Book Review: “Trust Exercise” by Susan Choi

trust exerciseSarah and David are both students at an elite performing arts school in a Houston suburb who, over the course of one Summer fall in love, and then the following Autumn, fall apart. The repercussions of this wind up having an outsize affect on their relationships with their classmates and a larger-than-life teacher, who uses their shared heartbreak seemingly for his own amusement via a series of trust exercises. Throughout this first section of the novel, author Susan Choi perfectly captures the awkwardness and isolation of teenage life, along with the heightened emotions around a first love and its collapse. There are so many astute observations here that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all. In the second section however, things get flipped on their head, and we discover that we don’t know what we think we do. To say anything more is to ruin the book, but it will leave readers questioning the implicit trust we put in authors and even into our own memories. This is a brilliantly written novel, with fascinating characters, and a story that is both hard to put down and hard to stop thinking about when it’s done. ★★★★★ – Sean Farrell

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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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