done everything she is supposed to do, keeping up her grades, doing well on tests, getting good letters of recommendation from her teachers, and simply being the most hard-working overachiever. When Admissions Day rolls around, however, things go badly, and in the end, Mischa doesn’t get accepted in any of the colleges she applied to, not even her safety school.

I am so, so happy and feel very pleasantly surprised. I was expecting to enjoy reading We Regret to Inform You, but definitely not love it this MUCH.

Mischa is such a fleshed-out character and I found myself relating to her a lot. When I was in elementary school, all I wanted was to be the best; my hobbies consisted of studying, studying, sucking up to teachers from time to time, and MORE studying. I had no concrete hobbies until I graduated from sixth grade. Seeing Mischa’s struggles trying to find who she was beyond her education hit me very hard, reminding me how much I’d struggled as well back then, trying to fulfill everyone’s expectations. And even besides that, her humor and anxiety about the whole situation was super well-written, and I just know that if I ever was in the same situation as her, I’d panic in the exact same way. I really loved reading about her.

But the fun part about this book, is that it doesn’t only revolve around Mischa, it also revolves around her best friend Nate, and the group of hacker girls that end up helping her in figuring out how the hell she didn’t get in anywhere, not even Paul Revere.

I can safely say that the rest of the characters were just as developed as Mischa, and I was living. There are a lot of love interests who, yeah, they’re cute, but they end up jumbled up in the same, old pile of other love interests who were sweet but not memorable enough. That is SO not the case with Nathaniel Miller, my precious little cinnamon bun worthy of everything in this planet. First, he was such a diverse romantic interest, being bisexual, Jewish, and having severely suffered from anxiety and depression. The casual ways in which he talked about his sexuality and dating really touched me, and I think that rep was very good. Second, he cared so deeply about Mischa, I was rooting for them since the start of the novel. Lucky me, their romance became something so pure, wholesome, and beautiful, I’m speechless. Oh, and the consent and communication. A+.

I’m a bit ashamed to say this, but a part of me was already prepared for the hacker girls to be pretty stereotypical; nerds wearing big-ass glasses and had acne. I sincerely want to apologize, because Emily, Bebe, and Shira, in no way ever deserve to be considered average. I mean, obviously they were smart, 90% of people at Blanchard were geniuses, but WOW. Their minds. Their determination was somehow also motivating? I’m not very sure, but I stan the Ophelia Syndicate. (Oh, let me not forget the meaning behind their name and business cards??? I died.)

The most interesting thing about this book is how it doesn’t rely on the melo-dramatic to have a good, entertaining plot. I would dare say it’s captivating. Many times I felt like it would take the obvious turn, but hell NO, it had so many incredible plot twists that left me breathless. That ending still has me reeling. Not only that, but it also explores the pressure of parental expectations, the stress and anxiety of college admissions, mental health (more specifically, a very important conversation on depression), wealth issues and struggling with money, and also, how fishy and sketchy private schools can be when it comes to money. True story.

It is the most perfect blend of drama and mystery, with sprinkles of fantastic family dynamics, romance, friendships, and irritating school faculty members, plus a dash of self-discovery, Einstein-like brains, and the most hysterical situations that provide the best kind of build-up.

My only critique would be the dialogue formatting. I thought the dialogue itself was very good, but at times, I really struggled figuring out which character was saying what. There were even instances when I had to go back and reread lines because I was just really confused. However, what I read was an ARC copy, so I’m crossing my fingers that it gets improved on in the final version.

We Regret to Inform You was definitely a ride, in the best way possible. It has so many layers to it and I believe it has something to deliver and offer for everyone.

RATING: 4.25 OUT OF 5 STARS

We Regret to Inform You by A. E. Kaplan is out now. You can snag it via Amazon or support your local bookstore via Indiebound.

Mischa Abramavicius is a walking, talking, top-scoring, perfectly well-rounded college application in human form. So when she’s rejected not only by the Ivies, but her loathsome safety school, she is shocked and devastated. All the sacrifices her mother made to send her to prep school, the late nights cramming for tests, the blatantly resume-padding extracurriculars (read: Students for Sober Driving) … all that for nothing.

As Mischa grapples with the prospect of an increasingly uncertain future, she questions how this could have happened in the first place. Is it possible that her transcript was hacked? With the help of her best friend and sometimes crush, Nate, and a group of eccentric techies known as “The Ophelia Syndicate,” Mischa launches an investigation that will shake the quiet community of Blanchard Prep to its stately brick foundations.

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