Book Review: The Gifted School

THE GIFTED SCHOOL | Bruce Holsinger
07.02.2019 | Riverhead
Rating: 4/5 stars

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The town of Crystal, Colorado is slated to have a new school for gifted students opening in the near future. In an area filled with private institutions for the gifted, this school offers something unique. This school is a public school where potential students must compete through a series of tests for admission. There are no special allowances for wealth or family connections, instead the admission process is based solely on the children’s abilities. 

This is the story of the dramatics that ensue between a community of friends and parents all working towards one goal, getting their children the best of the best in education. This time around money can’t buy what these parents want and they are not afraid to risk friendships to achieve their goals. 

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THE GIFTED SCHOOL is an intense examination into the lives of several families who are competing for their children to be placed in a new gifted school. Holsinger gives the reader a look into each family, their connections to each other, and their children’s feelings throughout the story. I loved getting a peak behind the curtain to the truth about what was going on with each family and how this competition was impacting their daily lives. By no means are these characters portrayed as likeable, but they’re extremely realistic. I think at the core every parent is willing to go to great lengths for their children. These parents were just a little more interested in playing dirty.

Holsinger keeps the reader on their toes as he rapidly alternates between various characters. It can be a lot to take in within the first handful of chapters as the reader is sorting out who belongs to which family. I have read a lot of books where authors have gone over the top with character perspectives, but I didn’t find Holsinger’s lengthy inclusion of characters to be troublesome. I think what helped most with this was that Holsinger chose to use core characters, like Rose, as the main perspectives where the reader gains the meat of the story. The other perspectives were there to round out the narrative and show the alternate viewpoints of the events going on. These alternate narratives also provided a different perspective between the classes of the families being featured throughout, which I thought was a nice touch given the overwhelmingly wealthy backgrounds of the majority of those narrating.

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I chose to listen to this book on audio and thought the narrator, Janey LaVoy, did a wonderful job of bringing the characters and story to life. Since this book is a bit outside of my normal choice in genre, I felt that the audio really helped me get into the right mood and mindset to truly enjoy this book to the fullest. I would highly recommend this one to fans of books like BIG LITTLE LIES. If you’re looking for a drama filled contemporary book, this is definitely the one for you!


This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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