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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

"Do you know what it took for Socrates’ enemies to make him stop pursuing the truth?” “Hemlock.” Storied, fiercely competitive Mariana Academy was founded with a serious honor code; its reputation has been unsullied for decades. Now a long-dormant secret society, Prisom's Party, threatens its placid halls with vigilante justice, exposing students and teachers alike for even the most minor infr…

The Year of the Gadfly

by Jennifer Miller

Overall Book Review:

This book is an interesting read told from the point of view of three of the main characters–two in “present day” and one in the past. The way the author chose to tell the story from different viewpoints helped fill in gaps and tell some of the back-story. In The Year of The Gadfly, one of the main charactersis attending a private school. (For some reason, I really enjoy books about boarding schools and summer camps. When I was young I always wanted to go away to a summer camp, and though I was homeschooled, a boarding school sounded quite appealing at times.) So right away, I was attracted to this book. Once I started reading and saw similarities to other books I have read and that have since become my favorites, I knew this book had been worth the wait.

Though the students at this private boarding school are young adolescents, they have a surprisingly mature side to them. I won’t give anything away, but let’s just leave it at this: if you like dark psychological fiction or thrillers, you will want to give this book a try. Don’t let the cover trick you. What lies inside this book is a compelling story with lots of twists and turns. If you enjoy this book, I would also recommend Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittmore and Dare Me by Megan Abbott.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  10 religious exclamations; 2 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name; 15 scatological words; 1 anatomical term; 6 F-Word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  A character’s friend is mentioned to have died with no detail; a character is mentioned to have hanged them self, perhaps as a result of harassment/bullying; vandalism is mentioned several times as a result of a dare; some brief verbal abuse.

Sex/Nudity:  Minors are mentioned to kiss several times; a porn site is mentioned with no detail; a girl is mentioned to have been drugged at a party and sexually violated with no detail; a bedroom scene that is not explicit but does involve two minors is mentioned, sex is implied; sex is implied several times; clinical nudity is mentioned in one brief scene; nudity with brief sexual innuendo is mentioned once; sex is referred to several times.

Mature Subject Matter:

Death, social conflicts, underage drinking, ethics, illegal activites, sexual awakening.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Minors drink; minors smoke.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.