Cover image for We regret to inform you
We regret to inform you
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, [2018]
Physical Description:
344 pages ; 22 cm
Target Audience:
HL 600 L
When high-achiever Mischa is rejected from every college she applies to, she teams up with a group of hacker girls to find out who altered her transcript and set things right.
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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.
In her sophomore novel, A. E. Kaplan cranks the humor to full blast, and takes a serious look at the extreme pressure of college admissions.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Mischa Abramavicius, 18, is certain that being the best student at exclusive Blanchard High will open doors to a top college and set her on a path toward a better future. Despite her high test scores and a stellar GPA, however, Mischa is rejected from every school that she applies to, including her safety school. Detecting that someone has purposefully derailed her life, Mischa attempts to get help from her school's dean and college counselor. When no help is forthcoming, she teams up with a group of girl hackers, who call themselves the Ophelias, to find out who might be cruel enough to act against her. In her sophomore effort, Kaplan (Grendel's Guide to Love and War) takes on the highly stressful world of college admissions. Written with humor and heart, her cautionary tale is a reminder that students are more than their GPA and test scores-or, as one Ophelia puts it, "That avatar is not you." Ages 12-up. Agent: Hannah Bowman, Liza Dawson Assoc. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

High school junior Mischa Abramaviciuss single, second-generation immigrant mother works hard to pay her prep-school tuition, so Mischa works hard building her resume to get to the Ivy League. Her dreams, however, are thwarted when shes rejected everywhere. Mischa investigates this seeming academic injustice while grappling mightily with the shame of failure. She narrates with a sharp, sarcastic voice that portrays her desperate panic in a humorous and sympathetic light: My prospects have moved into the sewerthe sewers too nice. I need an uglier metaphorA septic tank. My future resides in a septic tank. How am I supposed to tell my mother my future is in a septic tank? Aside from her work ethic, Mischa is a bit of a blank slate, and as she gets to know herself without the pressure of academic achievement, readers get to know her as well. With the help of three hackers who operate under the guise of an all-girls STEM club, Mischa eventually uncovers scandalous administrative application-tampering. But while shes putting clues together, Mischa tries living a life that really interests herand honest conversations, kissing her best male friend, and skydiving prove so much more satisfying than passionless striving. An overachiever learns theres more to life than grades: its a familiar theme, but one that is buoyed here by thoughtful observations on class, ambition, and the value and hazards of educationas well as by an engaging mystery. jessica tackett macdonald (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Mischa Abramavicius understood the college admission process. Get perfect grades and SAT scores, send out the applications, and wait for the acceptance letters. But when she gets rejected by every college she applies to, from the Ivies to her safety school, she knows something has gone wrong. Even as she works to uncover a plot at her high school that goes way beyond her own college crisis, she begins to wonder, if she isn't a college-bound overachiever, who is she? This funny novel offers an honest look at the pressure high-schoolers feel to succeed. Kaplan (Grendel's Guide to Love and War, 2017) does a great job of building tension around the private-school plot and the fierce group of girl coders who help Mischa uncover it, while also balancing a compelling romantic subplot. Reminiscent of the rejection-sparked identity crisis of Laurie Halse Anderson's Catalyst (2002), Mischa's story will draw readers in with her unique, yet totally relatable quest to find out not just who she is but whether that's who she wants to be.--Horan, Molly Copyright 2010 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-A humorous beginning turns spy thriller as Mischa and her high school friends delve into the mystery of her unanimous college rejection. Mischa seems to have it all planned: attend a private school on scholarship, join every club, have stellar test scores, get into a great college. When rejection letters arrive not only from her reach schools, but also from her safety school, panic sets in. Something is definitely wrong. With the help of Ophelia One-a group of girls dedicated to spying and hacking-Mischa discovers that someone is truly out to get her. Shady Instagram posts appear on her account and threats are made demanding that she back off. When it seems as if it's all too much and she's ready to give up, Mischa discovers a disturbing fact. Not only were her scores and recommendation letters doctored to look bad, her boyfriend's scores and 16 others' scores were doctored to look good. Sell this book as a mystery thriller not as humor, as the comedy diffuses fairly quickly. Students in the midst of college applications will empathize with Mischa's stress. -VERDICT Purchase for medium to large collections.-Lisa Ehrle, Falcon Creek Middle School, CO © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

