Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies by Lizabeth Zindel

When does truth become gossip?

Maggie’s parents have just split up, and she’s moved from New Jersey to New York City with her mom. Desperate to make new friends and to distract herself from troubles at home, she falls in with a group of social butterflies at the ritzy private school she now attends. These girls keep a top-secret record of their classmates’ most intimate details on a wall in one of their apartments. Maggie’s friends insist they are collecting the truth—not gossip—about the lives of today’s teenagers. But she soon learns that certain information in the wrong hands can do irreparable damage.

Grade: B-//

Thanks to JL for the book :)


This novel in a word: Endearing.

It reminded me of Mean Girl in a way, especially at the end. You remember the Burn Book in which Regina George talked smack about all of her classmates? What is present here, instead of a book, is a wall where the girls who constitute the Revelers write truths—that is, deep, dark secrets—about themselves, the other girls in their class, and their teachers. When the Wall is found during a party, there’s a shower of mollusks signaling the arrival of Armageddon. People get hurt, people get mad, and the Revelers get in trouble with their parents and the school officials.

I quite liked this one. It had a lot of layers, which is something I appreciate in any novel. Aside from the friendships she maintained with the Revelers and Anne Marie (a girl from their school), there was also a great familial subplot that deals with the deterioration of Maggie’s parents’ marriage. I thought this was perhaps the best part of the novel, if only because it was the most relatable.

The writing was also quite good (except for a few interjection dumps, like, ".... Crap. Shoot. Dang."), which allowed for the message to came across strongly. I especially liked this part at the end where her Philosophy professor makes me draw a line between the discovery of the Wall and Schrödinger’s cat experiment. Fascinating stuff, not to mention intelligent. The ending could’ve probably been stronger if it drawn out more and we got to see a little bit more of the aftermath of the Revelers’ social demise, but this wasn’t a must, so I’m chill with it.



Amee said...

Ooh, sounds good. I'll have to add it to my wishlist. I love the cover too.

Btw, not sure if you know but Lizabeth is Paul Zindel's daughter. He wrote many great novels for teens. My favorite is The Pigman. It's one of my favorite books ever! I've reread it a few times even I like it so much. You should check it out, see where Lizabeth got her writing chops. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ooh, interesting. I love Paul Zindel's books.

Brilliant review! I'm definitely ordering this one - it sounds exactly my kind of book. Thanks for the recommendation.

Hillary said...

I've been looking forward to reading this for like a whole year. I absolutely love the cover and it sounds pretty good.

Zulmara said...

que cool...I love this...sounds wonderful...a different twist on an old theme...



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