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Trust Exercise
Trust Exercise: A Novel | Susan Choi
Pulitzer Finalist Susan Choi's narrative-upending novel about what happens when a first love between high school students is interrupted by the attentions of a charismatic teacher. In 1982 in a southern city, David and Sarah, two freshmen at a highly competitive performing arts high school, thrive alongside their school peers in a rarified bubble, ambitiously devoting themselves to their studies - to music, to movement, to Shakespeare and, particularly, to classes taught by the magnetic acting teacher Mr. Kingsley. It is here in these halls that David and Sarah fall innocently and powerfully into first love. And also where, as this class of students rises through the ranks of high school, the outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and the future, does not affect them - until it does - in a sudden spiral of events that brings a startling close to the first part of this novel.In the book's second part, the reader immediately and surprisingly learns that what we understood to have happened thus far in the story is not completely true, though it's not entirely false either. The plot thickens and speeds up and tightens, until, with a stunning coda, the author reveals a final piece of the puzzle that makes this novel shock and resonate long after the final sentence.As captivating and tender as it is brilliantly surprising, Trust Exercise will not only incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, about friendships and loyalties, but also leave readers with wise impressions about the capacities of adolescents and the powers and responsibilities of adults.
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BooksForEmpathy
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Pickpick

I‘ve been in a bit of a reading rut and Susan Choi‘s novel was everything I wanted and didn‘t even know I needed.

I loved the structure and the story (with A+ themes of memory, first love, artistic endeavors, power and abuse, relationships between mentors and students) and most importantly, how Choi forced me to take an active role in what I was doing + reading + believing. Reading is a “trust exercise” itself, and this realization was thrilling.

67 likes2 stack adds
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BooksForEmpathy
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Yesterday was really nice 💕.

I have about 50 pages left in this book and I think it‘s exquisite. It‘s subtle and can be dense, yet I was all in from the first “trust exercise” the characters take part in. I loved participating in drama therapy exercises in grad school and this reminds me of how immersive, terrifying, and deeply cathartic they can be.

saresmoore ♥️♥️♥️ 6d
BarbaraBB That picture 😍 6d
72 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Redwritinghood
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Mehso-so

Probably my biggest issue with this book is that I just didn‘t care what happened to any of the characters. They were all drawn as petty children, parochial in their own sense of their worldliness. I think that was intentional, but even unlikable characters can be interesting if there is a story that works. This one doesn‘t. The first part is very dramatic. The second part switches to a different character‘s POV. The ending - 🤷🏻‍♀️ Maybe 2.5⭐️

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Kleonard
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed the first half of this book much more than the second half. 😐

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andytbarnes
Pickpick

I know art is subjective and all of that but I am baffled by the low review scores on this one. Respectfully think Littens missed the mark on this. 31% pick what may go down as my favorite read of 2019, weird! A destabilizing read, Choi‘s crafted something bold. Something that expertly meditates on memory, autonomy, and the nature of fiction itself. Clearly not for everyone but for those after something unsettling, I found it supremely rewarding.

REPollock I get the idea that people like to hate on Susan Choi. I haven‘t read this one yet but I found the two books of hers I have read really thought-provoking and they both had a lot of haters. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 2w
suzisteffen Immediate stack add! Also, hmmmmmmm, why DO people hate on Susan Choi? 2w
BeckyMerilatt I loved it too! I think it‘s a really important book as well. The fluidity if the truth etc. Very timely. 2w
8little_paws This was my first Susan Choi. I got really sick of the teens in part 1, having just finished employment at a public arts school just like in the book, and I struggled to re-engage after that. 6d
32 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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ferskner
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This is FABULOUS idea @wanderinglynn! Since my surgeries two (!) years ago, my physical activity has tanked and I feel it every day in so many ways. Therefore my goal is 30+ minutes of any kind of physical activity per day (cardio, leisurely walks, strength training, yoga, etc.), and 12 books read. Join in, everyone!

