Reviews

Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi

katiehammitt's review against another edition

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dark slow-paced

1.0

readwithbells's review against another edition

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4.75

This is probably the best written thing I’ve read all year. Everything was so well woven together, the characters were so specific, and never once was I confused about what was going on (unless that was clearly the express purpose). This book reminded me how much I love reading, how much I love the format of books and the flexibility of books and the creativity of authors. This shit was stellar. The only reason it doesn’t get 5 stars is I can’t in good conscience name something as a favorite book that has so much teenage sex in it 😂 I was just too uncomfortable. And that was the purpose and I am kinda penalizing the author for what the story is literally about but that’s personal reviews for ya. 

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bookmindedmag's review

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4.0

The first half of the book was EXCELLENT. Susan Choi writes with a clarity and intelligence that had me hooked. The characters, mostly teenagers at a performing arts school, are interesting and annoying. Basically true teens. They are full of lust, insecurities and yearning. The relationship between Sarah and David reminded me of all the crazy emotions I had when I was young and so in love. But under the relationship is something much more sinister but is never revealed until the second half of the novel, which confused me so much. The way Sarah and David’s story ends and Karen’s begins threw me completely off. I thought maybe I had skipped a page because for the next few paragraphs I had no idea what was going on. Once I did, then I was invested. But there were still so many questions I had.

I, however, was not surprised by Karen’s actions. I saw it coming and when it did I was beyond all in. But then the story changed once again, leaving me with so many damn questions by the end of the book I felt cheated. I’m not sure what Susan Choi was trying to accomplish but she left me feeling like I watched three movies with no clear endings.

notaleaf's review

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3.0

I finished this book pretty quickly which usually indicates that it was great and I couldn’t put it down. Truth is: this was only so-so and it was a very easy read and not that long to begin with.
Interesting concept but it felt very Socratic. Or meta? It felt like the stereotypical teacher helping kids become better performers by leading them in sensory exercises and trust exercises. Except it’s about two people from different backgrounds and somehow near the end you’re supposed to question if what you just read or not actually happened? I don’t know. I didn’t get it and didn’t really care for it.
3 stars for creativity but lost 2 stars because I don’t think it played out the way it should or could have.

auntbreesqreads's review

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4.0

This is an incredibly written novel and I felt so much for the characters. I saw some revelations coming and was totally surprised (but not surprised) by others. I didn't love the beginning half as much but it was completely necessary for the second half. What even is memory? Are our childhood memories true if they shape us anyway?

I would highly recommend this one for anyone who likes a character driven novel.

starlingdarling's review

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challenging dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

margaret_adams's review

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A fantastic and ultimately fantastically ambiguous novel about adolescence, power, and the deconstruction of reality in art.

juliemcl's review

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slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character

2.0

bookends68's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5 ⭐, I think

I wasn't sure about this book in the first half, but the second half explained it, in a way that's hard to explain unless you've read it. Really loved Karen's switching POVs and the meticulous detailing of how unreliable Sarah's narration is.

The last chapter lost me. I understand who Claire is in relation to the rest of the story, but I'm gonna have to google the rest. Quite a short, abrupt change of pace especially after Martin gets shot.

UPDATE: I've changed my mind on the last paragraph, already. I'm starting to like how there's so many different interpretations of whether Claire/Robert/Velva are characters we've already met in some way or whether it's more of a comment on abuses of power. Further proving my point on how I can't get my thoughts straight about it!

This book would definitely benefit from a reread, but I'm not sure it's one I'll want to revisit. I'm not convinced I liked it enough to figure out for myself how all the pieces fit together. I didn't hate it by any means, I'm just so conflicted.

readingrosie's review

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5.0

i started out super bored but i have to give it 5 stars for its sharp view of human behavior. it uses acting and theater and writing as a way to examine human actions and it's sooo good.