Read The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman Online

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In this suspenseful, provocative novel of friendship, secrets, and deceit, a successful writer returns to her elite Swiss boarding school to get to the bottom of a tragic accident that took place while she was a student twenty years earlier.How far would you go to uncover the truth?One spring night in 1998 the beautiful Cressida Strauss plunges from a fourth-floor balconyIn this suspenseful, provocative novel of friendship, secrets, and deceit, a successful writer returns to her elite Swiss boarding school to get to the bottom of a tragic accident that took place while she was a student twenty years earlier.How far would you go to uncover the truth?One spring night in 1998 the beautiful Cressida Strauss plunges from a fourth-floor balcony at the Lycée Internationale Suisse with catastrophic consequences. Loath to draw negative publicity to the school, a bastion of European wealth and glamour, officials quickly dismiss the incident as an accident, but questions remain: Was it a suicide attempt? Or was Cressida pushed? It was no secret that she had a selfish streak and had earned as many enemies as allies in her tenure at the school. For her best friend, scholarship student Kersti Kuusk, the lingering questions surrounding Cressida's fall continue to nag long after she leaves the Lycée.Kersti marries and becomes a bestselling writer, but never stops wondering about Cressida's obsession with the Helvetian Society—a secret club banned years before their arrival at the school—and a pair of its members who were expelled. When Kersti is invited as a guest to the Lycée's 100th Anniversary, she begins probing the cover-up, unearthing a frightening underbelly of lies and abuse at the prestigious establishment. And in one portentous moment, Kersti makes a decision that will connect her to Cressida forever and raise the stakes dangerously high in her own desire to solve the mystery and redeem her past.An unputdownable read as clever as it is compelling, The Finishing School offers a riveting glimpse into a privileged, rarefied world in which nothing is as it appears. ...

Title : The Finishing School
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062465580
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 330 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Finishing School Reviews

  • Kristy
    2019-04-30 01:05

    It has been 20 years since Kersti Kuusk set foot on the grounds of the Lycée, the prestigious boarding school she attended as a teen. Kersti was a scholarship student from Canada at the elite school, and she left abruptly in her senior year, after her best friend, Cressida, fell from her balcony one evening. The school declared the event an accident, but now, Kersti finds herself unconvinced. A timely letter from another of her school friends brings up more questions: was Cressida pushed, or did she attempt suicide? Kersti knows that Cressida had become increasingly obsessed with a secret society within the Lycée--banned since the 1970s when two of its members were expelled. As the school plans a celebration of its 100th anniversary, Kersti considers returning. She also starts looking further into Cressida's fall. However, some secrets are meant to stay buried. THE FINISHING SCHOOL is told in alternating chapters between the present day and Kersti's school years, leading up to Cressida's fall from the balcony. This effective technique certainly creates tension and suspense, leading you to madly flip the pages, trying to figure out what happened - particularly to Kersti's group of friends at the Lycée twenty years ago. The novel pulls you in fairly quickly and hooks you rather rapidly. Goodman is quite adept at capturing the voices of her characters, especially the teens, and the boarding school passages are rather effective. (They are also great at making you want to never send your child to boarding school. Parts of it reminded me of Tana French's THE SECRET PLACE in that way.)For me, the only thing that held this book back was that some of the plot was a little weird: mostly some of the things relating to Kersti's personal life and her obsession with Cressida. They didn't necessarily seem required for the story to be successful, but they bothered me. It's a shame, because overall I liked Kersti, and I felt a connection with her. Present-day Kersti is suffering from infertility, and, as someone who has been there, I can say that Goodman captures that angst very well. I just wasn't sure about some of her choices. At times, some of the school drama gets a little tedious, but it picks up as the novel gains momentum, especially near the end. I figured out parts of the plot, but not all of it, and I was quite frantic to finish the last portions of the book to put it all together. It's quite a dark and twisted tale, overall. Certainly worth a read. 3.5 stars. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Edelweiss (thank you!); it is available everywhere as of 04/11/2017.Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+

  • DeB MaRtEnS
    2019-05-16 06:59

    Unexpectedly satisfying "woman's fiction", with a complex plot and well developed characters. Light reading, yes, but very well done.

