Author: Carol M. Tanzman
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: July 24, 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
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.)
Valerie Gaines wants nothing more than to be a reporter, and when she’s given the job of producer in her school’s television class, she’s fairly certain that she’s made it. This is her shot to break the news, chase the story and get to the heart of the issue, and Val knows how important it is to get the story at all costs. But then the pranks start. They’re innocent to start – underwear flying, toilets in the hall and a mysterious signature letting people know there is a real person behind it all. Things start to unravel though, when a cryptic warning tells her to stay away. Should Val keep investigating, or should she simply cut her losses and play it safe?
I remember when I first heard about Circle of Silence, and I was excited by the rich blend it seemed to put forth. First of all, you have the investigative reporting angle, and then you have the angle of behind the scenes drama that seems to unravel into something more than a childish prank. It sounded a bit like a Lifetime movie, but with all the right things happening, rather than one of those too-much-to-bear stories that becomes cloying and obnoxious. Carol M. Tanzman has crafted a cloak and dagger mystery story with an engaging heroine, an ever-shifting plot and lighthearted touches of romance to heighten the story.
Guys, stories with journalism are an instant attraction to me…as are mysteries. The two combined is, in a nutshell, a recipe for excellence in my books. Circle of Silence cleverly cultivated both, giving me the best of both worlds, while teasing me at the same time. The story offers up just enough details throughout to keep me entranced, but it was like keeping you on the edge of a cliff and holding you back just enough not to let you jump. I thought Val was a fantastic MC. She has a level head throughout the story that is believable at her age, and her investigative reporting is more of a personal drive than a cutthroat desire to succeed. Val’s emotions were honest, and her intentions were admirable, and I could definitely empathize with her situation and her want to figure out who was behind the mysterious “MP.” The subtle twists and turns that wove throughout the characters and plot points were intricate and well thought out, though I’ll admit some of the characters, namely Jagger, through me for a loop in the middle. The best part hands-down, however, was the fact that I had absolutely no clue who “MP” was until the end of the story. The hints of foreshadowing never gave too much away – just enough to keep me guessing.
Overall, Circle of Silence was surprisingly good. I thought it was well executed, and though I wish I had a bit more backstory on the characters, I thought it definitely came full circle. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I definitely recommend this one to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction and mysteries.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.