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 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 Details

TitleThe Gifted School
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 2nd, 2019
PublisherRiverhead
ISBN-139780525534969
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary

The Gifted School Review

  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    i got this ARC.i am on the fence about it.convince me - pros/cons, impassioned speeches in either camp.
  • Renee (itsbooktalk)
    January 1, 1970
    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!
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  • Jana
    January 1, 1970
    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!
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  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    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, The Gifted School 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 The Gifted School . 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 The Gifted School a bit more than I did.See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html. You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
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  • Lydia
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    "Why I love it"by Brianna GoodmanGreat 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 thei "Why I love it"by Brianna GoodmanGreat 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?Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/the-gifted...
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  • Megan C.
    January 1, 1970
    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!!!
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  • SheLovesThePages
    January 1, 1970
    -Description-In an affluent Colorado town, they are opening up a magnet school for the gifted & talented students in the surrounding 4 counties. Four mothers (four best friends) are all vying for the coveted spots in the school....and all hell breaks loose.-Thoughts-1. When I first heard of this book, it was described as Big Little Lies with standardized tests...and I was like, “Hell Yes!” To be honest, that description couldn’t be more accurate!2. The four main families that this book conce -Description-In an affluent Colorado town, they are opening up a magnet school for the gifted & talented students in the surrounding 4 counties. Four mothers (four best friends) are all vying for the coveted spots in the school....and all hell breaks loose.-Thoughts-1. When I first heard of this book, it was described as Big Little Lies with standardized tests...and I was like, “Hell Yes!” To be honest, that description couldn’t be more accurate!2. The four main families that this book concentrates on are just perfection....in the worst sense of the word! They are sneaky and conniving and kind and nuts and deceiving and spoiled and pathetic. But what else do you become when desperation and competition are drowning you??3. The story is told from various perspectives...which I love in a book. I think the author chose the right characters in this way. A mother, a father, a grandmother, and two children. I liked that it just wasn’t from the four mothers’ viewpoints.4. The ending was, not necessarily disappointing, but for me slightly unrealistic. A little too “wrapped up in a nice bow” kind of ending. But really, I didn’t mind that. The book was a page turner! And I needed a page turner kind of book.-Rating-⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️-Similar Recommended Reads-Big Little Lies (duh!)Little Fires EverywhereAsk Again, YesThe Husband’s Secret
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  • Ron Charles
    January 1, 1970
    Four months after that sensational news story about the college admissions scandal comes this hefty novel by Bruce Holsinger about a group of wealthy parents who cheat, lie and bribe to get their kids into an exclusive school. One wants to say that “The Gifted School” is preternaturally timely, but it feels, instead, like a faint imitation: a story dripped from the headlines.But there’s plenty of wry humor in Holsinger’s portrayal of this dysfunction group of friends, especially the moral gymnas Four months after that sensational news story about the college admissions scandal comes this hefty novel by Bruce Holsinger about a group of wealthy parents who cheat, lie and bribe to get their kids into an exclusive school. One wants to say that “The Gifted School” is preternaturally timely, but it feels, instead, like a faint imitation: a story dripped from the headlines.But there’s plenty of wry humor in Holsinger’s portrayal of this dysfunction group of friends, especially the moral gymnastics that liberal parents perform to preserve the purity of their ideals. Everybody loves diversity -- until it comes to school admissions; then accusations of elitism, affirmative action, privilege hoarding and political correctness start flying around like vampire bats. . . . To read the rest of this novel, go to The Washington Post:https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...