  • Tara
    2019-05-18 03:54

    Wow. I don't know what to say about this book. I won it through a Goodreads giveaway and I am so glad that I did! This is one of those books that kept me thinking about it even while I wasn't reading it. This book has everything: Suspense, mystery, girls boarding school, and a shocking ending! I am so sad that it's over... an epilogue would've been nice, now I can't get it out of my head... Highly recommend!

  • Laura
    2019-05-14 04:43

    I really enjoyed the descriptions of Switzerland and the 90's nostalgia. The ending was mostly a surprise. There were enough hints that the reader could figure out who's guilty, but not until the end. Its a little more original than your usual whodunit. There were a few plot holes, but the story kept me reading until the end.

  • Dena
    2019-05-10 07:55

    I knew who the bad guy was by page 30, but read to the end hoping for some meat to discuss when I booktalk it...nope. Dry writing, dull characters, predictable plot, obvious twists. Ugh. I never learn.

  • Felicity Disco
    2019-04-23 02:04

    The story had interesting elements - and I kept reading to find out what was going on - but the writing never grabbed me.

  • Jessie Cardinal
    2019-04-21 08:06

    One word for this novel. WOW!!!!! One of the most intense and suspenseful novels I have ever read!!! All I can say is RECOMMEND, RECOMMEND, RECOMMEND!!!!

  • Katherine
    2019-05-10 08:58

    ”Fear. That was my problem. I’ve always felt like a child cowering in a corner. Oddly enough, the only thing I did not fear was death. I feared not being liked; not being good enough; not being worthy; not being respected; not being beautiful; not being happy or useful or productive; I feared being abandoned, being exposed, being seen, being judged, being rejected. But I never feared death."Synopsis:Thinking of sending your little princess off to boarding school? This book will change your mind real quick.Biblio-Babble* I’ve always had a morbid fascination with boarding schools. They make no sense to me, and I’d never send my own kid there, but they still are utterly beguiling. But man does this book show how utterly fucked up you could become if you attend one. The author left out most of the academic part of the boarding school aspect and focused more on the lewd details that went on there.* The synopsis makes out Cressida, Keirsta’s former roommates and the girl who attempted suicide, as a sort of Blair Whaldorf on steroids, but she wasn’t actually all that bad? Nowhere near as bad as what the synopsis makes her out to be. She was a wild, poor little rich girl. So don’t go in expecting a she-devil from hell.* I actually found the main character to be more annoying and selfish then the supposedly selfish villain. She was SO self-centered and basically treated everyone around her like trash for the first part of the novel, when she’s not bemoaning the fact that the teen she lost her virginity to doesn’t like her back. That, and the baby factor.* If there’s one thing I can pinpoint out that made this novel not that great, it would without a doubt have to be the fertility plot line. Good Lord, it boggles the story down so much. Kiersta railroads her poor husband down till he’s basically forced to submit her demands to have a baby. And her reasons for having said baby made me so in infuriated I was seeing red. The reason she gives? Because it’s the Estonian way and she has to make her parents who don’t already appreciate her respect her more, so they’ll notice her. NO. NO. THIS IS NOT A REASON HAVE A CHILD. The way she goes about trying to conceive, and how she eventually does conceive, it creepy as hell. (view spoiler)[ So she and Cressida the non-villain are super close, right? Cressida's mom harvested about 15 eggs from Cressida, which is already creepy as hell to begin with because since C is brain-dead, there's no fucking way she can have a child. Keirsta finds out, and she decides to make Deirdre an offer of letting some of C's eggs become implanted in her so she can have a child. She's that obsessed with Cressida. I couldn't believe it. (hide spoiler)]* This is the second book in a row where the villain reveal has been botched. I don’t know why that is, since the villain was highly more believable than the last one. The execution of it was poor, though.*********************Despite its page turning drama and salacious details about boarding school life, the baby plot line, a selfish MC, and a weak ending bogged down the story. A good beach and nothing more.

