The Gifted School

The Gifted School

Smart and juicy, a compulsively readable novel about a previously happy group of friends and parents that is nearly destroyed by their own competitiveness when an exclusive school for gifted children opens in the communityThis deliciously sharp novel captures the relentless ambitions and fears that animate parents and their children in modern America, exploring the conflic...

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Title:The Gifted School
Author:Bruce Holsinger
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Gifted School Reviews

  • Lydia

    LOVED this book. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. It reminds me of BIG LITTLE LIES- parents behaving badly in believable, horrifying, yet shockingly relatable ways! So so so good.

  • Jana

    This book! I did all I could to escape being an adult in the world and just disappear into this story. I had to find out what was going to happen, and I knew it would not go well (which was as I wanted, truth be told).

    And how prescient that the ARC I’m reading came out just before the headline grabbing story of parental interference in elite college admissions. This novel is about younger/late elementary age kids and their obsessed parents. Set in a recognizable, but renamed, Boulder. Compulsiv

    This book! I did all I could to escape being an adult in the world and just disappear into this story. I had to find out what was going to happen, and I knew it would not go well (which was as I wanted, truth be told).

    And how prescient that the ARC I’m reading came out just before the headline grabbing story of parental interference in elite college admissions. This novel is about younger/late elementary age kids and their obsessed parents. Set in a recognizable, but renamed, Boulder. Compulsively readable (as my family will attest these last few days). And so well written. I loved the various points of view and the occasional “vlog” chapters from the teenager perspective.

    Bruce Holsinger’s previous novels set in Chaucer’s London were fantastic. I couldn’t wait to see what he would do with something so completely different.

    Put this one on your TBR for a summer read. Out in July. Highly recommend!

  • Chelsey

    Five wonderful, did not want it to end, amazing stars!!

    Four women who have been friends for over a decade encounter new challenges when a cutting edge school for gifted children opens in their hometown. The new school creates a divide among the friends and in their children and brings out the worst in human nature. As relationships are tested and truths exposed, the women have to decide what is really important to them and if they truly have their children’s best interests at heart.

    I loved the

    Five wonderful, did not want it to end, amazing stars!!

    Four women who have been friends for over a decade encounter new challenges when a cutting edge school for gifted children opens in their hometown. The new school creates a divide among the friends and in their children and brings out the worst in human nature. As relationships are tested and truths exposed, the women have to decide what is really important to them and if they truly have their children’s best interests at heart.

    I loved the writing, format and pace of the novel, characters, and relationships. The novel was filled with lots of drama, real life issues, some laughs, and a wonderful story of friendship.

    This is an absolute must read and one of my favorite books of 2019!

  • Megan C.

    This book is solidly on my 'best of 2019' book list. The novel starts out at a decent clip, but looking back, that was the steady climb up the first big hill of one heck of a roller coaster. GET THIS BOOK NOW, Y'ALL. It comes out tomorrow (big thanks to the publisher for sending me an early copy), so order it, pick it up at your local indie book shop, put it on your library holds list...just get your hands on it.

    Although this novel is being constantly compared to Big Little Lies (I myself calle

    This book is solidly on my 'best of 2019' book list. The novel starts out at a decent clip, but looking back, that was the steady climb up the first big hill of one heck of a roller coaster. GET THIS BOOK NOW, Y'ALL. It comes out tomorrow (big thanks to the publisher for sending me an early copy), so order it, pick it up at your local indie book shop, put it on your library holds list...just get your hands on it.

    Although this novel is being constantly compared to Big Little Lies (I myself called it a mashup between BLL and Little Fires Everywhere in the beginning), this book is better. Yes, I said that. IT'S BETTER.

    The characters are brilliantly written - flawed, dimensional, incredibly relatable, authentic - and the story is absolutely propulsive. I literally could not rip my eyeballs away from it.

    Highly, highly recommended. All the stars!!!

  • Renee (itsbooktalk)

    I’m at a loss for how to tell you about this book without telling you too much of what makes it so juicy and enjoyable. I’ll just sum it up as READ. THIS. BOOK! ⠀⠀

    ⠀⠀

    Seriously I’ll tell you just a smidge because this delicious, highly entertaining story needs to be experienced without knowing much of the plot. You’ve got 4 families so LOTS of characters but I had no problem getting to know each and keeping them all straight. The author brilliantly layers each character and weaves them into their

    I’m at a loss for how to tell you about this book without telling you too much of what makes it so juicy and enjoyable. I’ll just sum it up as READ. THIS. BOOK! ⠀⠀

    ⠀⠀

    Seriously I’ll tell you just a smidge because this delicious, highly entertaining story needs to be experienced without knowing much of the plot. You’ve got 4 families so LOTS of characters but I had no problem getting to know each and keeping them all straight. The author brilliantly layers each character and weaves them into their families and community so seamlessly that I swear I thought I was reading about real people. In fact, I’ve known these types of moms, dads, and kids and I thought the author could’ve been talking about my community.

    ⠀⠀

    The timeliness of the exploration of privilege, race, class, academics, travel sports, social media etc could not be more relevant and I devoured every single word of this fast paced, dynamic read. I’m floored by the intricacy of the plot and character development which read like a screenplay. I’m just in awe of Bruce Holsinger’s writing ability. I’d be shocked if we didn’t see this as a movie or tv series. If you’re looking for a compulsive summer read look no further than The Gifted School!

  • Gilly Macmillan

    Addictive, whip-smart, acutely observed and sharply funny, The Gifted School trains its lens on a community where a talented child is a social commodity and asks how far some families might be willing to go in pursuit of status. A delicious read.

  • Mainlinebooker

    Take 4 competitive mothers. Stir in a cutthroat community of affluent individuals. Add a new public school geared toward the gifted with stringent cutoff requirements. What do you get? Combustion! Incredibly prescient, this novel follows 4 mothers and fathers as they savagely vie for spots in a new gifted magnet school for middle and upper schools to be opened in the fall. Parents end up lying, cheating, bribing and destroying their lives and the lives of their children as they fall prey to the

    Take 4 competitive mothers. Stir in a cutthroat community of affluent individuals. Add a new public school geared toward the gifted with stringent cutoff requirements. What do you get? Combustion! Incredibly prescient, this novel follows 4 mothers and fathers as they savagely vie for spots in a new gifted magnet school for middle and upper schools to be opened in the fall. Parents end up lying, cheating, bribing and destroying their lives and the lives of their children as they fall prey to the belief that this school will bring their children superior advantages in life. It is an examination of parenting, false beliefs, and the lengths that parents will succumb to achieve success for their kids. This book has been labeled as entertaining but I despised the characters so much that I had a hard time mustering any sympathy for them. Indeed that is the power of Holsinger's work, but I could not find anything socially redeemable even with the climax of the story when lessons are learned the hard way. My bet is that it will be really uncomfortable for some parents to read this and recognize a bit of themselves in these characters.

  • Larry H

    It's always nice when fiction illuminates the worst in people, isn't it?

    Rose, Samantha, Azra, and Lauren have been best friends for years, in many cases since their kids were infants. The four women and their families have weathered many crises—death, divorce, troubles with their children and their marriages, etc. While there are certainly interesting dynamics among the four of them, there doesn't seem to be anything that can keep them apart.

    When word gets out that their affluent town of Crystal

    It's always nice when fiction illuminates the worst in people, isn't it?

    Rose, Samantha, Azra, and Lauren have been best friends for years, in many cases since their kids were infants. The four women and their families have weathered many crises—death, divorce, troubles with their children and their marriages, etc. While there are certainly interesting dynamics among the four of them, there doesn't seem to be anything that can keep them apart.

    When word gets out that their affluent town of Crystal, Colorado is building a school for gifted children, all four women react to the news differently, especially when they learn there will be a limited number of slots available at every grade level, and decisions will be made based both on test scores and other factors.

    Samantha has always believed her daughter, Emma, is practically perfect in every way, so for her it's a given that Emma will be accepted. Rose's daughter Emma, who is best friends with Samantha's daughter, may be smarter, but she isn't as driven or as competitive as the other Emma. But what would happen if one Emma got in and the other didn't? They've been inseparable since infancy.

    While Azra's twin sons, Charlie and Aidan, have focused more on soccer than academics, there's no reason they shouldn't be considered for the school as well, despite the misgivings of Azra's trust-fund yet hippie-esque ex-husband. Since her husband's death, Lauren has focused most of her energy on her son, Xander, who actually is gifted, but at the expense of her older daughter, Tessa, who has dealt with challenge after challenge without the support of her mother.

    "Parents always want to manage the narrative instead of letting kids write their own."

    Following the perspectives of multiple characters, including several of the group's children,

    is a melodramatic yet insightful look at how competition and envy can bring out the worst in adults, laying bare secrets long kept hidden, in some cases pitting spouse against spouse and friend against friend. The book also examines the pros and cons of schools for gifted children, the biases of testing and other admission-related decisions, and the thin line between striving for equity and creating quotas for traditionally under-represented populations.

    I expected the book to be a little more campy and entertaining than it was. While some twists are telegraphed early on, Bruce Holsinger did throw in one twist that upended the characters, and it really didn't feel genuine to me. I thought that Holsinger makes some interesting arguments, but the majority of his characters were so unlikable it was difficult to have any sympathy for them.

    There's a lot going on in

    . There were a lot of storylines to follow, and while I understood the points Holsinger was trying to make, I could have absolutely done without the whole storyline featuring the group's cleaning lady and her family, because it kept dragging the story away from its core.

    Holsinger is a talented writer, and his storytelling definitely kept me reading. Those of you who enjoy stories of people acting horribly to each other to advance their children's best interests (or perhaps their own) might enjoy

    a bit more than I did.

    See all of my reviews at

    .

    Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at

    .

    You can follow me on Instagram at

  • karen

    i got this ARC.

    i am on the fence about it.

    convince me - pros/cons, impassioned speeches in either camp.

  • Book of the Month

    "Why I love it"

    by Brianna Goodman

    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

    We’ve got dishonest parents, like the ones caught up in the trial portrayed in

    And now we’ve got the parents of

    , a story of lying, cheating, and often downright dirty parents who will do whatever it takes to make thei

    "Why I love it"

    by Brianna Goodman

    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

    We’ve got dishonest parents, like the ones caught up in the trial portrayed in

    And now we’ve got the parents of

    , 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.

    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

    or

    , 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.

    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?

    Read more at:

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