cover image The Gifted School

The Gifted School

Bruce Holsinger. Riverhead, $26 (464p) ISBN 978-0-525-53496-9

In this sharply entertaining novel from Holsinger (The Invention of Fire), Crystal, Colo., is an affluent community where a new gifted magnet school for grades six through 12 will soon open. With limited spaces available, the competition among parents to get their offspring into the school, called the “Stuyvesant of the Rockies,” turns ruthless. Dr. Rose Holland, a pediatric neurologist, uses her position to gather inside information that could be vital for her daughter, Emma Q’s, admission. Queen bee Samantha Zeller and her moneyman husband, Kevin, are not above lying about the IQ test results of their daughter, Emma Z. Divorced Azra and Beck are forced to deal with the emotional fallout when the admission process causes friction between their twin sons. And single mother Lauren’s daughter, Tessa, recently out of rehab, keeps a video blog that sees through all the adult pretensions around her. As the application process spools out, it pits parent against parent, student against student, and spouse against spouse until relationships are frayed to the breaking point and betrayals build to a shattering climax during an open house at the new school. 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. [em](July) [/em]