  • Zoe Golden
    2019-04-22 05:44

    **CONTAINS SPOILERS**Former scholarship student Kersti Kuusk's best friend plunged down a balcony in their exclusive Swiss boarding school. Years later, she's now a successful author but a revelation comes to light making her question whether it was truly an accident or not. This book alternates between the late 90's and present day.Kersti and Cressida were the only two mildly fleshed out characters. Just mildly. Everyone was just a one-dimensional piece of paper. Kersti's husband only existed to argue with and not much else. All the other girls and teachers didn't feel believable enough. I saw the twist a mile away but that isn't what annoyed me about this book.The only thing significant about Kersti was that she was insecure all the time about everything. Cressida was supposed to be the beautifully ethereal but damaged character only she ended up as really annoying. Everyone worshipped her to an unrealistic degree.The only reason this got a second star was that the plot was interesting but read just like the rough draft of a YA novel. I'm tempted to tag it as that.

  • Maggie Carr
    2019-04-21 07:04

    What I thought I was going to read when I picked up this book and what it actually was couldn't be more different. At points I was speechless, turned angry, rationalized it and kept reading. I don't think I have ever experienced such varied emotions while reading fiction. This one will be on my year end recommendations, because rarely do book plots leave me seriously unsure where they will lead.

  • Donna
    2019-04-27 03:07

    3.5 stars. Twenty years ago, Kersti attended a boarding school in Switzerland. Her best friend and roommate for the four years was Cressida, who jumped from a 4th floor balcony near the end of their last school year. Kersti receives a letter from a classmate, Lille, who recently died from breast cancer. Lille was convinced that Cressida did not jump. Kersti, a published writer, decides she should have asked more questions right after the tragedy so she journeys back to the school for its 100th anniversary.The story is told from Kersti's view point in present time and during her years at the boarding school. I thought the alternating times helped hold my attention. The pace is steady and I was interested in the mystery of what really happened to Cressida. The ending didn't hit me with a big Wow, but there was a definite twist that I hadn't thought about.

  • Margo Brooks
    2019-05-20 02:53

    The mystery of how Cressida came to fall off her dormitory balcony and the relationships between girls in a Swiss boarding school kept me reading this novel set in the 1990s and 2016. I liked the complexity of the characters and the descriptions of boarding school life. I also liked Kersti's adult character and relationships. There is a lot to this novel that is typical of other boarding school novels-- the drunkenness, sex, and teen angst--and there are also some rather creepy aspects to this novel. The morality of all the characters is easy to question, but I thought the author was adept at working between the two time periods and unraveling the mystery. A great read for a rainy day.

  • Amanda
    2019-05-13 03:00

    Enjoyed--keeps one wondering!

  • Patricia
    2019-04-26 04:00

    When Kersti Kuusk gets a letter written by her old school friend, Lille before the young woman died, it brings back memories of their school days. Kersti, Lille, and Cressida were at the Lyce Internationale Suisse together. Now, Lille is dead and Cressida is gone. Kersti has been invited to attend the 100th birthday of the Lyce. While she would like to attend, she cannot help but fear the memories it will bring. But as Kersti has been named one of the 100 women who represent the success of the Lyce in grooming young women to reach their full potential, she feels she should go and accept the honor.Just before graduation from the Lyce, Cressida fell from a fourth floor balcony. There are so many unanswered questions about how she could have fallen and Kersti is determined to return to the Lyce and get to the bottom of it.Kersti is a successful author who is currently struggling to get started on her next book. Now age 35, she is married and trying to get pregnant. The treatments she has gone through have been unsuccessful. As her own eggs are not viable, she would like to use a donor egg, but her husband is opposed to it. This has created some strain in their marriage.The story switches back and forth from the school days to present time. We see that the girls at the boarding school are mostly from very wealthy families and how they form very close relationships. Like teenagers everywhere, they share their secrets about everything. The reader is introduced to the heads of the Lyce and many of the instructors.This book is like peeling back the layers of an onion as more events come to light and it is not until the very end that we learn some very shocking truths.I really liked this book and hope many people will read it. It is not just a story about teenage girls, but one with a great mystery.I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.

