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Review: Circle of Silence

September 14, 2012

Title: Circle of Silence
Author: Carol M. Tanzman
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Format: eBook from Netgalley

The biggest story of my life could be how it ends

It’s my turn to run a Campus News crew, and I’ve put together a team that can break stories wide open. And Washington Irving High has a truly great one to cover, if only we can find a lead.

A secret society has formed in our school. It announced its presence with pranks: underwear on the flagpole, a toilet in the hallway, cryptic notes. A circle of silence keeps the society a mystery. No one knows its members, agenda or initiation secrets—until a student lands in the hospital understrange circumstances.

I will blow this story wide open and stop others from being hurt… …or worse. And while my ex, Jagger, might want to help, I don’t trust him yet. (And, no, not because of our past together. That is not important to this story.)

But whether you find me, Valerie Gaines, reporting in front of the camera, or a victim in the top story of the newscast…be sure to watch Campus Newsat 9:00 a.m. this Friday.—from Goodreads

The reason this book appealed to me was two fold: 1) I have a master’s degree in journalism (writing, not broadcast) and 2) I’m sort of in love with HBO’s The Newsroom. So when I read the descriptive copy of this on Netgalley, I was all, IT’S THE NEWSROOM, BUT SET IN HIGH SCHOOL. YAY!

And in a lot of ways, that’s exactly what this is. Valerie Gaines is a determined, driven, has-her-shit-together kind of high schooler. She knows she wants a career in broadcast, and that she wants to go to Syracuse (which is where I went for grad school, so holla!), and that she wants to win a Student Broadcast Emmy.

So when a secret society turns up at her Brooklyn high school, it seems like the perfect opportunity. By breaking and following the developing story, she’ll get the Emmy, into ‘Cuse, and will be an up-and-comer with some buzz surrounding her.

And that’s all well and good. But it turns out that the secret society, MP, is a little more sinister than they originally seem. And people end up hurt.

In theory, I really like this. But in reading it, I felt like the story was very anti-climactic. I think of the things I didn’t like about it was that the [SPOILER ALERT, Y’ALL. AVERT THINE EYES IF YOU GET ANGRY ABOUT SPOILERY THINGS.] leader of MP, who has a few chapter from his point of view, is never revealed. I really wanted to find out who that character was and what their motivations were. And, I suppose in a way, it’s creepier if the person and their effed-up-ness is left anonymous. But, I really wanted there to be a “big reveal” of who exactly the leader was. Alas.

What was also possibly working against me is that I have not read Dancergirl, the prequel to this book. I don’t feel like my reading of this suffered that much, but I think there are probably some ah-ha! moments with characters that are in both books that were lost on me.

Overall, Circle of Silence is a realistic thriller about a girl whose determination and curiosity get her in over her head. So, if you’re looking for something that features a strong female character, journalism, and some really unhappy, mask-wearing high schoolers, then this book is for you!

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