Buy from Amazon • Buy from The Book Depository • Buy from Barnes & Noble • Published by Harlequin Teen on July 24, 2012
Genres: Mystery, YA Contemporary
Source: eARC via 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 under "strange" 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 News" at 9:00 a.m. this Friday.
Ah, stories with elements of student journalism… There aren’t nearly enough YA novels featuring student journalists. There need to be more! Utilizing the excitement of capturing a possibly-dangerous story rather than the suspense of a stalker as she did in dancergirl, Tanzman’s new YA thriller keeps readers glued to their seats and unable to put the book down for very long. It has a few issues, though. Issues I really can’t ignore.
As Valerie ran around trying to break the MP story wide open, I was reminded of my own days as a student journalist. Good times, I tell you. Good times. Working on a good story for an entire class period, editing the other students’ articles (oh, the horrible articles one girl kept handing in…), spending an entire class period photographing the graffiti problem in the bathrooms (I think I still have all the pictures; pretty nasty stuff, the free time I got when I finished my articles early–and I always finished my articles early, the panicking about getting ads in on time so we could make our print deadline, the constant reminders that my alcoholic grandmother was once a journalist herself…
Okay, so all those times weren’t good, but Valerie captures the best of them and because of that personal detail, I was more interested in where Circle of Silence went than I expected to be. She might be into television journalism while I preferred print journalism, but they share so many common elements that I can easily overlook it.
Overall, I wanted more development. More than anything, it wants to build suspense and be a thriller, which it does and which it is. At the cost of the well-built suspense and the utter readability of the novel, none of the characters really grow over the course of the novel and I didn’t get to know any of them very well. Jagger’s grand plan for infiltrating MP has too many holes in it from the beginning and seeing the characters take so long to catch on to those snags didn’t do the novel any good. Toward the end, Valerie picks up the Idiot Ball and presumably beats herself with it to near-unconsciousness. It’s the only explanation for how stupidly she acted just before and during the climactic scene.
And I admit, one star of this book’s three-star rating comes solely because the love interest’s name is Jagger. It’s better if you don’t ask.
I’m not sure if there will be more books in this series, but if there are, I’ll surely read them! It’s nice to be able to sit down and read a book straight through in one sitting.