Hacking Harvard by Robin Wasserman

Challenge 44 ~ “A book you’re embarrased to read in public.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

I don’t know what it is about nerdy books obviously set in high school, but I always feel as if people will definitely judge me for reading them – not that many people don’t judge you for reading a book in the first place! Hacking Harvard was on display when I first signed up for the public library in my university town, and it sounded like something different. Then, when this challenge popped up this year, I knew it was a match made in heaven. I could never see myself sitting on the bus reading this without feeling the eyes of the other passengers judging hard. I just read it in my room instead.

Hacking Harvard was nothing like I expected from the blurb, but Wasserman took it in another direction that worked just as well (if not better). It was certainly not a book to be ashamed about! The plot was strong, the characters relatable and the use of sections was a nice strength, with the mission goals adding a sense of light relief. Both the technical and academic aspects of the plotline were also well-researched, enabling the reader to suspend disbelief and be drawn into the plotline. Since the story was so well-written, this just added to the speed with which the pages flick by.

If the book was so amazing, why not the five stars, right? Whilst being a well-written and different-than-average story, Hacking Harvard just lacked (for me) the pizzazz or special element to elevate the novel that final step. Don’t get me wrong, Wasserman knows how to write a novel that is relatable, accurate and light-hearted, but Hacking Harvard was a cheesecake short of fruit puree – good, but not outstanding.

Wasserman has some great life lessons in Hacking Harvard, which come together nicely in a great conclusion. There are definite aspects that take a different direction than I interpreted from the blurb, but they work well in a more mature and unexpected storyline – Lex, for example, has a vastly different role than I initially envisaged. Strong research and relatable characters combines greatly with a fantastic writing style to create a lovely read that I wholly recommend (particularly for those who’ve tried applying to college, or have that little nerdy element at heart).

Recommended for fans of:

  • Double or Die by Charlie Higson
  • Don’t Judge A Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter
  • Shelter by Harlan Coben

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