#bookfitnesschallenge

wanderinglynn Yay! 🙌🏻 Welcome aboard! Great goals. 👍🏻 3w
Kaye 💚 3w
Reecaspieces Awesome 3w
68 likes3 comments
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8little_paws
Mehso-so

Reminds me so much of Asymmetry but not as interesting to read IMO. I couldn't connect with these kids at all, and the ending didn't pull it together. Interesting concept though.

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BookishMarginalia
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Bailedbailed

Kirkus, you have failed me! It gave a star to this book and I usually agree with its reviewers, but not this time. I hated the characters. I hated the writing style (no, sentence fragments for no reason are not “exquisite”). I hated the setting. And when the first narrative turn came out of nowhere on page 132, I bailed. Life‘s too short and I really hated this book.

BookishMarginalia If you want a much more entertaining book with the same type of bratty, theater-type teens at an “elite” program, try 1mo
Velvetfur Sorry to hear of your bad experience 🙁 1mo
merelybookish Lots of conflicting opinions about this one! Raves and pans! 1mo
Alfoster Rats! I bought this because BookRiot praised it! But I loved so totally agree! 1mo
122 likes4 comments
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TheNerdyProfessor
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I do not understand the rave reviews of this book. I've spent a few days contemplating the ending and at the end of the day: I feel like this whole novel was pointless. I understand the structure of the novel and have worked through the "twist" but I just feel as though this book was a waste of time. Yes all the characters are connected, but to no discernible end. ⭐⭐⭐ is generous.

What do others think? Did I miss something?

Redwritinghood Waiting to get this from the library. Reviews have been all over the place. 1mo
TheNerdyProfessor @Redwritinghood When you do get this from the library I would be very interested in your thoughts. I agree - the reviews are polarized! 1mo
sbains1980 Was curious about this one....thnx for your thoughts! 1mo
BookishMarginalia I hated it. I forced myself to finish the first part but when the first “turn” in the narrative arrived on page 132 I just wanted to throw the book out the window. I cannot understand the reviews either. 1mo
TheNerdyProfessor @BookishMarginalia I feel vindicated by your feedback 😂 I found the writing disjointed and hard to follow with all the run-on sentences. I think the structure of the novel became too much the focus and the storyline unfortunately did not go anywhere. 1mo
70 likes5 comments
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8little_paws
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I'm really not doing well these past few days, horrible cold. Tried to read Black Leopard Red Wolf but that book is pretty complex and I'm just not up for that level of narrative challenge right now. Giving this a shot instead.

cobwebmoth I'm sorry you're feeling so bad. I hope you feel better soon. 1mo
irre Feel better! 1mo
mcipher Get well soon! 1mo
See All 7 Comments
britt_brooke Hope you‘re better soon! 1mo
Soubhiville Hope you‘re feeling better soon! ❤️ 1mo
Dragon Feel better soon! 💐 1mo
Lindy 🌻 1mo
57 likes7 comments
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TheNerdyProfessor
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Today I'm the Girl on the Train 🛤️🚞📖

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DancingPhoenix

Theatre, Mr. Kingsley had written in tall, slashing letters of chalk on the board. “That‘s the way it is spelled” he had said. “If you ever spell this with er at the end, you will fail the assignment.”

DancingPhoenix I already hate this guy 😂 1mo
2 likes1 comment
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sophierayton
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Mehso-so

Whaaaaa??? Beautiful writing but very confusing. I feel like I'd need to read it at least one more time and possibly more to understand what's really going on here.

TheNerdyProfessor I just entered part 2 and I'm like WTF is going on? 1mo
sophierayton @TheNerdyProfessor Yep, get used to that feeling because it didn't get clearer for me. 1mo
BookishMarginalia I bailed on page 133. Good riddance. 1mo
45 likes1 stack add3 comments
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TheNerdyProfessor
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I waited all year for this book to come out. I'm roughly 50 pages in and am just starting to hit a stride. The writing style was hard to adapt to, as the author is quite fond of long, run-on sentences. Has anyone else read this one or started it? Early reviews seem polarized!

