Free Two-Day Shipping on Select Orders
Close

Trust Exercise

(10 customer reviews)

$15.99$27.00

by Susan Choi

Synopsis

WINNER OF THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Electrifying” (People) • “Masterly” (The Guardian) • “Dramatic and memorable” (The New Yorker) • “Magic” (TIME) • **“**Ingenious” (The Financial Times) • “A gonzo literary performance” (Entertainment Weekly) • “Rare and splendid” (The Boston Globe) • “Remarkable” (USA Today) • “Delicious” (The New York Times) • “Book groups, meet your next selection” (NPR)

In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving “Brotherhood of the Arts,” two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.

The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school’s walls—until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true—though it’s not false, either. It takes until the book’s stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place—revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.

As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.

>  GET THE E-BOOK  <

Clear
Categories: , , , Tags: , ,

About this book

335 Pages
7 - 8 Hours to read
95k Total words

Description

WINNER OF THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Electrifying” (People
 “Masterly” (The Guardian “Dramatic and memorable” (The New Yorker “Magic” (TIME• Ingenious” (The Financial Times “A gonzo literary performance” (Entertainment Weekly “Rare and splendid” (The Boston Globe “Remarkable” (USA Today• “Delicious” (The New York Times “Book groups, meet your next selection” (NPR)

In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving “Brotherhood of the Arts,” two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.

The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school’s walls—until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true—though it’s not false, either. It takes until the book’s stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place—revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.

As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.

Additional information

FORMAT

Hardcover, Paperback

10 reviews for Trust Exercise

  1. Bibliophile

    I hated this book. My suggestion: follow your instinct. If you don’t like it after the first few/several pages, stop reading.I kept reading and reading, thinking I’d start caring about one or more of the characters. I never did. It was a waste of time. I read all the way to the end, and it got worse and worse.

  2. Readerly

    My understanding is that the structure of this book is what’s brilliant about it. It’s been quite buzzed about, and I was expecting something perhaps like Notes on a Scandal.However, I was so turned off by the self-conscious writing style and distant narration I quit reading on page 8. Here’s the line that made me drop the book – for context, two teenagers are making out:”He realized with a shock that it needn’t be thus.”Done, but I rated this two stars because I can see how others might not mind being so distant from the characters or have writing this stilted.

  3. nashvillegirl

    This was a hard book to review, and in some ways, is a perfect example of why I wish there was the ability to give a book 3.5 stars instead of having to choose between three and four stars. The summary of the book provided in the description gives the reader the basics – it starts out at a performing arts school for high schoolers, with a focus on Sarah and David and their romance in front of their classmates and teacher. It then goes into the future with unique twists in the narrative format to make the reader question what they have read or to see it from a different view. I’m hesitant to say any more than that, as it would risk spoiling the book. “Trust exercise” refers to exercises in the performing arts school, but it also refers to the reader needing to trust the author.On the plus side, I’m impressed that the author provided something new with this book. It’s difficult to find experimental formats that work, and it’s even harder to write them. I was surprised by the changes in format and didn’t really see them coming. Choi’s writing is crisp – she doesn’t waste words – and she sets scenes up well. I had a clear picture in my mind of the school and the theater. She hits the right notes with the time setting (the early 80s) and her descriptions of the clothes the teenagers wear fit in with that time period. I’ll also note that while Choi does not specifically name the large southern city in which the book was set, I’m pretty sure I know what city it is supposed to be or resemble, and the descriptions are stunningly on point.On the negative side, I feel that to really enjoy a book like this, you have to be invested in the characters. Most of the characters are fairly unlikeable, and while it’s definitely not a requirement to like a character in order to enjoy a book, a reader still needs to be invested or engaged with them in some format. I just couldn’t get there with these characters. I did not like or have a lot of sympathy for Sarah, even for some of her hardships which were likely designed to elicit sympathy from the reader, and the rest of the characters weren’t much better. I felt like I had to push myself through the first 200 pages of the book and it wasn’t until after that point that I felt more invested – and given that the book only has a little over 250 pages, it would have been beneficial to be engaged before that point. Furthermore, even at the end, I wasn’t entirely satisfied. I thought that the story would redeem itself then – and to some point it does – but I definitely still had questions after finishing reading. This might be partially the fault of the book’s summary, as it states that the final piece of the puzzle falls into place and truths will be revealed, but it’s also entirely possible I’m missing something.Overall, this one will definitely get mixed reviews. I suspect some people will give up about 50 pages into it, some people will be in the middle like me, and some people will absolutely love it. I know that after it’s released, I’ll be looking for discussions and forums on the internet to see what others thought and if there were meanings that I missed. One final piece of advice – don’t pick this one up for a time when you need a book to get through quickly. Although I read it in about two days, I wondered if reading it at a slower speed would have been more beneficial.