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  • Mainlinebooker
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Cody | codysbookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    Familial/friend drama with fully formed characters? COUNT ME IN. The small, liberal, upper-middle class town of Chrystal, Colorado is getting a new, exclusive “gifted” school — and every parent wants his or her child to get in. Some kids are intellectually gifted, others aren’t. Anyone who grew up in public schools (or private school, Hell, but I was a public school kid . . .) probably dealt with a gifted program of some sort. Either you were in it, or you heard about it. This story revolves aro Familial/friend drama with fully formed characters? COUNT ME IN. The small, liberal, upper-middle class town of Chrystal, Colorado is getting a new, exclusive “gifted” school — and every parent wants his or her child to get in. Some kids are intellectually gifted, others aren’t. Anyone who grew up in public schools (or private school, Hell, but I was a public school kid . . .) probably dealt with a gifted program of some sort. Either you were in it, or you heard about it. This story revolves around four families, all connected by the friendships between the four matriarchs. These are suburban families, with normal fears and hopes and circumstances. They care for each other, but they sometimes don’t hesitate to stab one another in the back. That’s what humans do — and the author does a splendid job of nailing these characters’ humanities. They didn’t always do what I wanted of them, but that’s okay. That’s life. Do not go into this book expecting a fast-paced thriller. This isn’t that. What it is is an examination of suburbia and human relationships, the truth all brought to life because of the forthcoming gifted school. The first hundred pages or so are slow — not boring, just slow! — but once all the wheels got rolling I couldn’t put the book down. I am thoroughly impressed with this one: a last-minute Book of the Month pick I didn’t think I’d actually like. In fact, this book ignited in me a new love for reading, as I’ve been in sort of a slump for a while. My highest recommendation.
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  • Gilly Macmillan
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Kate ☀️ Olson
    January 1, 1970
    (free review copy) 📓 THE GIFTED SCHOOL is all sorts of juicy drama in the world of a privileged town in Colorado, centered around the selection process for a new school for gifted children. This book is smart, witty and so so timely given the recent college admissions scandal. (but am I the only one who wasn’t at ALL surprised when that broke? Like, didn’t all of us know that the rich had their own “path” to educational success?? Or perhaps I’m just middle class, old and jaded and have been teac (free review copy) 📓 THE GIFTED SCHOOL is all sorts of juicy drama in the world of a privileged town in Colorado, centered around the selection process for a new school for gifted children. This book is smart, witty and so so timely given the recent college admissions scandal. (but am I the only one who wasn’t at ALL surprised when that broke? Like, didn’t all of us know that the rich had their own “path” to educational success?? Or perhaps I’m just middle class, old and jaded and have been teaching too long😉).Back to THE GIFTED SCHOOL! The story centers on 4 women who have been friends since their babies were tiny, and their families. This story skewers the white elite and had me whispering, “DAMN” in appreciation so many times. I didn’t actually like many of the characters at all, really I only liked exactly 2 of the many, but I don’t think they were written to be likeable. I may not have liked them, but I sure did recognize them as representative of SO many parents today..Highly recommend to readers looking for literary drama, especially parents and those who work in the educational system. Class, race, and privilege are major themes.
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  • Chelsey
    January 1, 1970
    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!
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  • Authentikate
    January 1, 1970
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐This was a compelling read for me for several reasons: 1) I live in Colorado (and was happy the author had a grasp of how we Coloradans refer to places like “the Springs”); 2) my kids went to school in a highly competitive environment and played club soccer. Oi could I relate! I’m certain many parents (and students) will too!It was fast-paced, well-written and had well-devolved (if not a little clichéd) characters. Very enjoyable and one we may soon see in our book clubs. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️This was a compelling read for me for several reasons: 1) I live in Colorado (and was happy the author had a grasp of how we Coloradans refer to places like “the Springs”); 2) my kids went to school in a highly competitive environment and played club soccer. Oi could I relate! I’m certain many parents (and students) will too!It was fast-paced, well-written and had well-devolved (if not a little clichéd) characters. Very enjoyable and one we may soon see in our book clubs.
