When Foster Dade arrives at Kennedy, an elite boarding school in New Jersey, the year is 2008. Barack Obama begins his first term as president; Vampire Weekend and Passion Pit bump from the newly debuted iPhone; teenagers share confidences and rumors over BlackBerry Messenger and iChat; and the internet as we know it is slowly emerging from its cocoon. So, too, is Foster emerging-a transfer student and anxious young man, Foster is stumbling through adolescence in the wake of his parents’ scandalous divorce. But Foster soon finds himself in the company of Annabeth Whittaker and Jack Albright, the twin centers of Kennedy’s social gravity, who take him under their wing to navigate the cliques and politics of the carelessly entitled.
Eighteen months later, Foster will be expelled, following a tragic scandal that leaves Kennedy and its students irreparably changed. When our nameless narrator inherits Foster’s old dorm room, he begins an epic yearslong investigation into what exactly happened. Through interviews with former classmates, Foster’s blog posts, playlists, and text archives, and the narrator’s own obsessive imagination, a story unfurls-Foster’s, yes, but also one that asks us who owns our personal narratives, and how we shape ourselves to be the heroes or villains of our own stories.
Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos is about privilege and power, the pitfalls of masculinity and its expectations, and, most distinctly, how we create the mythologies that give meaning to our lives. With his debut novel, Nash Jenkins brilliantly captures the emotional intensities of adolescence in the dizzying early years of the twenty-first century.