The Gifted School: A Novel (Hardcover)
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If you miss the badly behaved parents from Big Little Lies, if you couldn’t get enough of the college applications scandal earlier this year, or if you live in a place with a crazy-competitive school admissions scene, this story of families flipping out over a new “gifted school” in their Colorado town will crack you up and make you cringe.— Mary Laura
INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER
One of NPR's "Favorite Books of 2019"!
"Wise and addictive... The Gifted School is the juiciest novel I've read in ages... a suspenseful, laugh-out-loud page-turner and an incisive inspection of privilege, race and class."--J. Courtney Sullivan in The New York Times
"The summer read that predicted the college-admissions scandal." -The Wall Street Journal
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.
About the Author
Bruce Holsinger teaches at the University of Virginia and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.
"A page-turning meditation on what it means to be gifted — and how far parents will go to prove it."—NPR
"Holsinger’s sharp observation, knack for dialogue, acerbic social commentary and droll descriptive gifts all add up to a heady brew. As the adults scheme intently and their beleaguered children act out their frustrations, The Gifted School becomes a sharp, skeptical primer on how things stand in 2010s America where everyone is desperate to get their slice of an ever-shrinking economic pie."—The Boston Globe
"A surprisingly hopeful novel. There’s a sweetness to its resolution, a satisfying possibility that no matter what monsters we parents are at times, we can still graduate to something better."—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"Holsinger renders his helicopter moms and soccer dads so precisely that one understands their motivations, even feels their longing and pride. . . [The Gifted School] exposes how easily a mix of good intentions, self-delusions, and minor sins can escalate into the kind of skullduggery that might prompt an F.B.I. sting."—The New Yorker
"Clever and au courant. . . top of the syllabus for book clubs."—People
"The book goes down as easy as a gin and tonic on a summer day, but the takeaway is damning. In their quest to give their offspring the best, these parents have committed, as one member of the group realizes too late, 'a collective crime against childhood.'"—Courtney J Sullivan, NYTBR
"A thoughtful, engaging examination of a subject torn from the headlines: how parents succumb to a kind of temporary insanity as they jockey for position, status, and prestige—for their children and for themselves. Recommended for parents and for fans of literary fiction."—Library Journal
"Reading this is way more fun than taking a standardized test, trust me."—Popsugar
"The Gifted School is not only a book to add to your list this summer for pure entertainment, but because it skewers the intense, high-stakes culture of parenting prevalent in so many suburbs and in the upper echelons." – Real Simple
"[A] timely and relevant read for the summer." –Oprahmag.com
"Like Big Little Lies with standardized testing, this addictive novel digs hard into the culture of striving parents and anxious children, exploring privilege, competition and the elusiveness of happiness. A deeply pleasurable read." - Meg Wolitzer, New York Times-bestselling author of The Female Persuasion
"Bright, and expertly observed." – Town & Country
"A (hilariously) timely book explores the lengths to which privileged parents will go to get their kids a top education."—New York Post
"Reminiscent of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Gifted School is a story of trouble in paradise with timely commentary on hyper-parenting and the lengths to which parents will go to ensure that their kids remain ‘exceptional.” – BookPage
"An insular epic that questions the notion of meritocracy, the hypocrisy of white liberalism, and the politics that trickle from the adult world down to their children." –The Paris Review
"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." – Gilly Macmillan, New York Times-bestselling author of What She Knew
"I LOVED THIS NOVEL. Pitch perfect, razor sharp, compulsively readable and rich with delicious detail, this darkly funny satire combines the gimlet-eyed world view of Jonathan Franzen with the propulsive narration of Liane Moriarty. I can’t remember the last time I’ve enjoyed a novel as much."— Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times-bestselling author
"[Holsinger’s] subject of parents charging past every ethical restraint in pursuit of crème de la crème education could not be more timely, and the Big Little Liestreatment creates a deliciously repulsive and eerily current page-turner."— Kirkus, starred review
"Sharply entertaining…This depiction of the depths to which some parents will stoop to win social advantage for their offspring makes for a smart, piercing novel, and timely given recent headlines." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"I was blown away by The Gifted School. A smart, insightful, and engrossing story about how the prospect of getting their children into a school for the gifted causes a group of competitive parents to comport themselves in the most unseemly and ultimately destructive ways. Snapping with tension, this is a book for our times. It will push a lot of buttons for a lot of people." — Shari Lapena, New York Times-bestselling author of The Couple Next Door