  • Jenna Swayzie
    2019-05-08 02:43

    3.5 Rounding up to a 4 for the Goodreads rating system. A 3 seems to low because I enjoyed it enough that it definitely deserves to be more than one star above Milk and Honey, but a 4 is a bit too generous.I'm not totally sure what to make of this one - I expected a lot more secret society mystery and a lot less infertility drama, but the way the murder mystery part of the plot turned out was actually a lot more realistic and memorable. I think if a good chunk of the present day plot line had been taken out and replaced with more time spent during Cressida and Kersti's years at school, fleshing out their friends and friendship a bit more, I would have liked it a lot more. (Actually, make that taking out all the infertility stuff - it was unnecessary and honestly kind of creepy. Once I mentally erase it, I have a much better impression of the book)That being said, I did find the book engaging and compelling - once I finally had a chance to really sit down with it I stayed up late reading it three nights in a row and it pulled me away from other things I was doing. There were a couple of twists that did quite surprise me and stuck with me. I really did care about Cressida and finding out what happened to her, and the climax of that plot was fantastically done - my skin was crawling and I was making faces the whole time. That scene, in my opinion, brought the book to a whole other level.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-23 04:07

    Ay carumba! Thriller would be the best way to describe this complex novel rife with twists and turns. The story shifts back and forth between present day and the narrator's high school years at an exclusive boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland. During her senior year Kersti's "friend", Cressida, fell from a fourth floor balcony and now lives in a near vegetative state. At the time, the fall was ruled an accident and quickly swept under the rug. When Kersti receives an unfinished letter from another classmate she begins to doubt the veracity of the ruling and starts to investigate. Was it suicide? Murder? Kersti's sleuthing exposes the dark underbelly of the boarding school and a myriad of secrets dating back more than four decades. The characters in this book are so well developed. "Golden" girl Cressida, the victim, will be immediately familiar to most readers. She is the type of girl whom everyone equally loves/hates and secretly wants to be. Kersti's feelings and inner dialogue are easily relatable as is her somewhat strained relationship with her husband and Estonian family. As a caution, this is, at times, incredibly disturbing so, if you are looking for light-hearted fare this is not it. However, you won't need to set aside much time because it is one I could not put down!

  • Rainey Williams
    2019-04-29 07:48

    I'm going to pull from reader Jenna Swayzie's review down below, because it pretty much sums up how I felt about the book too. "I expected a lot more secret society mystery and a lot less infertility drama, but the way the murder mystery part of the plot turned out was actually a lot more realistic and memorable. I think if a good chunk of the present day plot line had been taken out and replaced with more time spent during Cressida and Kersti's years at school, fleshing out their friends and friendship a bit more, I would have liked it a lot more. (Actually, make that taking out all the infertility stuff - it was unnecessary and honestly kind of creepy. Once I mentally erase it, I have a much better impression of the book)That being said, I did find the book engaging and compelling - once I finally had a chance to really sit down with it I stayed up late reading it...and it pulled me away from other things I was doing. There were a couple of twists that did quite surprise me and stuck with me. I really did care about Cressida and finding out what happened to her, and the climax of that plot was fantastically done - my skin was crawling and I was making faces the whole time. That scene, in my opinion, brought the book to a whole other level."

  • Dianne Landry
    2019-05-09 03:06

    Back in the early 90's Kersti Kuust, a scholarship student at the prestigious Lycée Internationale Suisse , learns that her best friend, Cressida Strauss has fallen from her fourth floor balcony and is fighting for her life. Twenty years later Kersti is a successful writer living in Toronto when she gets a letter from another one of their friends who has recently passed away. Lille voices her suspicion as to whether Cressida actually tried to commit suicide, the official verdict in the case. Kersti travels to Boston where she meets with Cressida's mother, Deirdre, and sees her old friend, who is in a semi-vegetative state, again. She convinces Deirdre to look into what really happened. The school is celebrating it's 100th Anniversary and has invited Kersti to give a speech as one of their 100 most important womeDuring all this Kersti is also going through a marital blip but that works itself out.I admit, I had the attempted murderer figured out pretty early on but I did not know what the motive was so when i discovered it I was surprised. This was an excellent book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • Bethany Clark
    2019-04-21 01:42