Megabooks I almost checked it out from the library. I should have. 1mo
BookishMarginalia Hated all 133 pages of it I read. 1mo
67 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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TheNerdyProfessor
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1. Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
2. 🙈 Or 🦖
3. 😭😂😱 (Lots of intense emotions, I guess)

#weekensreads @rachelsbrittain

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MicheleinPhilly
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Thanks so much Holly! #bookmail

bookish_wookish I just entered to this one from book riot!! 🤞🏼 1mo
Hooked_on_books You‘re welcome! I‘m glad it got there so fast. 👍🏼 1mo
65 likes2 comments
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Skeebies05
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Love when I can snag a library book early before all the holds come in!

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Hooked_on_books
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Panpan

This novel is more like 2 linked novellas and a short story with the linkage of the final story to the other 2 less clear. It starts with dense, meandering prose and does become somewhat compelling in places, but I kept finding myself wondering what was the point. Then near the end a sexual assault seems to be thrown in simply for the shock factor. This just didn‘t work for me.

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Bookalong
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Pickpick

Available April 9th! 4/5🌟 I loved her writing so much! She's very talented. Her prose are sharp and purposeful. This story is set in the 1980's (which I loved) and it focuses on two high school students first love experience while attending a competitive performing arts school. But It so so much more that this. With themes of power, between student and teacher, men and women. This book gives you a lot to think about.
#bookreview #bookblogger

MrBook Great review! 2mo
22 likes1 comment
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Lexeegee
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I really didn‘t expect to like this book. However, it is almost one of those can‘t put down books for me. (BTW, how beautiful are my tulips?) 🌷

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful!! 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa So pretty! 2mo
24 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Lexeegee
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Suicide, she realizes, isn‘t opting out of the future, it‘s opting out of the present, for who can see more of the future than that? Reference to the future, to its unbroken promise is the reflex of those for whom the future‘s mirage still exists.

25 likes1 stack add
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Lauren.Archer
Mehso-so

This book is in 2 parts. The first part of this book completely grabbed me, I thought what an opening. Unfortunately, It seemed to spiral downwards about a 3rd of the way into the book. These characters were very unlikeable to me. This book might have been to close to home for me. As I write this I am thinking that I am upping this to 3 stars, because if an author can incite that feeling then they have done their job.

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RealLifeReading
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Haven‘t done much online this weekend mostly because of bad reception where we were (in the mountains). It was surprisingly warm but there was still plenty of snow ❄️ and I had my first ski lesson (and realized I‘m not a skier). The kids tried out snowboarding!
Tell me what you‘ve been up to!

DivineDiana Don‘t know until you try! 😉 Good for you! 👏🏻 2mo
CouronneDhiver That‘s exciting 😊 Winter sports are good fun. I‘m watching footie on TV ⚽️ 2mo
wordzie 😎 ⛄. Just 📚 and a ⛪ meeting. 2mo
See All 18 Comments
LibrarianJen Tomorrow will be the first day back to work after spring break. Today has been filled with meal prepping and laundry. 2mo
Redwritinghood Prom dress shopping with my daughter and her friend. 2mo
Dorianna Lazy Sunday of laundry, reading, movie watching. 2mo
AlaMich As someone who never skied until I was an adult—and didn‘t enjoy it that much—I‘ve come to the conclusion that skiing is best learned as a child or teenager. It really helps to be fearless and think you‘re invincible! 2mo
RealLifeReading @DivineDiana thanks! I‘m glad I tried it! 2mo
RealLifeReading @CouronneDhiver fun! Who‘s playing? 2mo
RealLifeReading @wordzie that sounds like a nice Sunday! 2mo
RealLifeReading @LibrarianJen happy first day back to work! What kind of meals do you prep? 2mo
RealLifeReading @Redwritinghood awesome! I hope they found something they loved! 2mo
RealLifeReading @dorianna sounds lovely! What were you reading and watching? 2mo
CouronneDhiver Bayern vs Mainz and Liverpool vs Fulham. Both of my teams won 👍🏽 2mo
RealLifeReading @AlaMich I completely agree! I think I was very tense and kinda anxious about colliding into people 😂😂 and needlessly so. 2mo
LibrarianJen Thanks! I usually just do grab and go snack bags, cut up veggies and fruit, boil eggs that kind of thing. 2mo
Dorianna @RealLifeReading I watched Ratatouille on TV and read The Lady From The Black Lagoon by Mallory O‘Meara. 2mo
120 likes18 comments
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readordierachel
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What a lovely surprise, Jennifer! Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and generosity! I'm really looking forward to this book, and the postcard is perfect. Having just moved to a new place after 15 years, it hit me right in the feels 💕 @Jas16

