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Accelerated

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3.30  ·  Rating details ·  930 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Every afternoon Sean Benning picks up his son, Toby, on the marble steps that lead into the prestigious Bradley School. Everything at Bradley is accelerated—3rd graders read at the 6th grade level, they have labs and facilities to rival most universities, and the chess champions are the bullies. A single dad and struggling artist, Sean sticks out like a sore thumb amongst ...more
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published October 10th 2012 by Pegasus Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Lauradownsify
Aug 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a highly impairing condition, associated with impulsivity, increased risk of substance abuse, risky sexual behavior,and increased risk of physical injury, just to name a few. By propagating the myth that this diagnosis is given to children who just have a harder time paying attention, this author is undercutting the validity of a condition which has a broad negative impact on the lives of those it affects. This author has no idea what she's talking abo ...more
Jeff
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was looking through the goodreads reviews of Hruska's beautifully written first book and realized that some readers don't see it as a novel (which it is), but rather as the author's Op-Ed on ADHD (which it is not). I can't imagine what I would conclude about Stephen King if I decided his protagonists were reflections of his personal philosophy, as opposed to the fruit of his creativity and hard work.

I loved Accelerated. It's a novel about a father doing battle against a New York private schoo
...more
Beverly
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
the abuse of drugs at elementary prep schools, I had no idea this was a thing.
Beth Knight
Feb 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debra Martin
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
How far would you go to help your child get ahead at school? This is the question being put to Sean Benning. His son Toby is in third grade at the prestigious Bradley School. The outrageous tuition is being paid his wife's parents. When the wife takes off, Sean is left to pick up the pieces and take care of everything to do with Toby's education. When the school starts pressuring Sean to put Toby on ADHD medication, he balks at the idea, but reluctantly he gives in. He mistakenly believes that ...more
Laura
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
The best thing about this book is the author's name. Okay, maybe it's not that bad but it certainly could have been better. The sex is gratuitous, and unbelievable, the plot is so thin that it's see-through, and the ending is pat and trite. In addition, Hruska throws around a lot of factoids about ADHD and the drugs used to treat it as if she has researched it. Unfortunately she does not include sources for her information thus raising questions about their validity. This is just irresponsible. ...more
Orland Outland
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Very much the work of a "Lifetime movie" scriptwriter...the "big crisis" occurs exactly 2/3 of the way through. The research is almost literally cut and pasted in, in the form of article titles, etc. The "reveal" of the private school's dark secret is preposterous, as is the ridiculously happy ending in absolutely every way for absolutely every major "good" character, and the bad end for all the "bad" ones that it boggles description. The relationship between the mentally ill mother and the main ...more
Joni Daniels
Jan 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Children as resume: this book explores the pressure on parents from internal needs, social pressure, school, medical and psychologocal porfessional option/advice/influence an the potential consequences when things don't go according to plan. While I'll admit to finding Dad Sean's behavior wanting (he has no strong inner voice, seems baffled that he has grown up to be a father, husband, employee, has sex without thinking much about the consequences beyond the actual act) I also get that this is t ...more
Melissa Lee-Tammeus
Dec 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed
I am still not sure how I feel about this book. It makes me really want to do my homework on ADHD and ADD. And I question if this was a political and medical war cry disguised as fiction. How true are all the facts spouted in the book and could this really happen? Maybe and probably does already. It definitely makes one question the use of psychotic drugs in children and this ideal of pushing our kids to the limits of academic achievements. Not sure I really cared about the characters, but I cou ...more
Juliet
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I feel so lucky I got to read this book in galley way before all the press about it started--it's fun watching everybody else start discovering something you already know is pretty great.

The story is definitely entertaining and page-turning, but aside from the fact that this book is a great read, the eye-opening factor is very high. The reality of prescription drug usage against the backdrop of an education system that overburdens students, teachers, administrators and parents is something that
...more
Kristin Strong
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Interesting premise. Main character well-enough drawn. But VERY poorly edited. Limited vocabulary -- people "whine" too much. Misspellings galore: for example, a song does not have a baseline; it has a BASS LINE. A large group of beings is not a hoard; it is a HORDE. Inconsistencies in narrative: When the main character is upset on the phone, he opens the conversation by "screaming"; later on he is just "almost shouting" at her. It's irritating. And I'm SICK of books where characters meet, screw ...more
Christa
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was just not a good book. I decided to give this a shot because the subject--over-medication of kids at swanky NYC private schools--seemed pretty interesting, but the story definitely didn't live up to it.

What went wrong? The whole thing just wasn't believable. The author seemed to have a hard time nailing down how an 8-year-old kid should act, making the kid seem more like a 5 year old in some spots but with the maturity of a high schooler in others. The grandparents were one-dimensionall
...more
Pete Danko
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bronwen Hruska spins a great tale here that -- especially if you are a parent, and even more so if you are a parent of a boy -- will get you thinking long and hard about how hard to push your kids and what to expect from them. Ms. Hruska has a lot of fun skewering the Manhattanites who send their charges to exclusive schools -- and you'll have fun reading about them -- but not too much fun; it's all rather disturbing, with a larger social commentary emerging about a culture increasingly disconne ...more
Randy Briggs
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it


This novel started out as a satire of Upper East Side schools, the students, and their parents. Then about halfway in, it turns into a child-drugging conspiracy. Having worked in schools, I found this premise totally believable . In my schools, there are large numbers of children on ADD meds, and each classroom has at least four personal monitors to assist these children. I enjoyed BOTH parts of the book. The second half was a tense, gripping tale about unraveling a conspiracy. As I said before
...more
Alyssa
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Despite being released in tasteful hardcover, this is the same kind of trashy thriller as The Select, with an evil private school instead of an evil med school. It actually reads as a pretty good parody of that type of book, which I can only hope was the author's intent.
Amy
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Stereotypical chick lit crammed with a heavy-handed, fairly preachy message about how society is overmedicating kids for ADD/ADHD. I don't have a problem with the message itself, but the book isn't particularly well written.
Leslie Klingensmith
Mar 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Not especially good writing, but a well told story. Gripping and terrifying.
Darren Standar
Aug 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
Pandering garbage. Without the porn, no one would read this.