    Wow!  What a great read!  Goodman leads you through the crazy, twisted, sexy, turbulent mindset of those individuals that attended that elite boarding school - from students to teachers to administrators.  A tragic event - Cressida's plunge from a fourth floor balcony - takes place and it shapes the lives of all involved or thought to be involved.  Kersti has let the events of that night be pushed to the back of her mind for many years, but now she has been asked to come back as a speaker at the 100 year anniversary of Lycee and it has brought all of those events and suspicions to the surface. Was Cressida's death a suicide or was she pushed?  What would bother her enough to make her want to take her own life?  Were there signs that Kersti missed?Little by little Kersti puts the pieces together into an ending you may or may not have seen coming.  Can Kersti save Cressida's reputation and bring the right individual(s) to justice?

  • Taylor Mortsolf
    2019-04-29 04:01

    I LOVED this book! It kept me interested the whole time and even threw in the curve ball at the end! An amazing read and I suggest everyone read it if you like a good mystery/thriller.

  • Billie
    2019-05-16 08:41

    Kersti, an author, is haunted by an incident twenty years earlier that happened in a Swiss boarding school while she was a student there. Her good friend plunges from a balcony and it was dismissed as an accident so there was no negative publicity about the school. She wants to discover if it really was an accident or maybe a suicide or possibly pushed. This mystery explores friendship, love, adolescence and family. I received this book from the Goodreads Giveaways for an honest review.

  • Letty
    2019-04-20 01:37

    Pleasantly surprised! I started this with low expectations and it ended up being a great read! I was definitely surprised by some of the plot twists. Book moved at a good pace and I liked both Kersti and Cressida. A bit too many supporting characters for my taste, and I wanted a bit more from the ending, but it was an engaging read overall.

  • Karen
    2019-05-12 03:45

    When Kersti Kuusk is sent from Toronto to the Lycée in Lausanne, Switzerland for high school she doesn't know what to expect. She finds a life lng friend in Cressida. The book goes back and forth between the events in school and the present, where Kersti now a successful author and her husband are wrestling with infertility. Great read - I don't want to add more because of spoilers

  • Debbie Sweeney
    2019-05-16 07:48

    2.75 stars. I won this from a Goodreads giveaway. I thought it was somewhat of a soap opera sort of story. There was not a lot of character development nor did the friendships ring true. A decent but light read.

  • Valarie Kinney
    2019-05-14 08:50

    Enjoyed it, though the first few chapters were a little hard to get into, and the final few chapters went so fast and revealed so much all at once it seemed a bit hard to believe everything came together so neatly. Had hoped there would be more about the secret society. But in all, a good read.

  • Ehbooklover
    2019-05-02 01:45

    3.5 stars. I have always had a soft spot for mysteries set in boarding schools so as soon as this one crossed my desk I decided to add it to my TBR pile. I'm glad that I did as it kept me guessing until the very end with its numerous twists and turns. A fun "guilty pleasure"-type read.

  • Penney
    2019-04-23 06:42

    This was a nice easy summer read that started off strong, but then devolved into a mix of generic and totally batshit nuts (but not in a kooky way - in a "Are you seriously trying to sell me on this?" way).

  • Carrie
    2019-05-06 06:52

    Definitely a page turner but didn't like some of the unsavory subject matter at the end

  • Patty Abarno
    2019-04-29 08:49

    I enjoyed this book and it definitely kept my interest. But there was a lull and I struggled to continue. I have to say the twist in the end threw me. Good summer beach read.

  • Stacey Roberson
    2019-05-12 03:07

    I really enjoyed this book. Loved the characters and I found myself sucked into the story. Read it in two sittings!