The world cannot give

by Burton, Tara Isabella,

Format: Print Book 2022
Availability: Available at 7 Libraries 7 of 13 copies
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" The Secret History meets The Price of Salt " ( Vogue ) in this "equal parts dangerous and delicious" ( Entertainment Weekly ) novel about queer desire, religious zealotry, and the hunger for transcendence among the members of a cultic chapel choir at a Maine boarding school--and the ambitious, terrifyingly charismatic girl that rules over them.

When shy, sensitive Laura Stearns arrives at St. Dunstan's Academy in Maine, she dreams that life there will echo her favorite novel, All Before Them , the sole surviving piece of writing by Byronic "prep school prophet" (and St. Dunstan's alum) Sebastian Webster, who died at nineteen, fighting in the Spanish Civil War. She soon finds the intensity she is looking for among the insular, Webster-worshipping members of the school's chapel choir, which is presided over by the charismatic, neurotic, overachiever Virginia Strauss. Virginia is as fanatical about her newfound Christian faith as she is about the miles she runs every morning before dawn. She expects nothing short of perfection from herself--and from the member of the choir.

Virginia inducts the besotted Laura into a world of transcendent music and arcane ritual, illicit cliff-diving and midnight crypt visits: a world that, like Webster's novels, finally seems to Laura to be full of meaning. But when a new school chaplain challenges Virginia's hold on the "family" she has created, and Virginia's efforts to wield her power become increasingly dangerous, Laura must decide how far she will let her devotion to Virginia go.

The World Cannot Give is a "hypnotic and intense" ( Shondaland ) meditation on the power, and danger, of wanting more from the world.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Laura Stearns weeps on the way to St. Dunstan's Academy in Maine because she hopes to experience a shipwreck of the soul, as a long-ago Dunstan alum who died young wrote about in a novel that Laura worships. But Laura is way out of her depth in Burton's (Social Creature, 2018) second novel. Fellow student Virginia wields intense social power, particularly with the boys in the choir to which Laura is recruited as the only other girl. Laura's inability to say no to Virginia's increasingly questionable choices enmesh the girls in a fraught relationship with life-and-death stakes. The novel's title signals both its end and the fatal flaw in Laura's hopes. Burton writes with a heart-stopping understanding of the micro-dynamics among adolescents still uncentered at their cores. The insular campus setting and small scenes in crypts, libraries, and dorm rooms that contain big emotions and powerful dialogue will make readers cringe at what they can see coming. Burton traps Laura in a difficult, misguided world and forces her to run toward something else."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Burton underwhelms with a redux of her debut, Social Creature, in which an egotistical alpha girl seduces a naive disciple. Set at St. Dunstan's Academy, a boarding school on the coast of Maine, the story revolves around Virginia Strauss, leader of the tradition-bound school choir, and Laura Stearns, a transfer who has fallen in love with the school after discovering a book written by alumnus Sebastian Webster, a Byronic figure who died fighting in the Spanish Civil War. The calculating and zealous Virginia draws Laura into her inner circle, all young men who also adore Webster, goading them with ritualistic challenges that include blood oaths and dangerous cliff diving. But new chaplain Reverend Tipton doesn't take kindly to Virginia's cultish hold on the choir, and when Tipton adds a singer to their ranks, a popular and pretty girl who happens to be one of Virginia's nemeses, Virginia's behavior turns mortally dangerous. Laura, who adores Virginia unconditionally, must decide how far she is willing to follow her friend into a sinister morass. The plot advances too transparently in service of proving a familiar truism: young people on the cusp of adulthood, longing to find meaning, face ethical, sexual, and spiritual crises. It's an inspired effort, but it doesn't break any new ground. (Mar.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Choral societies -- Fiction.
Choral music -- Fiction.
Boarding schools -- Maine -- Fiction.
Psychological fiction.
Thrillers (Fiction)
Publisher New York :Simon & Schuster,2022
Edition First Simon & Shuster hardcover edition.
Language English
Description 307 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 9781982170066
Other Classic View