When Lilith Whitmore, the well-heeled House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta, one of the premiere sororities on campus, appoints recent empty-nester Wilda to the Rush Advisory Board, Wilda can hardly believe her luck. What’s more, Lilith suggests their daughters, both incoming freshman, room together. What Wilda doesn’t know is that it’s all part of Lilith’s plan to ensure her own daughter receives an Alpha Delt bid—no matter what. Cali Watkins possesses all the qualities sororities are looking for in a potential new member. She’s kind and intelligent, makes friends easily, even plans to someday run for governor. But her resume lacks a vital ingredient. Pedigree. Without family money Cali’s chances of sorority membership are already thin, but she has an even bigger problem. If anyone discovers the dark family secrets she’s hiding, she’ll be dropped from Rush in an instant. For twenty-five years, Miss Pearl—as her “babies” like to call her—has been housekeeper and a second mother to the Alpha Delt girls, even though it reminds her of a painful part of her past she’ll never forget. When an opportunity for promotion arises, it seems a natural fit. But Lilith Whitmore slams her Prada heel down fast, crushing Miss Pearl’s hopes of a better future. When Wilda and the girls find out, they devise a plan destined to change Alpha Delta Beta—and maybe the entire Greek system—forever.
Since Lisa Patton’s Rush is told in alternating points of view, I find it most appropriate to deal with my review in much the same; that is, I shall deal with this review in terms of the characters and how each impacted my overall impression and liking of the book.
Miss Pearl: I absolutely adored Miss Pearl and so much of that had to do with the voice artist who narrated her character in the audio book. Miss Pearl is what my granny would have called a “salt of the earth” person, a genuine, kind, caring, and generous soul without a mean bone in her body. For 25 years, Miss Pearl has looked after the young ladies of Alpha Delta Beta sorority and she has done so with gladness in heart. Miss Pearl sincerely loves her “babies” and she has given selflessly to each and every girl in the hopes of bettering their lives and not her own.
Wilda: Wilda is an admitted worrier and much of her worry is centered around what others think of her. Though Wilda is a nice person and wants to do the right thing, she is so wrapped up in what others think that she often veers off track and makes mistakes she later deeply regrets. It isn’t until Wilda has her moment of enlightenment that I was able to really get behind her as a character and root for her. When Wilda pulls her head out of her a$$, she is something of a force and sets about righting a whole host of wrongs.
Cali: If ever there was a kid to root for, Cali is absolutely that girl! From the minute she shows up on campus, Cali has a burning need to fit in and she feels deeply that she will fit in if she can just get a bid to a sorority. For much of the read, Cali involves herself in the plans and activities necessary to secure her place in a sorority house and though she never compromises her principles, she does come close to the line a time or two. When Cali realizes how close she’s come to compromising herself, she gets head on straight, strengthens her friendships with good people, and makes sure her efforts to get into a house are because of who she is. By the end of this long and winding tale, Cali emerges as a strong leader driven her by her own moral compass and need to see many situations put to rights.
The Whitmore Family: In truth, this entire family doesn’t make me ashamed to be any particular skin color, but ashamed to be a human being. From start to finish, the Whitmore’s are simply disgusting human beings with outdated and abhorrent views they aren’t afraid to vocalize. Even with the late in the game change of heart, I couldn’t get behind these characters or feel even an ounce of sympathy for any of them.
The Bottom Line: Rush is indeed a long and winding tale I am sincerely glad I listened to rather than physically read. The narrators for the audiobook are spot on and they very much impacted my overall enjoyment of this book. Overall, I did like this book, but I found the ending, though certainly sweet and endearing, to be completely implausible. Make no mistake, I WANT the ending to plausible, possible, and even a reality, but there are simply too many Whitmore’s left in the world for that to happen. With this in mind, it was the ending that kept me from rating an otherwise very good book a bit higher on the rating scale. The things I did like include Miss Pearl and Cali, the relationships between the various characters that do evolve over the course of the read, and the peek inside the world of sorority life. I suspect many will like this read, especially the relationships and generally uplifting nature of the story. I further suspect, many readers are far more tender-hearted than I and will absolutely love the ending 😊