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Publisher's Summary

From the beloved author of When You Read This, a smart, sharply observed novel about gender and class on a contemporary Southern college campus in the spirit of The Female Persuasion and Prep

Carter University: “The Harvard of the South.” 

Annie Stoddard was the smartest girl in her small public high school in Georgia, but now that she’s at Carter, it feels like she’s got “Scholarship Student” written on her forehead. 

Bea Powers put aside misgivings about attending college in the South as a biracial student to take part in Carter’s Justice Scholars program. But even within that rarefied circle of people trying to change the world, it seems everyone has a different idea of what justice is. 

Stayja York goes to Carter every day, too, but she isn’t a student. She works at the Coffee Bean, doling out almond milk lattes to entitled co-eds, while trying to put out fires on the home front and save for her own education. 

Their three lives intersect unexpectedly when Annie accuses fourth-year student Tyler Brand of sexual assault. Once Bea is assigned as Tyler’s student advocate, the girls find themselves on opposite sides as battle lines are drawn across the picture-perfect campus - and Stayja finds herself invested in the case’s outcome, too. 

Told through the viewpoints of Annie, Bea, and Stayja, Privilege is a bracingly clear-eyed look at today’s campus politics, and a riveting story of three young women making their way in a world not built for them.

©2020 Mary Adkins (P)2020 HarperAudio

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3.5 stars.

Privilege is aptly named -- about the privilege held by men, and how it impacts young women. Told from three points of view, with seemingly separate stories, the author brings the women together and knits together all the threads. It is well done.

My favorite character is Annie Stoddard. She is a nice girl from a lower middle class family. When she earns a scholarship to the prestigious Carter University her parents take extra jobs to afford the portion that is not covered. This family reminded me a bit of my own. Nobody in my family attended college. I went into my university with no knowledge of what it took to be successful and even less about how to make it happen financially. We also follow the stories of Bea Powers - a biracial student who is part of the Justice Scholars program, and Stayja York -- a local girl who works at the campus coffee shop.

When Annie accuses Tyler of rape the women's stories slowly intertwine. Bea is assigned as student advocate working for Tyler, and finds herself giving him both emotional and legal support. Stayja begins dating him, convinced that he both cares about her and is unfairly accused. While the overriding theme is rape and its impact on women, what made this book most affecting was the gentle touch by the author. This story is more about the women's attempts to survive the aftermath than it is about the events. It is about the devastation wrought by one privileged and spoiled white man. But the focus is not on him. This is the women's story.

I will say that the way these crimes are investigated by campuses is horrible, and it needs to change. I found myself angry because this is the reality for so many young women.