For fans of Prep, Dead Poets Society, and Special Topics in Calamity Physics comes an elegant and remarkably insightful debut novel.
"A moving and bittersweet coming-of-age story about love, loss, friendship, ambition, and the power of memory. -J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Commencement, Maine, and Saints for All Occasions
Shy, introspective Naomi Feinstein has dreamed of a prestigious future in cardiology ever since her father's heart attack scare. For her, becoming a doctor seems to be the only way she can create order in her messy life and perhaps one day save her mother, a deeply depressed woman who rarely has the strength to leave her own bedroom. Alienated at school, Naomi spends afternoons studying with her father, poring over textbooks, and dreaming of Wellesley College. But when her next-door neighbor Teddy, her confidant and only friend, abruptly departs from her life, it's the first devastating loss from which Naomi is not sure she can ever recover, even after her long-awaited acceptance letter to Wellesley arrives.
But college is not all Naomi imagined it would be. Among hundreds of other girls, she is consumed by loneliness and competition where she had expected solidarity and security--until the day she sees a girl fall into a frozen lake.
This is Naomi's introduction to Wellesley's mysterious Shakespeare Society, the college's oldest club, filled with secret rituals and the college's most unconventional and passionate students. Within "Shakes," Naomi is finally able to open herself up to her peers, reflecting a little less and living a little more. Detaching from the past, replacing Einstein with Shakespeare, Naomi's new world is exciting and liberating, until an accusation brings a scandal with irreversible consequences for Naomi and her new friends. Naomi has always tried to save the ones she loves, but part of growing up is learning that, sometimes, saving others is a matter of saving yourself.
Poignant and wise, An Uncommon Education is a heartbreaking and compelling portrait of a young woman's quest for greatness, filled with the complicated ties of family and friendship, and the ultimate importance of learning to let go.