  4. Deedi Brown

    Thank you so much, NetGalley and Henry Holt, for the advanced reading copy of this book. I so enjoyed it. FYI to all: It’s going to be published this coming Tuesday, April 9th. And you gotta read it.Trust Exercise is going to be a hard book to review without spoilers (but I shall attempt). So much of what makes it great is in the surprises you get along the way as a reader. So you’re just going to have to trust me when I tell you that this book was really, really good.One thing to know: The prose in this book is like poetry. It’s like music. It’s breathtaking and poignant and takes you on an emotional trip. If you love to read prose like that, then this book is absolutely for you. But if that kind of musical, somewhat flowery prose isn’t your style, no big; this one might not be for you.The book opens from the almost-constant perspective of Sarah, a 15-year-old girl who attends a local high school for performing arts students. She and David have passionate summer love affair. But when they get back to school in the fall, their own inherent differences and the constant teenage-mixed-with-competitive-acting-class drama … splinters things. Sarah doesn’t quite know what happened and yet also knows full well what happened, and that’s pretty much how she lives her life.I wish I could tell you more, but it really would spoil it, so I’m going to stop there. But the dust jacket does a good job with this description: “A shocking spiral of events catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down.”I will say this: The book doesn’t read as though a teenager is narrating it. I have read some reviews that say the characters are just not believable as teenagers, but I kind of think that’s the point. Who among us hasn’t looked back at our teenage selves and thought, “Wow, if I had only known then what I know now.” or “Yeah at the time, I thought X, or I thought that I knew everything about Y, but wow, I was so wrong.” That’s what this narrative does. It gives us a bird’s-eye, more adult view of what these characters are thinking, feeling, and doing. Which is a whole thing in and of itself.Here are some words from the book’s description that might seem overused, but could not be more true about this book: “Narrative-upending.” “Truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.” “Captivating.” “Tender.” “Surprising.”Read it.

  5. Experienced as…

    “Trust …” opens with a school teacher directing students into an unavoidably, perhaps even intentional sexually arousing social exercise without any suggestion for attending to one’s own or others boundaries. Disaster! If you’ve informed yourself before reading it you know eventually Choi will lead the reader to consider decision making choices. But, without that clear information up front by the time Choi gets to invaluable boundary considerations it’s far too late.I’m a counselor who has dealt with various levels of pain from irresponsible behavior with children. I find this book dangerous for many and think all those involved in promoting this book should be aware of its dangers and market it directly paired with informed cautions. For the reader to be put in a teenager’s learning environment with at that point no hint of recognized impropriety is unacceptable and unfair to every child or young person who is exposed to this book. “Trust Ex..” is more irresponsible teen exploitation than it is a coming of age novel. It’s written by an author who is a clever wordsmith but who has not sufficiently understood her topic and the real possibilities of destructive impact from the earliest pages of her story. I get that Choi wants to explore serious decision making and I heartily agree it’s a useful subject. But Choi hasn’t taken responsibility for the order of impact and information this book will likely have on young readers.

  6. Amazon Customer

    I see one star and five star reviews and I guess I am part of the half that just didn’t get this book. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and didn’t understand the ending. It felt like the author was deliberately complicating the language and the sentences just for the sake of it. It took me a long time to read because I wasn’t enjoying it.

  7. nancytik

    There ought to be more reviews for this book and it should have a higher rating. I’m guessing some people pick it up thinking it’s grown-up YA of a sort–it’s set in a performing arts high school–and/or because they wonder what the “surprise twist” is. Or they’ve seen reviews about how the book has a #MeToo message. Then they get frustrated because it doesn’t fit neatly into any fictional category (the issue of categorization is at one point addressed in the book itself) or wrap up tidily. It actually ends on a rather sad and disturbing note, with readers having to draw their own conclusions about many details. But I really admired the risks Choi takes and the questions she raises; I wound up going back through the entire novel a second time. Plus, Choi is dramatically insightful, skillful at characterization and has a fabulous ear for dialogue. Certainly the book didn’t bear much resemblance to my own teenaged life but it didn’t feel at all implausible to me; I was wrapped up in its world. I suppose, as many reviewers have pointed out, there’s a passing resemblance to “Asymmetry,” which I loved. In its intense, frank descriptions of teen eroticism, the novel reminded me also of Pamela Erens’ “The Virgins.” But “Trust Exercise” is sui generis–haven’t read anything quite like it before. Pick it up if you have a literary bent, not for a purely entertaining read.

  8. Audrey D

    Can I give it zero stars please? Never written a review of a book on Amazon but this was just so awful, so bad, I could not help it.For me the writing style is too wordy, belabored, and wanting to be something, I’m not sure what, angsty-artsy perhaps? If you think or speak in the style that Choi writes you may love this book. None of the characters had any qualities that could make me like them or potentially have empathy for them. Everyone is manipulating and no one can be their true self. I forced myself to get to the 2nd part knowing there was some change in story. While yes their was a change, the writing was even worse for me. I skimmed to the end and was underwhelmed, again no moment to make me like anything about this book or any character.If you are not captured or riveted in the first few pages, stop and save yourself. If it works for you, then by all means read on.

  9. classicist

    The writing was pedestrian and the structure felt gimmicky rather than experimental or innovative. The last section that was supposed to tie everything together felt melodramatic, exaggerated, too-villainous-to-be-true. Overall it was just flat-footed.

  10. CG

    I kept reading this book because I wanted it to get better. Then I just wanted it to be over. And now I just want my time back. I read quite a bit and this was the worst book I have encountered in ages.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.