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  • Bren
    January 1, 1970
    This book makes the Varsity Blues scandal look almost G rated.This was one wild read!Review to follow.So I finished this yesterday. What a wild ride! I enjoyed The Gifted School. It s much deeper then I expected it to be frankly and though it is long, the pages sort of fly. It was a great read.So I do not have children. I mention this because I wondered if I'd be able to relate to the subject matter. I do think people who DO have kids will have a better grasp of how such things could happen.For This book makes the Varsity Blues scandal look almost G rated.This was one wild read!Review to follow.So I finished this yesterday. What a wild ride! I enjoyed The Gifted School. It s much deeper then I expected it to be frankly and though it is long, the pages sort of fly. It was a great read.So I do not have children. I mention this because I wondered if I'd be able to relate to the subject matter. I do think people who DO have kids will have a better grasp of how such things could happen.For me, I interestingly enough related to the CHILDREN. I grew up with a gifted sibling. It was tough as he (my sibling) is absolutely brilliant. I struggled in school and had a real concentration problem. Sometimes I wondered if I'd graduate. Two things saved me. One was my wonderful mom who went to bat for me. The other was reading.So my heart went out to all the kids..the gifted, the not so gifted. It can be tough..really truly tough..when you are young not to be affected by all the superficial crap.Luckily I was blessed with parents who would not have given a crap about this "gifted school". Sadly for some of the children in this book, they did not have the same experience. Some of these parents were beyond anything I could comprehend.I mean..if this book had come out 5 or 10 years ago, I'd most likely not have liked it as much because I wouldn't have believed it could happen. But..with the Varsity Blues scandal not to mention the every day news cycle of parents behaving badly and doing crazy things, I do believe it now.The Gifted School is written in a superb way as your feelings keep shifting. There are a huge cast of characters. Each one has a story. If I have one gripe it is that there are so many characters. I wish it had been just a few less narrators. It was tough keeping everyone straight.And it is still hard for me to believe so much emphasis is put on this stuff. I think the internet has sort of contributed, where social media abounds and people can sing the praises of their children, their friends and spouses, from behind a computer screen. But people like Rose..who was my least favorite character..I still struggle to understand.This book is like watching a train wreck but it also has much to say and is less light and way more human then I ever expected. I often wondered, while reading it, about these people who, in my eyes, had it all and let petty envy get in the way.But then I started thinking. Though I myself do not have kids, I have been envious before. Of family, of good friends. I have coveted things I lacked, that were not mine to covet. And I have had people envious of me. I think ALL of us have been, at one point or another, on both sides. So you do not have to be a parent to relate.Envy is a lethal thing that can eat away at you. I have seen ordinary sane people make insane choices while in its grip. I could find good in every character in the book in one form or another. I hope, just one person may read this and realize that all the surface stuff..it is all bullshit. I think if it changes one person's actions, even just one, that will have been a great thing.So I consider this a great read, one of the best of the year. I almost feel in my bones this will be picked up as a film or a TV series. I recommend it to everyone..the envious, the envied, the happy, the sad. We are ALL gifted in one way or another although it is easy to forget that. And we on GR, are all gifted by the joy and love and magic of books. I wouldn't have it any other way.
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  • Denise Reed
    January 1, 1970
    Wow wow wow! I prefer to start books somewhat blindly so that I go into them without too many predispositions. I had read a few reviews of The Gifted School that peaked my interest, and thought it was rather relevant given the times, but that was the extent of my knowledge. When I saw that it was a BOTM choice for July, I decided to give it a try - so glad I did! I found myself inhaling this book and read the 400+ pages in less than two days. This was one of those stories that I thought about lo Wow wow wow! I prefer to start books somewhat blindly so that I go into them without too many predispositions. I had read a few reviews of The Gifted School that peaked my interest, and thought it was rather relevant given the times, but that was the extent of my knowledge. When I saw that it was a BOTM choice for July, I decided to give it a try - so glad I did! I found myself inhaling this book and read the 400+ pages in less than two days. This was one of those stories that I thought about long after I read the last page and wished it hadn't ended so soon. Initially, I thought it was a story about a group of pretentious, rich parents with spoiled, unlikable kids - and it was, sort of, but it was also so much more. It had a memorizing theme, a well-executed plot, a fast-paced narrative, a fitting expose on suburban parents' competitiveness and their children's anxiety resulting from the pressure, and even a great twist at the end. The book subtly ridicules the idea of "giftedness" and of schools for "gifted children." I really got into the characterization in this book. The relationships between the husbands and wives, as well as the relationships between the four women, were very convincing and true to life. All in all, this was one of the most gripping books I've read for a while. I knew from the beginning that it was not going to end well, but truth be told, it was somewhat satisfying and then thought-provoking, and by the end, I couldn't believe I was cheering these people on to succeed. Put this one on your summer TBR list! 5 stars.
