on 27 December 2010
Amy Haskel, editor-in-chief of the campus lit magazine at Eli university, is confidently expecting to be 'tapped' into Quill & Ink, the literary society there. She certainly doesn't think she'll find herself in Rose & Grave, the notorious - and hugely powerful - secret society. She's not rich, she's not famous, and she's definitely not male, which would previously have been the sticking point for R & G. But this year, the society members have decided to bring five women into the fold, which hasn't gone down too well with certain alumni... leaving Amy and her friends to fight against men far more powerful than they are, while she juggles a fellow tap, a friend-with-benefits, and her society big brother with a secret of his own. Oh, and as if that's not enough, the need for secrecy is messing up her friendship with suitemate Lydia.
This is fairly standard YA fare, which despite being set in Yale (Sorry, Eli - although author Diana Peterfreund freely admits that the obvious comparison is intended) isn't all that different from many high-school or college based books. What makes it a real pleasure to read, though, is snarky narration by Amy, who is frankly awesome, and an interesting cast of fellow taps, with a lot more character development and revelations in the second half of the book than I was prepared for by the first part of it. By the end, I was definitely getting hooked on the story and am really looking forward to the follow-up, Under The Rose, which I'm planning on reading soon. Bonus points for an awesome speech given at a climatic moment which was two and a half pages of serious girl power, and an interesting ending which means that while it would have worked well as a stand alone, there are a couple of plot strands which will make that sequel (and the other two books in the series) very interesting.
High recommendation to fans of Cecily Von Ziegesar, Anna Goodberson and Curtis Sittenfield.
Meet Amy Maureen Haskel, a junior at prestigious Eli University. As editor-in-chief of the campus literary newspaper, Amy's a shoe-in to be tapped for Quill & Ink, the literary senior society, home to writers and scribblers of any and all degree. After all, it's a part of her master plan: get tapped into Quill & Ink, do her summer internship at Horton, make it through the Russian Novel class, decide what to do with her "friend with benefits," Brandon, and, basically, enjoy a fulfilling life as a literary genius.
Except things don't quite work out that way. Amy is tapped to join a society all right, but she learns pretty quickly (all the guys in black robes hidden in shadow give her a clue) that it isn't Quill & Ink who is interested in her. No, she's been tapped by Rose & Grave, the mother of all secret societies on Eli's campus. Except that doesn't make sense either, as Rose & Grave is a society of men only.
The fact that Rose & Grave has decided to allow women into their society is just the beginning of Amy's junior year. She's heard so many rumors about the "Diggers" over the years that she doesn't know what is fact and what is fiction. Does Rose & Grave really run the country? Is every presidential candidate a member? Do they control the media? Is Rose & Grave funded with unlimited money from the world's biggest CEO's and business founders? Are you really supposed to leave the room if someone so much as utters the words Rose & Grave, and yet wear a Rose & Grave pin on your person at all times? It's all very confusing for Amy, and it only gets more so after her initiation.
Given the ultra-cool (not) name of Bugaboo, Amy is now in a secret society, which is great. Except she can't tell anyone that she's a member of Rose & Grave, never mind what she does during their meetings. There are some members of the Diggers who aren't thrilled to have women in their ranks, and that spells major trouble for not only Amy and the other members of class D177, but possibly for the entire Rose & Grace society.
SECRET SOCIETY GIRL is a blast! Fun and witty, with an engaging theme, heartfelt situations, intriguing dialogue, and a cast of characters that you'll be cheering for, it's a story you won't want to put down. Thankfully, there's another book coming in this series, so I have something to look forward to. As it is, though, I can't wait for another look into the lives of not only Bugaboo, but some of my other favorite characters--Angel, Little Demon, and Puck. Not to mention being able to catch up on the lives of the graduating class members such as Poe and Lancelot. You won't go wrong picking up a copy of this clever, imaginative story.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
on 8 December 2011
From the moment I read the blurb about this book I knew I had to read it. As far as I knew there were no secret societies at my university. I'm not entirely sure there were any non secret societies (Scottish universities are mostly about drinking!). Bearing all this in mind I have a fascination with all things Ivy League and Secret, I especially love the film The Skulls. So after starting this book it did not take me long to zip through it and get online to order the rest!
Amy is currently attending Eli University and she thinks she is going to be tapped to the totally non secret literary society. However it turns out the uber selective and secret boys only society called Rose & Grave have decided this year to accept girls and Amy's name is on the list. There is everything I was looking for in this book, from crazy initiations to a slightly slutty leading lady!
I related to Amy from the first page. She was a completely real character who makes mistakes in her relationships with her friends and the men in her life. The supporting characters are also well rounded and written each with there own personal troubles. I found keeping some of the society characters straight often confusing as they go by 2 names, however it did not diminish my enjoyment.
I am ready to pick up the next book in the series and find out what Amy's challenge will be this time.
on 28 January 2011
Amy Haskel is a student at Eli University (a fictional Yale) and is stunned when she is chosen to be a part of its most powerful and exclusive secret society, Rose & Grave. She thought Rose & Grave only chose the rich, the well-connected and the male. Soon Amy is swept into a world of wild rituals, hot men, possible friends and scary society patriarchs.
This book is fun and fresh. It's a cool window into what life is like at an US university and Amy is a likeable heroine - she's smart, funny and doesn't let anyone push her around. I actually liked all the girls of Rose & Grave; each had her own distinct personality and I loved the way they banded together in the end - it's nice to see female solidarity and support. The men aren't lacking, either and I had as hard a time choosing which one I liked best as Amy did! (Going with George at the moment) It's the character moments that will keep me reading the series; I care about them all and what to see what happens to them.