— The Nine is one of those suspenseful, highly addictive novels that keeps you saying, “just one more chapter” until suddenly you’ve stayed up all night to finish it. Hannah and Sam – the tenacious, devoted mother and her humble, endearing son – make an irresistible team as they take on the dark narcissism and systemic exploitation of an elite world that attempts to break them. I love this book’s iconoclastic impulse and its ultimate faith in the values of work over privilege, and love over loyalty.
Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men
— The Nine uncovers the underbelly of an elite private school, revealing decades-long corruption, while also exposing how the fervent dreams of mothers for their children can shatter families. Jeanne Blasberg delves with unflinching precision into the chasms between parents and children, a novel revelatory for the author’s willingness to scrutinize both mother and son and their stifling bond.
Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of The Widow of Wall Street and Waisted.
— Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg’s compelling new novel, The Nine, is a complex and beautifully wrought tale of the sacrifices parents and children make to join the ranks of the elite, and the shocking secrets they find once they get there. It will surely be catnip for book groups—Dead Poets Society crossed with a conspiracy thriller, with a helicopter mom’s midlife crisis thrown in for good measure—and it’ll keep the reader turning pages as fast as she can.
Holly LeCraw, author of The Swimming Pool and The Half Brother
— The Nine… delivers a tightly plotted tale that taps the vein of secret terror every first-time parent harbors when sending a child on their own into the world. With devastating precision, Blasberg mines the insecurity, the denial, the projected hope and ambition of a mother singularly devoted to her only child played against revelations of dark doings at an elite prep school. …the reader ratchets back and forth between sympathy and antipathy toward Hannah’s fierce love, blinding wishfulness, and searing heartache… A painful, beautiful book.
Barbara Stark-Nemon, author of Even in Darkness and Hard Cider
— In The Nine, Jeanne Blasberg shows off her chops as a terrific writer of send-ups — in this case, a fictitious prestigious New England prep school. (Full Disclosure: In the 1960s, I attended one of these schools as a boarding student, one of those that Esquire Magazine called the ‘Select Seventeen.’) Yes, the anecdotes are different, and many of the day-to-day activities are things we could only dream of (robotics labs, cell phones, laptop computers, decent food, etc.) But she captures the gist of what it is like to live and study at one of these schools, as well as to describe two of the distinct kinds of parents who send their children to these schools: (1) The representative of the privileged classes (also known in some circles as the one percent); and (2) The trope of the striving outsider, in this case, a Jewish kid from an interfaith marriage. Through hyperbole, Ms. Blasberg manages to caricature these parents (as well as other students, the teachers, and the administrators) in such a way that despite your gritting your teeth at their behavior, you realize that it’s been done with a bigger goal in mind: to wit, to demonstrate the frailties and absurdities of all these people. You can only understand the other side if you walk in their shoes temporarily, and I can tell you from first-hand experience, no matter what your footwear looks like, you are immeasurably better off getting out of theirs and wearing your own … or going barefoot. Wonderful kudos to Jeanne Blasberg for bringing us into this world, which helps us realize that ours isn’t actually so bad.
David Hirschberg, author of My Mother’s Son