More anti-psychiatry screed. No imagination.
Dawn
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Really important topic, private schools pushing parents to get students evaluated for ADHD diagnosis in order to get them on ADD drugs to raise their academic performance but not very well written.
Torey
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brenda
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enlightening and scary story about how a school wanting to be the best goes overboard by putting most of the kids on Ritalin. My cousin was put on Ritalin, because he was considered hyperactive, truth was he has terrible parents but the Ritalin led to other drugs like crack, heroin, LSD. I am for helping kids with ADD, ADHD, etc but not with Ritalin. There's too many alternatives out there to be giving kids dope.
Joe Stafura
David vs.Goliath

Interesting story with some information on social situations that are heard about on occasion but likely more common than believed. Big pharmaceuticals are the villains and children are the victims, but with a happy ending out of the 1950’s.
Lauren Hopkins
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Booooooooo. I saw this on the "recommended" table of my local bookstore and they usually have pretty great new fiction spread out that might not get the same recognition at a chain bookstore. I've always picked up great books I wouldn't have otherwise found, but this one was a total dud. Why was it on the table, then? Because it takes place in my neighborhood so I'm assuming the author lives there (assuming because she did very little research on most things but the research about 110th and Broa ...more
Amy
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

I am a public school kid all the way. Public elementary, junior high, high school, college, and graduate school. In-state tuition! Holla!!!

I even teach at a public school. So private school is something of a a foreign entity to me. I hear the stories of elitism, parents who buy their kids out of trouble and into swanky private universities, spoiled brats who aren't as smart as they think they are. But how much of that is clouded by public school jealousy over private school perks?

This n
...more
Julie G
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Virtually plucked from the headlines, Accelerated explores the pressures on schools and students to meet performance standards. And the lengths to which some of them go to achieve the impossible.

Including drugging children who don't quite measure up.

Sean Benning, suddenly a single parent, is struggling to cope with his wife's abandonment, his son's grief, and The Bradley School - an Upper East Side elitist academy where learning is accelerated and performance is everything. Add in a crappy job w
...more
Hannah
Apr 09, 2013 added it
In the fast-paced city of New York, the learning of the students at Bradley School is just as fast-paced. Eight-year-olds compose music, write essays, do algebra too advanced for their parents, and dine on salmon and lamb in the cafeteria, which is adjacent to the state-of-the-art computer lab.


The school seeks to educate the next generation of high-powered politicians, scientists, major league athletes, and high society figures. All they can offer is the best that money can buy, and money is s
...more
Vivek Tejuja
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
A lot is expected from children these days. Actually, let me change that: Everything is expected from children these days. Even advertising for them is centered on faster, stronger, brighter, and smarter. That is the pre-requisite it seems of having a child and amidst all this I have often wondered how schools have changed. From what they used to be to what they have become. I often think children are not what they used to be – there are a lot of areas to cater to – studies, sports, and the extr ...more
Jenny
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-challenge
Via NetGalley

Sean's wife, Ellie, left him and their eight-year-old son, Toby, four months ago. Sean and Toby are getting by, but Sean is under pressure from the Bradley school - an expensive, exclusive, elite private Manhattan prep school (Toby's tuition is paid for by Ellie's parents) - to have Toby evaluated for ADD/ADHD and put on medication. Neither Sean nor Toby's tutor, Noah, nor Toby's new teacher, Jess Harper, think Toby needs the meds, but the school keeps pushing, and eventually Sean c
...more
Kaitlin
Sep 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
I guess this is just a personal pet peeve, but I wanted to take a red pen and cross off all the modifiers in this book. Here are some examples from just three paragraphs at the beginning of the first chapter:

mirrored
longing
glowed like a vision
sudden
overdressed
growled (OK, this is a verb, but come on)
tanned
shiny white
all-white
dark
drunker
tight
designer
fitted
gold
strangely
bare
two scoops of cleavage being offered on the gold tray of her dress

This is followed by a weird sex scene between the protagonis
...more
Sabriena
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok


I just finished reading Accelerated: A Novel by Bronwen Hruska and although it was enjoyable I am not quite sure if the book was to bring on a point of private school systems, kids bring misdiagnosed with ADD and ADHD, or how being a single father is really hard. Either way the storyline about the medication was really interesting as I have no experience with private schools and how they would want to push their students to being the "best that they can be".

Sean Benning is separated from his wi
...more
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I'm the Publisher of Soho Press and love my job. I get to read amazing books and bring the ones I love best into the world. I'm thrilled that this October, Pegasus Books will publish my first novel, ACCELERATED, about a father and son and the over-medication of school-age kids in this country. Before Soho, I was on staff at Entertainment Weekly, and my articles have appeared in The New York Times, ...more
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