An entertaining twist on a familiar theme: A high-achieving teen figures out who she really is at heart despite the pressures of the high school rat race.Mischa Abramavicius, an overachieving private school student and self-described "college-admissions machine," has the shock of her life when she is rejected from every single institution she applies to despite her very strong record. She struggles to hides the truth from everyoneespecially her mother, whose single, working-mom status differentiates Mischa, who is on scholarship, from her wealthier classmates. But when she discovers that her application was tampered with, she joins forces with her best friend, Nate Miller, and a group of hacker misfitsEmily Sreenivasan, Bebe Tandoh, and Shira Gastmanto investigate further. Their explosive discovery necessitates some hard decisions, but Mischa comes through in the end. Along the way she learns things about herself and who she really is beyond "College Applicant Mischa." While Mischa's insights seem pat at times, the fast-paced plot with its well-crafted climax is full of enough surprise twists to keep the suspense and interest high. Mischa is white and Jewish, and with the exception of Bebe, who goes to visit relatives in Ghana every summer, surnames are the primary indicator of diversity.A well-written, intricately plotted, and sympathetic portrayal of the pressures that some elite college-bound kids experience during senior year. (Fiction. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.



The morning I started to suspect that Ms. Pendleton's equation had some holes in it, I was late for school. Mom and I were on the way to the Metro; we share a car, and on the days I have stuff to do after school I drop her off to take the train into Arlington. We're a well-oiled machine in the morning; to get both of us where we need to be on time, we have to go out the front door by 7:10. This gives us fifteen extra minutes of wiggle room in case we hit traffic, or someone spills coffee on themselves and has to change again, or whatever.   Mom was driving so I'd have time to eat a bagel before I had to switch seats at the station, and with my free hand I was fiddling with the radio, bouncing back and forth between the morning news, which my mom wanted to listen to, and the music I was listening to during the commercials. I wasn't really 100% awake yet; I hoped she was, because she was driving, and then there was a huge clunk followed by rattle-rattle-rattle, and then my mother looked in the rearview mirror and said, "Holy crap." I turned and looked, and there were sparks coming from the back of the car.   "Pull over," I said, dropping my bagel. "Pull over, pull over, WE ARE ON FIRE."   "I'm working on it," she said through gritted teeth. "It's not on fire. Yet."   "There are sparks!"   "I'm aware of the sparks! Can I get to the right?"   My mom is always doing this thing where I have to copilot and tell her if she can merge. I have no idea what she does when I'm not in the car. "It's fine," I said. "Just go. Go. Go like you mean it. No, wait. Wait!" This last bit was because she'd waited too long, and there was a truck bearing down on us from the right lane.   "You said I could go!" she shouted, jerking back into her lane.   "You could have, when I actually said it!"   "I was merging!"   "You flinched! You can't flinch on 95!"   "I think there might be fire now," she said. "Do you smell that?"   "Get over," I said. "Get over get over get over."   She merged and pulled over to the shoulder. The car made an ungodly scraping sound as it came to a stop.   Both of us turned to look out the back window. I couldn't see any flames, but there was smoke, and something smelled like burnt motor oil.   "What happened?" I said, still looking out the rear window, hoping that nothing was getting ready to explode back there.   "Muffler, I think," she said. She got out of the car and went around to the back, and I followed. "Oof," she said. The muffler had indeed detached itself from the bottom of the car and was being dragged on the asphalt by whatever it was attached to on the other end. A bolt? I have no idea what holds mufflers on.   "I'm thinking that's bad?" I said.   "It's bad."   "Can you, like, put it back? Maybe with duct tape?"   "Duct tape," she said, mulling it over. "No, we'll have to get it towed."   "Great," I said. "I'm supposed to be in calculus in half an hour." I pulled out my phone and started texting to see if anyone could come and pick me up, but it was still early, and nobody answered.   "Nate?" Mom said. "Caroline?"   "Still asleep," I said. "They're not answering."   "Well, you'll just have to go in a cab," she said.   "Mom," I said. "I don't think--"   "It's fine."   "A Lyft would be cheaper," I said.   "I'm not putting my eighteen-year-old in a Lyft," she said. "Anybody could be driving it."   "Do you know how much a cab is going to cost?"   Stupid question. She knew exactly how much it would cost.   "Here's what's happening," she said. "You're going to school in a cab. I'm going to wait here for the tow truck." She rubbed her face with her hand. "I had a nine o'clock meeting today."   We stared at the dead car. I don't usually think about how much depends on a big chunk of metal and an internal combustion engine, but one sheared-off bolt was all it took to set us scrambling. The car repair and the cab would both end up on the credit card, my mom would miss her meeting, and if I was very lucky, I wouldn't miss a pop quiz in calculus.   Ten minutes later my cab showed up. I gave the driver directions to my school and then sat back to listen to twenty minutes of the second act of Hamilton, plus three different cell phone conversations in Amharic. Then Hamilton died (both literally and metaphorically) and the music ended, and then the driver was singing along with Evita, and I guess the driver had watched too much Phantom of the Opera because he kept saying "Sing! SING!" and seemed annoyed that all I knew was the chorus, and also that I really don't sing all that well.   I got out after the second verse of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," shutting the door as the driver belted out They are illooooooosions . . . and wondering if this guy had had theatrical aspirations before settling down as a cab driver, because he sang like a dream but did not seem to know how to, like, parallel park.   The forty-dollar cab got me to school ten minutes past the bell, and I had to sprint through the building, racing past Mr. Pelletier, the assistant head, who looked like he would really have liked to give me service hours, except he was already in the middle of giving service hours to someone else.   The rest of my calculus class was still half-asleep as I slid into my chair, sweaty and panting, but Mr. Bronstein frowned at me as I pulled out my notebook. "Miss Abramavicius," he said. "You are aware that your grades this quarter will be sent to your college?"   "Yes, sir," I said, still puffing.   "And we still have the AP exam coming up," he went on. "Unless you are looking forward to repeating this class in college with a less understanding instructor." He pointed at me with his dry-erase pen. "One who locks the latecomers out of the classroom."   I wondered if that was an actual thing that happened. "I'm sorry," I said. "My mom's car died."   He nodded thoughtfully. I was a "special case" at Blanchard because I was a senior and I didn't have my own car. I wasn't the only person there on a scholarship, not by a long shot, but I spent less time trying to pretend than the others. We aren't poor, but the tuition at Blanchard is almost as much as my mother makes in a year, and I don't think it's particularly shameful not to have a cool forty thousand dollars a year sitting around collecting dust. The school fronted me three-quarters of my tuition, and my mother went broke paying the last bit.   "This is the best education you can get," Mom said when we went without things like vacations or new shoes or takeout. "You know, we live in a global economy. You're competing against people from all over the world. That's how things are now."   It was a speech I heard often. It wasn't enough to compete against the kids from my school, or the mid-Atlantic, or the US. I was competing against people from China and Germany and Brazil, and would be for the rest of my life. How many people are there these days? Seven billion? The idea of all those people fighting for all the same things I wanted weighed on me. It was like circling the parking lot at the mall on Christmas Eve and discovering that there was one spot left--and several million people were already there, lined up to snatch it. If I thought about it too much, it made my head hurt.   Mr. Bronstein turned back toward the board and started discussing derivatives, which I already knew how to do, and I absentmindedly took some notes on what he was saying. My phone buzzed in my purse, and after deciding that no one was paying attention, I fished it out of my bag and stashed it on my knee.   It was a text from Caroline Black, who was sitting two rows behind me on the other side of the room.   Did you hear? she texted   Hear what?   Oh my God, it's Admissions Day. You did NOT forget. Excerpted from We Regret to Inform You: An Overachiever's Guide to College Rejection by A. E. Kaplan All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.