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The Gifted School

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  4,495 ratings  ·  749 reviews
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 conflic
Hardcover, 450 pages
Published July 2nd 2019 by Riverhead
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Bruce Holsinger Ha! Great question. I mean, on a personal level? Pretty bad. Not earth-shattering but I hope shocking and, given the theme of the novel, fitting.…moreHa! Great question. I mean, on a personal level? Pretty bad. Not earth-shattering but I hope shocking and, given the theme of the novel, fitting. Thanks for asking!(less)
Melodi The relationships between 4 families, the parents and their children. A new gifted school is being built and everyone wants to go. What people will…moreThe relationships between 4 families, the parents and their children. A new gifted school is being built and everyone wants to go. What people will really say and do to make the cut! (less)

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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,495 ratings  ·  749 reviews

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Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Literary Fiction, Fans of books about Parents behaving badly.
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.

Feb 17, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: arcstack
i got this ARC.

i am on the fence about it.

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

Renee (itsbooktalk)
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Larry H
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
"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 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
Megan C.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2019
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
Ron Charles
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.

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
Gilly Macmillan
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
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 ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Cody | codysbookshelf
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Kate ☀️ Olson
(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 ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
⭐⭐⭐⭐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.
Denise  Reed
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Tracy Challis
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
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
Adrienne McDonnell
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Thanks to Riverhead Books for a complimentary copy.

Review originally posted on my blog :

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
Jill Meyer
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Deb Coco
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Vicki (MyArmchairAdventures)
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Stacey A.  Prose and Palate
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
"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
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Big Little Lies fans won't want to miss,  The Gifted School which promises to be the next juicy summer drama to love! I read this in a weekend and loved the way Holsinger challenges us to exam our role as parents of gifted children as well as the difficulties of being a gifted child.

This read also couldn't be more appropriately timed to the current admissions scandal that is makin
Allie Larkin
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Compulsively readable but mannnnnn did I despise all of the characters. They all seemed like such miserable people. Ugh. 2.5 stars rounded up.
Ilene Harris
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“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 ...more
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Book of The Month: The Gifted School 1 24 Jun 29, 2019 07:48AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions - "The Gifted School" by Bruce W Holsinger 2 14 May 25, 2019 03:03AM  
Bruce Holsinger is a fiction writer and scholar of medieval literature who teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. His first two novels, A BURNABLE BOOK and THE INVENTION OF FIRE, are set in and around medieval London, where the poets Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower spent much of their lives. His third novel, THE GIFTED SCHOOL, will appear from Riverhead Books in summer 2019.

He i