An Education in Ruin

Boarding school drama meets family drama with a dash of Theranos in this new book by Alexis Bass, which is a tech-y take on the boarding school novel (on the West Coast!), and has some fun characters, but the last quarter really went off the rails and left my with a bad, confused taste in my mouth. This felt like a Bad Blood x Of Curses and Kisses mashup with some Gossip Girl vibes.

Collins Pruit joins the third year class at the Rutherford Institute and immediately set her sights on misanthropic study-hard rich boy Jasper Mahoney. ¬†As we learn in flashbacks and flashforwards, Collins is at Rutherford with a prize in mind: finding something to take from the Mahoney boys–Jasper and Theo–to leverage against their mother for reasons that will become evident later on. There’s your usual rich-teen-boarding-school activities, lots of worrying about failing out for someone who was good enough to get in, and then there’s the Theranos element.Okay, so in the book it’s Robames Inc but it’s run by a 20-year old techy genius a la Elizabeth Holmes named Rob(erta) James who is trying to revolutionize some medical technology, but of course the data is faulty and the money tied up in the company is on the line. That’s how Collins ends up making deal after deal after deal to try and figure out what she needs to do to protect herself, her family, her father’s heart, and her own heart–along with the Mahoney brothers.

This book had a lot of potential but wow was it hard to follow at the end. And why were these kids so involved with their parents financial concerns? It was weird, all the way around. I liked the Theranos-element for a bit, but it got out of hand quickly and I’m still not really sure how I was supposed to feel about the ending. I liked the boarding school element–West Coast, a little different–but it wasn’t my cup of tea overall. I might read something else set in this world, but this story tried to bite off too much to chew.

 

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