Beckie reads The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

Why did you read this book? I can’t remember where I saw it mentioned, but it was compared to The Secret History.

Has Jeremy read it? No.

42-word review: 14-year-old aspiring journalist Iris investigates mysterious pasts and a secret society at a New England prep school. I could see where it was going for larger themes and metaphors about good and evil and adapting to extreme environments, but it felt shallow.

Overall rating:  3 secret societies (out of 5)


3 thoughts on “Beckie reads The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

  1. So, it’s not an actual Secret History knockoff, then? I would take the minimal criterion for a secret history knockoff being: (1) has to involve a clique, (2) the clique has to have somebody especially charismatic involved, (3) the clique has to do a bad thing that intimately involves the charismatic person being a doer of bad, (4) some people in the group have to be clearly going against their better judgment out of loyalties, (5) everything turns to crap, with no redemption.

  2. It wasn’t entirely a Secret History knockoff, but there were SH elements, i.e. (1) a secret society, (2) a member of the secret society who wasn’t especially charismatic, but on whom the protagonist had a crush, (3) the secret society did a number of bad things, (4) the newcomer to the secret society was going against her better judgement out of loyalty/other good intentions, (5) most things went to crap, but the worst things turned out to be the fault of a non-secret society member (the ending was the weakest part). It was also confused by having the secret society active during two time periods 14 years apart.

    • Yeah, you know, I could have been bending my definition of a SH knockoff to make sure it fit books that I have considered to be SH knockoffs. I think the idea that the newcomer to the group is the one who has misgivings, and maybe is the book’s protagonist or near-protagonist, contributes to being SH-like. Maybe being a SH knockoff is more like a psychiatric diagnosis, where there are like 8 symptoms, and you need to have 5 in order to fit.

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