Welcome to my stop on the blog tour celebrating the release of Master Class by Christina Dalcher! Thank you to Berkley Publishing for the invitation!

I reviewed Dalcher’s Vox back in 2018 here.

About the Book:

From the critically-acclaimed author of the international bestseller VOX comes a suspenseful new novel that examines a disturbing near future where harsh realities follow from unreachable standards.

It’s impossible to know what you will do…

Every child’s potential is regularly determined by a standardized measurement: their quotient (Q). Score high enough, and attend a top tier school with a golden future. Score too low, and it’s off to a federal boarding school with limited prospects afterwards. The purpose? An improved society where education costs drop, teachers focus on the more promising students, and parents are happy.

When your child is taken from you.

Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s elite schools. When her nine-year-old daughter bombs a monthly test and her Q score drops to a disastrously low level, she is immediately forced to leave her top school for a federal institution hundreds of miles away. As a teacher, Elena thought she understood the tiered educational system, but as a mother whose child is now gone, Elena’s perspective is changed forever. She just wants her daughter back.

And she will do the unthinkable to make it happen.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed the edgy dystopian novel Vox written by Dalcher two years ago. Master Class also visits an uncertain future time.

Oh my goodness, this book. Even the synopsis wigged me out. In the near future, every child’s potential is measured through a standardized test, referred to as their quotient (Q). If you score well, you attend a top tier school, which means more opportunities. If you don’t meet the cutoff, you are destined for a federal school where the outcomes are fewer and less advantageous.

Why is society doing this? To decrease funding for education by focusing only on the students with supposedly “brighter” futures. So, the privileged become more privileged and gaps between groups widen. Oh, and did you know that kids are tested regularly, and they can drop and have to move between schools at any time? Talk about the pressure.

Elena is a teacher at one of the top schools, and her nine year old daughter is sent away to a federal boarding school because of that exact scenario. And Elena wants her daughter back. She’s going to make it happen, too, no matter the costs.

This was such a thoughtful examination of so many things. Class differences, educational differences, privilege, I could go on and on. The pressure here is terrifying and immense, and while it’s a few jumps from the pressures kids receive today from testing, it isn’t that completely far fetched in my mind either.

Overall, this book scared me to death and offered so much thought and insight. Christina Dalcher writes books that encourage us to talk, listen, discuss, learn, and grow, and for that I’m grateful.

I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.

About the Author:

Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She specialized in the phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects and taught at universities in the United States, England, and the United Arab Emirates.

Her short stories and flash fiction appear in over one hundred journals worldwide. Recognitions include first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Award as well as nominations for The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions. Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency represents Dalcher’s novels.

After spending several years abroad, most recently in Sri Lanka, Dalcher and her husband now split their time between the American South and Andalucia, Spain.
Her debut novel, VOX, was published in August 2018 by Berkley (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and has been translated into twenty languages.
Dalcher’s second novel, MASTER CLASS, will be out in the spring of 2020.

Have you read Master Class, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR