Stephan Lee
August 06, 2015 AT 08:18 PM EDT

We gave it an A-

A working-class girl secretly applies to an elite university that’s out of reach for her, both financially and academically. She gets accepted but flounders once she’s there, unable to understand the rarefied norms of her more privileged peers. That’s the premise for many debut novels, but few are as furious, funny, or thorny as this one.

Crucet’s young narrator is Lizet, the daughter of Cuban immigrants who’ve settled in Miami. As soon as she arrives at the prestigious Rawlings College against her family’s wishes, she immediately faces academic challenges and social obstacles—in the form of micro-aggressions from her otherwise worldly classmates—that seem impossible to overcome. Crucet captures the vernacular of Lizet’s world at home and the unbearable alienation in her campus life with a realness that’s hard to forget. A-

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