Book: Accelerated

Author: Bronwen Hruska. She spent years as a journalist and is now the publisher at Soho Press. This is her first novel.

Genre: Thiller, Commercial Fiction

Reviewers: Editor Kristina, teacher madriscoll, higher ed administrator Renee and stay-at-home moms Krysta and Sarah L.

Publisher Summary:

Every afternoon Sean Benning picks up his son, Toby, on the marble steps that lead into the prestigious Bradley School. Everything at Bradley is accelerated: 3rd graders read at the 6th grade level, they have labs and facilities to rival most universities, and the chess champions are the bullies. A single dad and struggling artist, Sean sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the power-soccer-mom cliques and ladies-who-lunch that congregate on the steps every afternoon. But at least Toby is thriving and getting the best education money can buy. Or is he?

When Sean starts getting pressure from the school to put Toby on medication for ADD, something smells fishy, and it isn’t the caviar that was served at last week’s PTA meeting. Toby’s “issues” in school seem, to Sean, to be nothing more than normal behavior for an eight-year-old boy. But maybe Sean just isn’t seeing things clearly, which has been harder and harder to do since Toby’s new teacher, Jess, started at Bradley. And the school has Toby’s best interests at heart, right? But what happens when the pressure to not just keep up, but to exceed, takes hold? When things take a tragic turn, Sean realizes that the price of this accelerated life is higher than he could have ever imagined.

Kristina  Bio

I had high hopes when I started reading Accelerated and while it wasn’t perfect, I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed.

First, the good stuff. The story is really interesting and the premise of the book is intriguing. I am a sucker for anything that allows me to peek in on how the “other half” lives, so I enjoyed the descriptions of the children and parents attending Bradley school. And in spite of myself, I especially liked Sean.

Now for the not-so-good stuff. The premise of the book is very relevant to today’s society and I got the impression that the author wanted this book to be a Big Statement about the issue, but I’m afraid that it isn’t quite serious enough for that. Also, the main love triangle, for many reasons that I won’t go into for fear of giving away some of the plot, was completely and utterly unbelievable. I also found it difficult to believe that treating children this way would ever be ignored, even in the name of their future.

Overall, this is a quick, easy, enjoyable read.

Grade: B-

Read also: Prep: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld


madriscoll  Bio

Great book!

The father/son relationship was heartwarming. I was rooting for this little family throughout the book. The story was relationship driven. The father tries to make sense of his relationship with his wife, his son, and the world at large. I don’t want to give too much away. Read the book. I hope you will not be able to put it down once the story gets going. This is not the type of book I usually read, but I’m glad I did.

Grade B+ 


Renee {Eat.Live.Blog}  Bio

With the exception of a misplaced illicit sex scene at the very opening of this book, Accelerated was everything I look for in a mindless read…except it was’t quite so mindless either. I actually learned a lot about ADD/ADHD while I read it. This was an extremely easy read, that while predictable, was definitely enjoyable as well. The only problem with the story was that I was still waiting to see if that illicit scene had a point all the way through the last page. Spoiler alert…it didn’t.

Grade: B+

Read Also:  Restless Virgins: Love, Sex, and Survival at a New England Prep School by Abigail Jones and Marissa Miley


Krysta  Bio

Accelerated is not a typical horror story, but is one, nevertheless. It’s part love story, part suspense, part parenting nightmare. My one criticism would be towards the end, it seems to resolve itself very quickly. While not necessarily a bad thing, it was not how I expected it to turn out.

The use of a non-typical family situation added something interesting, but some readers may be put off by the main character’s decisions regarding his personal life. My first impression of Sean was not a great one, and I expected things to go differently than how the book played out. It’s a good weekend read, a voracious reader could finish it quickly. But not such a light read, it may leave you wondering about your own school administrators. That being said, I enjoyed the author’s writing style, and would read another.

Grade: B-


Sarah L.  Bio

I enjoyed the idea of Accelerated, but was largely disappointed in the book once I finished reading it.

What I liked about the book were the relationships. I enjoyed reading about Sean and Toby and can identify parts of their relationship that really resonate with me as a parent. I did not care for Ellie (Toby’s Mom) at all, but liked Sean and Jess for the most part. Did anyone else picture Jess as Zooey Deschanel’s character from “The New Girl,” but perhaps a bit more grown-up and polished?

What I didn’t like was the structure of the book. Hruska spent a lot of time setting up the storyline, but when it finally came together it ended so quickly and was, unfortunately, so predictable, that it took most of the enjoyment of the book out of it for me. In addition, the language as well as three or four heated bedroom scenes may offend some readers.

Grade: C-


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Thanks to Goldberg McDuffie Communications for providing us with copies of Accelerated for review. Accelerated is published by Pegasus Books. You can find author Bronwen Hruska on her website, on Twitter or on Facebook.


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