The Gifted School and The Substitution Order
Title: Summer Reading: Grab Up These Hot, Newly Released Novels from Virginia Authors
Sidebar: This summer, dive into a smart legal thriller and a high-stakes story of school admissions
Written by: Rhiannon Johnson
Photography: provided by publishers
The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger (releasing July 2, 2019)
Charlottesville resident and University of Virginia professor, Bruce Holsinger, delivers an addictively voyeuristic look at the lengths ambitious parents will go for their children when a new gifted school opens in their community. Four young couples who have happily raised their families together for over a decade while striving to balance careers, parenthood, and marriage find that trying to secure a coveted spot for their children in the new school becomes one pressure too many. Cracks begin to form, relationships become strained, and past problems resurface between friends, spouses, and siblings. As parents pit their children against each other in their aggressive pursuit of prestige, the previously close-knit community begins to unravel, with simmering resentments finally boiling over and long-held secrets destroying families and freindships. Told from multiple (child and adult) perspectives and peppered with vlog entries, texts, and standardized testing questions, this addictive and darkly entertaining novel captures a fictional community’s obsession with achievement. However, in the age of debates around public, private, and charter schools, and in light of the recent college bribery scandals, The Gifted School also stands as a timely social commentary on privilege, meritocracy, race, class, elitism, and ethical standards in modern America.
The Substitution Order by Martin Clark (releasing July 9, 2019)
Author Martin Clark draws on his nearly thirty years of experience as a (now retired) Virginia circuit court judge to create a meticulously plotted novel full of legal traps and tricks that will have you rooting for its underdog main character while wondering how he will outsmart everyone conspiring against him. After being disbarred and separating from his wife, Kevin Moore trades in his suits and legal pads for an apron and a hairnet—to work at SUBstitution sandwich shop. His days are mind-numbingly full of preparing complicated phone orders for nearby factory staff and dealing with problematic locals. Determined to set his life right by quietly passing his days working at SUBstitution, Kevin initially refuses a mysterious man’s proposition to profit off a multimillion-dollar scam built around Kevin’s own disbarment. Days later Kevin realizes the proposition wasn’t actually an option but a threat. Armed with his legal savvy, a twenty-year-old computer-whiz coworker, and a rambunctious rescue puppy, Kevin fights to clear his name, retaliate against an onslaught of blackmail, and stay out of prison while attempting to expose a crew of high-powered con artists. Cleverly written and packed with frustrating legal loopholes and court system roadblocks, The Substitution Order is a whip-smart page turner that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.