Around September 1, any home that includes a college-bound senior will find a marked change in emotional atmospheric pressure. Suddenly, seemingly all thoughts of parents and child become consumed with one thing: college applications.

Running the gauntlet of early decision-SATs-AP scores-GPA-essays-extracurriculars-financial aid is enough to send even the heartiest parents running for the Chardonnay. The mothers and fathers in Karen Stabiner's novel, Getting In, are no exception.

5 Kids — 5 Sets of Parents

Stabiner's book charts the life of five very different seniors — two at a huge public school, three at a chi-chi private school, all in southern California — as they attempt to navigate their college applications, acceptances, and rejections while holding on to their sanity. Given equal time are their five very different sets of parents.

Any parent dealing with the college application process will enjoy seeing others struggle with the same challenges they're facing: moody, disaffected teens, financial aid Catch-22s, and the endless waiting. That sense of companionship in and of itself may be sufficient to recommend this book. Stabiner's descriptions are quirky and at times unique, but unfortunately, her writing skill doesn't mask the fact that the entire book — from the hard-working immigrants who will sacrifice everything to send their only daughter to the Ivy League, to the golden boy who sneaks shots of vodka to relieve the pressure — is rife with stereotypes.

Can You Like These People?

The private school kids are over-privileged and under-appreciative. The college admissions adviser is destined for bigger and better things, and (of course) dreams of writing a screenplay or book. The trophy wife is emotionally belittled and invisible. And on and on.

Even worse is the fact that not one set of parents — and not one kid — is the least bit sympathetic. The parents are clueless, remote, or flaky, and the kids are rude, snide, or downright bland. What could have been an interesting investigation of what the college application process is like for the Millennials is, instead, a boring tome that was more difficult to get through than my SAT practice book, 20-odd years ago.

If you are immersed in the college process, you may want to take a look. But then again, if you're living it, do you really want to read about it? And if you're not living it, why bother? Instead, pick up Twilight or the teen angst book du jour, read it, and make an attempt to connect with your kids on their level before it's too late. If the parents in Getting In are anything to go by, that's the best thing you can do to insure your future happiness. After all, college is but four years of your — and your child's — life. Parenthood? Well, that lasts forever.

Got Grown Up Books? Check Out These Reviews: