The Gifted Schoolby Published 02 Jul 2019
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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 community
This deliciously sharp novel captures the relentless ambitions and fears that animate parents and their children in modern America, exploring the conflicts between achievement and potential, talent and privilege.
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.
The Gifted School Reviews
The Gifted School is an immersive, daring read that gives us an intimate look into the community of a high-income town in the Denver suburbs and a culture that views childhood achievement as a mark of parental prestige. Bruce Holsinger writes about the dynamics of jealousy, friendship, and parenthood with great wisdom and shocking kindness. By the end, I was caught in a struggle between racing to see what would happen and wanting to savor every beautiful sentence.
i got this ARC.
i am on the fence about it.
convince me - pros/cons, impassioned speeches in either camp.
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.
In a satirical saga that proves brilliant, playful, and devilishly inventive, author Bruce Holsinger conjures up a handful of families – an array of uniquely described characters, mostly long-time friends. These parents have raised their children in parallel, watching them grow from toddlers into middle schoolers and beyond. When a new school for gifted students is introduced into their community, a fuse is lit. Unhealthy fumes of competition seep into the local air. As parents vie to better their sons’ and daughters’ chances for admission, the rivalry grows poisonous. Adults grow obsessed with proving the unique worth of their offspring (and consequently, themselves), and the characters work in stealthy, secretive ways to hide inadequacies. Outrageous behavior escalates, becoming both laughable and horrifying. (The risks taken by one mischievous teenager and her eccentric younger brother may seem shocking, but in Holsinger’s hands, their appalling capers also carry a certain naughty charm – as does the behavior of one buffoonish father, who hasn’t quite matured himself.)
Thanks to rotating points of view and refreshing plot twists, the pace of this humorous novel never flags. Given the foolish gambles taken by parents and young people alike, the reader knows that explosive consequences must be looming. While the story never fails to entertain, it also reflects – in the most thought-provoking ways – the pitfalls of trying to measure and compare the “gifts” and merits of human beings. THE GIFTED SCHOOL holds up a mirror that magnifies the susceptibilities and foibles of aspirational parents everywhere.
“The Gifted School” starts in the fictional town of Crystal Colorado when four young mothers first meet and start best relationships. Then a decade later when their children are in elementary school, they hear of a gifted magnet school just being built. Now who doesn’t think they have a highly gifted child. With such highly competitive parents each one embellishes their applications and so many secrets come out. Will they still be friends? What a great book! Thank you Penguin Random House for the chance to read it.