Short-listed for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Amazon First Novel Award.
A gripping debut teeming with drama and scathing insight into the world of an all-girl private high school. For years, Audrey Brindle has dreamed of attending George Eliot Academy, the school where her mother, Ruth, has taught for a decade. But when she is finally admitted, she discovers a place of sly bullying and ferocious intolerance. Ruth, meanwhile, finds her world upended by the arrival of a new teacher, Henry Winter.
An acutely observed exploration of ambition, betrayal, and cruelty, The Eliot Girls deftly explores the intimacies and injustices of privileged female adolescence and the relationship of a mother and daughter for whom life will never be the same.
"This debut novel by a Toronto writer concerns Ruth, who has taught at the elite George Eliot Academy for a decade, and Audrey, her daughter, who has just entered the academy as a student and discovers a petty world of bullying and pretensions. Snotty mean girls books are always fun, and the writing here seems smart and capable."
"Krista Bridge updates the setting and dispenses with the Gothicism, but retains the feminist bedrock in her debut novel..."
"...Bridge writes elegantly and has great perception about foibles of adolescent girls and the social pressure they are under...Bridge makes it easy to understand Audrey and this, coupled with the graceful prose of The Eliot Girls makes it an admirable read."
"Rising star, Toronto author Krista Bridge, was at home vacuuming and entertaining her toddler Monday when she received what she calls the biggest surprise of her life: Word that her debut novel, The Eliot Girls, is a finalist for the $25,000 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize."
"...Bridge's writerly flourishes are spot on...Bridge wisely avoids the cliché of giving Audrey a crush on a boy -- a welcome exclusion in a novel that, at its centre, is about a mother's recklessness and her daughter's awkward navigation of the social minefield that is teenage girlhood, a world fraught with what Audrey calls 'the inescapability of humiliation.'"
"Bridge expertly navigates the complexity of Ruth and Audrey's changing relationship. She poses larger questions about the value of duty and honor, both to one's family and oneself. Ultimately, both mother and daughter have much to learn from each other. A patina of restraint and deeply buried resentment infuses every passage and short, meaning-laden exchange, making this a minutely observed if occasionally claustrophobic portrait of personal awakenings."
"...this is her first full length fiction novel (and) it is quite the debut, (one) that should be required reading for younger people and even adults, whether you love books or not. Bridge writes from the viewpoint of teens, never talking down to them, rather giving characters strong voices as they fight various conflicts..."
"(Bridge) returns with a debut novel that packs a powerful punch...The writing is stunning, replete with descriptions of the teachers..."
"...The germ of the novel had been kicking around in the back of Bridge's mind for years and stems from a time when she was a student at St. Clement's, a private school in Toronto where bullying was afoot...'It really was just something I've lived through and it really made me want to write about it because it’s such a key experience to the development to my own identity,' says Bridge. 'It was something that went on every day, sometimes in subtle ways, not necessarily in big ways. And it's such a huge part of growing up.'"
"The Eliot Girls, by Krista Bridge, is an elegant novel of manners set in a contemporary Toronto boarding school. Audrey Brindle is finally admitted in Grade 10, and enters a world of adamant hierarchies and loaded friendships. Her mother, Ruth, meanwhile, navigates the politics in the teachers' lounge while fighting the frustrations of adulthood and its fading opportunities. With graceful echoes of George Eliot, Bridge's finely crafted novel distinctively and deftly conjures a world both familiar and fresh, exclusive yet easily recognizable to us all."