The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger

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 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 subject of parents charging past every ethical restraint in pursuit of crème de la crème education could not be more timely, and the Big Little Lies treatment creates a deliciously repulsive and eerily current page-turner.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 

“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.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

“This bright, and expertly observed novel looks at what happens to friends and families when an exclusive new school opens, and having a “special” kid becomes the most sought-after luxury. It might sound familiar, but rest assured it’s a novel.” – Town & Country Magazine 

“Holsinger’s prose is nonintrusive; he offers up his characters without judgment, although each parental blunder evokes a gleeful schadenfreude and demonstrates the ease with which morals are abandoned to protect one’s own.” – The Paris Review 

“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.” – Gilly Macmillan, author of What She Knew 

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