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Master Class – Christina Dalcher


I have too strong a survival instinct. Always have.

Elena Fairchild is a teacher at an exclusive “Silver” school – where the best of the best students go.

The new educational system (Silver schools for the smartest, Green for the middle and Yellow for the bottom-tier students) has been in place for a while now.

Elena somewhat supported it but…has had her doubts for a while now but her husband is a staunch supporter. He’s partly responsible for the new tiered system for education in the US.

The system is supposed to prevent educational resources from going to the undeserving.

Elena’s eldest daughter goes to a silver high school and her nine-year-old goes to a “green” school. But the monthly tests can bring anybody down a level at any time.

This is all supposed to be good for the children. Good for the families. Good for society.

Then the unthinkable happens to her family.

Elena’s youngest daughter fails one of the monthly tests and is demoted to a yellow school.

And just like that, the daughter is shipped off to the only yellow school in Kansas. No phone calls. No visits home. She’s just gone.

The words “no child left behind” take on fresh, terrible meaning. It’s impossible to leave a child behind if the child doesn’t exist.

Elena wants her daughter back. And she will stop at nothing to get her.

I had kind of an idea of how this book was going to go thanks to reading Dalcher’s first book (Vox) but whew. I was not prepared for this level of TENSION.

I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The sheer amount of stress that Dalcher made me go through was absolutely perfect.

The characters worked quite well in this book. I loved Elena. She provided a great perspective and her family really rounded out her character.

Her husband was absolutely awful in the best way possible. I loved to hate him.

The premise for this world felt mostly believable and grounded though I feel like there were a few moments that was a leap (i.e. how was there not more resisted? And how was it such a secret?).

I definitely believed the premise but…it felt like it had a few holes in it that were distracting.

From what I can tell, this one is set in the modern era. So to have such a contained secret involving so many people’s children in a world full of cell phones and the omnipresent social media…I just felt like there needed to be more of an explanation behind the how-this-can-happen.

The ending snapped upon me really quickly and while I feel like it worked, it felt like it happened really quickly.

Overall, I really did enjoy this one and oh my gosh. I can’t wait to see what she writes next!!

A huge thank you to Berkley and the author for sending a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Interested in this one from Christina Dalcher? Buy it here:  Amazon

2 thoughts on “Master Class – Christina Dalcher

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