The Drama Teacher

Crown. Aug. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9780553448092. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553448108. SUSPENSE
Zailckas's second novel (after Mother, Mother) introduces a protagonist who is a grifter and a thief. But Gracie (or any of the other names she uses) is not your run-of-the-mill unreliable narrator. We soon learn she was raised to lie, steal, and run cons. In 2008, Gracie is struggling to maintain a middle-class life with her mostly absent husband and two children after the economic crash. She sneaks into a club in the Catskills with her son and daughter and befriends a wealthy woman at the pool. This relationship, aided by the lies of Gracie (now Tracey), grows quickly. The story unfolds over the next decade with occasional flashbacks to Gracie's life before the Catskills. In the end, the reliability of her memory and the stories she tells about herself come into question.
VERDICT A death, an investigation, and the past catching up to the present makes this a fast-paced, perfect poolside read. The seemingly straightforward narrative takes surprising, unexpected turns. The characters come to life and Gracie elicits sympathy, understanding, and horror in equal measures. For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. [See Prepub Alert, 2/19/18.]

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month