In Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos (The Overlook Press, May 2023), author Nash Jenkins, A&S '15, takes on a subject that could easily be a genre in itself—the boarding school scandal. Our story unfolds courtesy of an unnamed and unreliable narrator who is determined to uncover the truth of our title character, Foster Dade. We first meet Foster in 2008, when he arrives at the elite Kennedy prep school in New Jersey.
Foster staggers through adoles- cence in the wake of his parents' divorce. After a doctor prescribes Adderall for Foster's panic attacks and ADHD, he breaks bad with a side hustle and starts to sell the pills to his
classmates. Drug dealing leads him into the orbit of Annabeth Whittaker and Jack Albright, both at the core of Kennedy's social inner circle. The two take him under their wings to navigate the cliques and politics of the care- lessly entitled. Foster, not surprisingly, is attracted to Annabeth, but she couples up with Jack, and Foster romances another student. When Foster is caught kissing Annabeth, the elites exile him, and things rapidly get worse with the death of one of Foster's "clients," a vicious Facebook chat thread, and his ultimate expulsion.
When our narrator inherits Foster's old dorm room, he begins a yearslong investigation into what happened. Through Foster's blog posts, playlists, text archives, and interviews with former classmates and the narrator's own obsessive imagina- tion, a story unfurls.
A debut novel, Foster Dade is about privilege and power, the pitfalls of masculinity, and coming of age in the dizzying early years of the 21st century