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The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger
Literary fiction

The Gifted School

by Bruce Holsinger

Quick take

Schadenfreude at its finest. A beautiful train wreck of wealthy parents who implode their oh-so-perfect lives.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SocialIssues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SuburbanDrama

    Suburban drama

Illustrated icon, Icon_Challenging_Indicator

FYI

  • Lengthy read with a slow build
  • Flawed characters

Why I love it

Great books are about a lot of things: love, loss, transformation… But you know what else they’re about? Badly behaved parents. We’ve got law-breaking parents, like the aspiring murderers in For Better and Worse. We’ve got dishonest parents, like the ones caught up in the trial portrayed in Miracle Creek. And now we’ve got the parents of The Gifted School, a story of lying, cheating, and often downright dirty parents who will do whatever it takes to make their kids succeed.

You may find these characters unlikable, but know that they act with (mostly) good intentions. The Gifted School follows five families whose lives are upended when the mysterious Crystal Academy opens in their yuppie Colorado town. Despite knowing little about the curriculum—or teachers, or administration—these families vie to send their children to the highly selective school. Soon friends turn against friends, siblings against siblings, and the once-peaceful community becomes a hotbed of lies and cutthroat competition.

This book has the gossipy, nosy-neighbor feel of Desperate Housewives or Big Little Lies, only these parents are keeping secrets about test scores (not murder). It’s a fun summer read about the absurd world of elite grade-school education that also hits at a deeper truth. After all, it was only a few months ago that a host of real-life parents were caught cheating their kids’ ways into college. The Gifted School will make you snicker. You might find it absurd. But you might also be left to wonder: If this were my reality, would I behave any better?

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Synopsis

Set in the fictional town of Crystal, Colorado, The Gifted School is a keenly entertaining novel that observes the drama within a community of friends and parents as good intentions and high ambitions collide in a pile-up with long-held secrets and lies. Seen through the lens of four families who've been a part of one another's lives since their kids were born over a decade ago, the story reveals not only the lengths that some adults are willing to go to get ahead, but the effect on the group's children, sibling relationships, marriages, and careers, as simmering resentments come to a boil and long-buried, explosive secrets surface and detonate. It's a humorous, keenly observed, timely take on ambitious parents, willful kids, and the pursuit of prestige, no matter the cost.

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Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of The Gifted School.

Read a sample →

Member thoughts

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4122 ratings
  • 43% Love
  • 47% Like
  • 9% Dislike
    July 2019
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