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  • Mehrsa
    January 1, 1970
    I saw the review of this in the Times a week or so ago and just by reading the title, I knew I had to read this book. The review promised that it was more of a satire than it actually was. The book is pretty serious, but the topic could not be more interesting. After reading it, I wanted more novels about this very tension because I think this idea of gifted children and privileged parenting is one of the most rife and unique topics of a certain cohort of people. The book was pretty well done. I I saw the review of this in the Times a week or so ago and just by reading the title, I knew I had to read this book. The review promised that it was more of a satire than it actually was. The book is pretty serious, but the topic could not be more interesting. After reading it, I wanted more novels about this very tension because I think this idea of gifted children and privileged parenting is one of the most rife and unique topics of a certain cohort of people. The book was pretty well done. I did have some issues. I hate when authors romanticize the good and noble poor brown people to contrast them with the messed up white people. He did that here with a gifted Peruvian boy. I get what he was trying to do, but what it actually does is that it flattens the poor brown character in order to make the others more rich and complicated. All people are complicated--even the poor people who clean homes. They also have scandals and longings and inner conflicts. Still, this book is still a great read.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    "She wanted to erase, redo, rewind. Fly against the earth's rotation, pull against time."I don't pick up a lot of contemporary fiction books, but The Gifted School sounded too good to pass up. I buddy read this one with my friend Cody & I loved it so much!The Gifted School starts off as a slow burn and introduces a lot of characters. I wasn't sure if this was going to work out for me, but it did! I think it would have been helpful to have a character list at the front of the book, but I even "She wanted to erase, redo, rewind. Fly against the earth's rotation, pull against time."I don't pick up a lot of contemporary fiction books, but The Gifted School sounded too good to pass up. I buddy read this one with my friend Cody & I loved it so much!The Gifted School starts off as a slow burn and introduces a lot of characters. I wasn't sure if this was going to work out for me, but it did! I think it would have been helpful to have a character list at the front of the book, but I eventually got it sorted. I ended up tearing through this book & couldn't put it down!Once this book gets going, I really enjoyed the drama and the tense environment. I loved seeing everything unravel. If you're into books like Big Little Lies that are family/community-based with tons of drama, pick up The Gifted School!
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  • Tracy Challis
    January 1, 1970
    As a teacher of more than 20 years, I can attest to the fact that the things that happened in this book are realistic and entirely credible. I know parents love their children and want what (they think) is best for them, but some go WAY overboard and end up damaging their children. I have had parents do their child’s science projects, write their child’s essays, give their child answers via text message, leave a job to bring in a forgotten homework assignment, and let their child stay home when As a teacher of more than 20 years, I can attest to the fact that the things that happened in this book are realistic and entirely credible. I know parents love their children and want what (they think) is best for them, but some go WAY overboard and end up damaging their children. I have had parents do their child’s science projects, write their child’s essays, give their child answers via text message, leave a job to bring in a forgotten homework assignment, and let their child stay home when a big assignment has been procrastinated. I have had parents excuse their child’s unkindness, bullying, and disrespect. So many opportunities for learning lost in a desire to “save”. This book was entertaining and believable. I can see this being a movie or series like Big Little Lies. The characters are flawed but interesting. This book is entertaining and disturbing as it hits a little too close to home. Easy, fast, enjoyable read.
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  • Adrienne McDonnell
    January 1, 1970
    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 the 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.
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  • Cindi
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Riverhead Books for a complimentary copy. Review originally posted on my blog : http://utahmomslife.blogspot.com/2019...A new exclusive gifted school is being built in the pristine town of Crystal, Colorado and every parent wants the opportunity for their child. To gain admissions into this elite school, children must first test high and if they get through that first round, they must submit a portfolio with their accomplishments. Parents in Crystal are anxious to get their children ad Thanks to Riverhead Books for a complimentary copy. Review originally posted on my blog : http://utahmomslife.blogspot.com/2019...A new exclusive gifted school is being built in the pristine town of Crystal, Colorado and every parent wants the opportunity for their child. To gain admissions into this elite school, children must first test high and if they get through that first round, they must submit a portfolio with their accomplishments. Parents in Crystal are anxious to get their children admitted, including Rose and her three best friends. The group has been close friends since they met at a Mommy and Me swim class eleven years ago but now this new school and the pressures to get their kids admitted may split them apart.The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger was a delicious read. The toxic behavior of the parents is despicable and yet all too familiar. While we've been judging Hollywood moms for paying huge bribes to get their kids admitted to colleges, we can't dismiss the bad behavior of "snowplow parents" helping to get their kids in the best schools and on the best teams and in the best programs. Holsinger's novel explores this parental behavior in his compulsively readable novel.I packed The Gifted School with me to the pool. It's a great summer read with all its drama, satire and bad behavior from people who should know better. It also has a lot of valuable themes for analysis. It's not only a beach read but would make a fabulous novel for a book club discussion.I really enjoyed the novel. There was one reveal in the end that didn't work for me even though there had been plenty of foreshadowing and I saw it coming. I've had a few days since I finished reading the book to mull over my thoughts about the ending and have decided that it didn't ruin the novel. It was a lot of fun and it's for sure the best "parents behaving badly" novel since Moriarty's Big Little Lies.
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    I'm beginning my review by saying that I've seen a couple of mentions of Bruce Holsinger's new novel "The Gifted School" in articles about the college-entry scheme that has snared several Hollywood biggies and other rich parents who wanted to grease their kids' acceptance into college. This book is NOT about that, it's about younger kids in the Denver area who are competing for entry into a public magnet school for "gifted" children. There is a slight case of greasing but that seems to be coinci I'm beginning my review by saying that I've seen a couple of mentions of Bruce Holsinger's new novel "The Gifted School" in articles about the college-entry scheme that has snared several Hollywood biggies and other rich parents who wanted to grease their kids' acceptance into college. This book is NOT about that, it's about younger kids in the Denver area who are competing for entry into a public magnet school for "gifted" children. There is a slight case of greasing but that seems to be coincidental to the current day scandal. I haven't seen these comparisons made by either the author or the publisher, so they seem not to be blamed. But, please don't buy and read this book thinking it's a tell-all - it isn't.However, “The Gifted School” is not a particularly good book. Based in a Boulder-like suburb of Denver, "Crystal, Colorado" seems to have many of the same hippy liberal parents who live in Boulder. Holsinger write about four main families; the wives (or ex-wives) are close friends and definitely rule the roost in terms of family dynamics. They all have children they're trying to get into the new "Crystal Academy" - a magnet public school for K-12 graders. These children are helicoptered-parented and become mere names-in-a-book with very little individual identities. Some are excellent athletes, others excel at school, and one is also a chess-whiz. The sister of the chess-whiz is a sneaky little 16 year old who is rebelling against her widowed mother and society at large. She operates a Vlog and becomes an embarrassment to every one in the plot. There's also a boy from a poor background who is competing for entrance to the academy.Holsinger's characters are not very deep and the plot-points are easy to see coming. I read to the end of the book because I was mildly interested to see if there were any surprises; there weren't. I am somewhat disappointed the book is not better because Holsinger's two previous books were quite well-written. I have a feeling this book will become popular with book clubs because the issues raised.
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  • Deb Coco
    January 1, 1970
    This is my kind of reading candy. Many have compared this to Big, Little Lies...which I totally am on board with...although I’ve only watched that on Netflix! There is nothing moving, deep or profound here...just a juicy tale of helicopter parents behaving badly and the havoc it wreaks with their children and relationships. This is a perfect summer book- light and well paced. The characters are interesting enough, and I found myself happy to pick it up. 5 stars because it’s “good clean fun” and This is my kind of reading candy. Many have compared this to Big, Little Lies...which I totally am on board with...although I’ve only watched that on Netflix! There is nothing moving, deep or profound here...just a juicy tale of helicopter parents behaving badly and the havoc it wreaks with their children and relationships. This is a perfect summer book- light and well paced. The characters are interesting enough, and I found myself happy to pick it up. 5 stars because it’s “good clean fun” and a palate cleanser after some deeper reads, which is necessary sometimes. Read most of this on a flight and the time flew. Would recommend for all these reasons as an escape read- if you need to like characters to enjoy a novel, I’d look elsewhere.
