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BOOK REVIEW:

The year of the gadfly : a novel

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M

In the wake of a mysterious tragedy, 14-year-old aspiring journalist Iris Dupont is pulled out of school and enrolled at Mariana Academy, an elite private school with a strict honor code and a tightly wound, high achieving student body. Iris quickly realizes that Mariana isn’t as perfect as it seems. Rumors abound of students expelled and faculty dismissed under unusual circumstances, but no one will go on the record about it - they're all too worried that a scandal will damage the school’s reputation and crush their Ivy League dreams.

With her imaginary friend/life coach Edward R. Murrow at her side, Iris starts investigating the school. When she learns about a secret society called Prisom’s Party that's trying to bring these incidents to light, Iris becomes determined to infiltrate it. Soon, she uncovers secrets involving her charismatic science teacher; an albino girl who attended the school ten years before; the unexplained death of a student; and the school's troubling history.

The Year of the Gadfly has the gravity and heft of Donna Tartt’s chilling The Secret History without the gloom. It’s charming, funny, and for all its quirk, there’s genuine (and sometimes wrenching) emotion at its center. The book trailer is also worth checking out, featuring cameos from everyone from Brian Williams, Dan Rather, and Christiane Amanpour to teenage journalists from around the country. A wonderful summertime read that packs sunshine in with the suspense.

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