Jas16 I am so glad the second time was the charm! I hope you enjoy it! 3mo
readordierachel @Jas16 🤗🤗 3mo
102 likes2 comments
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BeckyMerilatt
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Pickpick

This is a timely book. It‘s not an easy read - the characters aren‘t supposed to be likable, the plot is tightly and expertly woven, but complicated and at times confusing. But this book is important. It‘s stunning. The type of book that English Lit students will write papers about and study for years to come. A contemporary classic. Out April 9.

79 likes1 stack add
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Maude
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Mehso-so

This was not my type of book, the narrator's long rambling story was just too easy to space out on and none of the characters were likable or interesting. #goodreadsgiveaway

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cariashley
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Pickpick

This is a hard book to review, but suffice to say things are not what they seem in the first part of the book. I knew this going in and was still surprised by the turn things took, and agreeably disoriented by the about-face. It was actually something of a relief - the tone of the first half is coldly distant at times, describing the emotion of the teenage experience somehow without any actual emotion.👇

cariashley I don't want to overstate the "twist" (this is a literary novel after all) but Choi is doing really interesting things here, and the experience of being toyed with by her is not entirely unpleasant. 3.5 stars. Thanks to NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company for the early review copy. 4mo
47 likes1 comment
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RealLifeReading
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Starting a new book (despite being in the middle of several other books).

aeeklund Wait...that isn‘t how it‘s normally done?? 😜 4mo
RealLifeReading @aeeklund 😁all the time! 4mo
97 likes1 stack add2 comments
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mauveandrosysky
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Mehso-so

This inventive and ambitious novel displays a clever mastery of both language and storytelling. Nevertheless, can‘t say I fully enjoyed it. At its heart are timely and uncomfortable themes, such as consent and power dynamics. But really what it‘s about are the ways that we shape our narratives and deal with the past, the perspectives that get muddled and lost when we play the role of both director and main character in the story of our lives.

33 likes2 stack adds
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Jas16
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Gotta love when surprise #bookmail shows up at work. Really looking forward to reading this one.

readordierachel Sounds intriguing! (And I really like the cover) 5mo
75 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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RebeccaH
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I was off Litsy for awhile and missed doing these round-ups. The 6.5 and 2.5 numbers are because of Best American Essays 2017.

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RebeccaH
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I did it!

HardcoverHearts Congratulations!! 5mo
Ms.Story 🎉🎉🎉 5mo
ephemeralwaltz Amazing!! 5mo
irre 🎉🎉👏👏 5mo
27 likes4 comments
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RebeccaH
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Just started this. I don‘t usually read books so far in advance of publication, but I loved Choi‘s MY EDUCATION and am excited about this one.

23 likes3 stack adds
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Liberty
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TFW you match the book you‘re reading. 😂 I have been holding off on reading this because I have a feeling it‘s going to be glorious, and I needed the right moment, but now MY BODY IS READY. 🖤🔥📚

mcctrish That‘s so many levels of awesome 5mo
Alfoster Yay! I just ordered this based on your rec on Book Riot!👍 2mo
149 likes5 stack adds2 comments
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tholmz
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Pickpick

This book isn‘t out yet but I can‘t WAIT for everyone to read it. ‼️

LiteraryinLititz Just got an ARC of this yesterday! 5mo
tholmz @LiteraryinLititz Ahh yay! I hope you like it! 5mo
8 likes2 comments