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  • Vicki (MyArmchairAdventures)
    January 1, 1970
    Four families who’ve been friends for over ten years in an affluent Colorado community. The opening of a magnet school for the top percentage of students who test as extraordinarily gifted. Now sit back and watch the fireworks as the competitive parents lose their minds to ensure that their kids make the cut!I loved every page of THE GIFTED SCHOOL and am still in awe that a book that reads like a Liane Moriarty novel was written by a man who writes fiction and non-fiction about Medieval times. O Four families who’ve been friends for over ten years in an affluent Colorado community. The opening of a magnet school for the top percentage of students who test as extraordinarily gifted. Now sit back and watch the fireworks as the competitive parents lose their minds to ensure that their kids make the cut!I loved every page of THE GIFTED SCHOOL and am still in awe that a book that reads like a Liane Moriarty novel was written by a man who writes fiction and non-fiction about Medieval times. One of my favorite books of the summer for sure!
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  • Stacey A. Prose and Palate
    January 1, 1970
    "Parents always want to manage the narrative instead of letting kids write their own."THIS. BOOK. My dear friend Megan gave me a push to jump in to this one when she said it was BETTER THAN Big Little Lies so I spent my weekend lost in the world of accelerated classes, standardized test preps, crazy, competitive parents manipulating the system and insane extracurricular activities. The competitive claws are out in this addictive and scandalous story that is just as much a blistering commentary o "Parents always want to manage the narrative instead of letting kids write their own."THIS. BOOK. My dear friend Megan gave me a push to jump in to this one when she said it was BETTER THAN Big Little Lies so I spent my weekend lost in the world of accelerated classes, standardized test preps, crazy, competitive parents manipulating the system and insane extracurricular activities. The competitive claws are out in this addictive and scandalous story that is just as much a blistering commentary on privilege, class and social status as it is a page out of Aunt Becky's "How to Cheat Your Way In to an Elite School" handbook. The story is definitely a slow build and there are a TON of characters to keep up with initially, but hang in there! Once you become familiar with who's who and are settled in to the narratives of the five families, you will find yourself completely sucked in and unable to put this one down. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that this is hands down, one of my favorites of the year. The Gifted School is a July Book of the Month pick and releases in book stores everywhere today!!! RUN and get your copy.
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  • Allie Larkin
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Ilene Harris
    January 1, 1970
    “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 th “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.
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  • Amy lifewiththe_williams
    January 1, 1970
    So this book reads like an intellectual soap opera. There’s plenty of relationship issues, friendship, sibling rivalry.. I have to say that I feel like if you have or have had a child who goes to a gifted school or has tried to get into one, this book will really resonate with you. I have had 3 children in gifted schools, still have one at one, and so this book was right up my alley. When it described the anxiety and stress of waiting to hear if your child was accepted, I KNOW that anxiety. When So this book reads like an intellectual soap opera. There’s plenty of relationship issues, friendship, sibling rivalry.. I have to say that I feel like if you have or have had a child who goes to a gifted school or has tried to get into one, this book will really resonate with you. I have had 3 children in gifted schools, still have one at one, and so this book was right up my alley. When it described the anxiety and stress of waiting to hear if your child was accepted, I KNOW that anxiety. When it describes the confusion of trying to decide “is this right for my child”.. I have felt that! I think it’s very clear that Bruce Holsinger either has/had a child at gifted school or did amazing research because this book was SPOT ON. If you have a child at gifted school, thinking of trying to get yours in OR you like family dramas, Big Little Lies-type fiction PICK THIS BOOK UP JULY 2!! MARK YOUR CALENDARS!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
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  • Jillian Doherty
    January 1, 1970
    For fans of Emma Straub and Celeste Ng this domestic narrative tackles family / social inequality toward our expectations, feelings, privilege, and persistence across what we think we deserve and how we approach/earn it.As a new parent myself this story was as fascinating as it was intimidatingly enlightening~In the beginning we’re introduced to a number of families, bonded by their circumstances, and their desire to see the kids excel. But with the new magnet school opening up a deep competitio For fans of Emma Straub and Celeste Ng this domestic narrative tackles family / social inequality toward our expectations, feelings, privilege, and persistence across what we think we deserve and how we approach/earn it.As a new parent myself this story was as fascinating as it was intimidatingly enlightening~In the beginning we’re introduced to a number of families, bonded by their circumstances, and their desire to see the kids excel. But with the new magnet school opening up a deep competition unfurls; we see families divide, friends become competitive and self-serving, and the smart children grow under the pressure. Some become better, while other manipulate.The story in these pages are all too well understood, and comes to hey spectacular climax!
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