OK, this novel starts off weirdly, with a blithe description of a sexual assault in a classroom (quickly followed another consensual sexual encounter in that same classroom). The writing seems affected and distant (never thought I’d see a book that uses the ‘c’-word and the word ‘thus’ in such close proximity), and the characters are all fairly unlikeable—teenagers with whacked-out priorities in the thrall of a petty and manipulative Drama teacher.
But there’s a twist at the halfway point of this short novel that casts a new light—completely bending the narrative. Then two more big twists after that. How do we see someone else’s truth, or the stories they tell themselves to try and feel like the hero of their own tale. With that twist, Trust Exercise totally redeemed itself, justified the first half’s pretentious style and characters, and became one of my favorite books of the last year!