Secret Society by Tom Dolby

First of all, you need to know right off the bat that I read the last sentence of Tom Dolby’s Secret Society and yelled, “You have got to be kidding me!”  This ends on  a cliffhanger and I immediately went to the internet to see if there will be a secret.  According to Tom Dolby’s blog, he is working on the next Secret Society book as we speak.  Phew!

Books about New York City’s Upper East Side teens are a guilty pleasure of mine.  (So are TV shows about the same- I adore Gossip Girl and even watched a few episodes of that painfully awful Prep show on Bravo).  I picked this one up as a fluff read over the Christmas break because I knew I would enjoy it.   I have to admit that I didn’t love the whole thing.  At times the characters felt more like archetypes then real people.  Because the point of view switched between the four main characters, I felt like I didn’t really get to know any of them.  However, then I got to the last chapter.  BAM!  I could not put the book down and I am dying for the sequel now.

It’s hard to summarize this book.  Phoebe is the new girl at Chadwick School, having just moved to New York City with her artist mother. Lauren is one of the rich girls of Chadwick. However, she hides her family secret, the fact that her mother is a raging alcoholic and slowly losing all of her clients.  Then there are Nick and Patch.  Childhood friends who grew up in the same building, but worlds apart, they both attend Chadwick and have managed to stay close.   Nick’s family is wealthy and powerful, but he feels like a failure to them.  Patch lives downstairs in a tiny apartment with his grandmother. His mother is in a psychiatric institution and his father died when he was much younger.  He doesn’t have the money or power to make it big in society, so he hopes that his talent with film will land him a reality show.

When Nick, Lauren, and Phoebe receive mysterious text messages while clubbing, they find themselves being initiated into the Society.  Nick and Lauren have always heard rumors of this powerful and secret group, while Phoebe feels like an outsider in the wrong place.  While the initiation is strange and over-the-top, they learn that membership in the Society comes with great privileges.  Suddenly, Lauren’s jewelry line is picked up by a major designed, Nick gets hooked up with a major club promoter, and Phoebe gets an art show at a prestigious gallery.  But are the privileges worth the price?  When one Society member is found dead and another does missing, the three friends start their own investigation.

Meanwhile, Patch sets forth to infiltrate the Society, hoping to land his reality show pilot with any footage he shoots.  But will he survive his attempts?

Again, there were times when I felt this was slow-moving and almost like a copycat Gossip Girl. But I finished the book and really enjoyed it.  Secret Society is one of those like-it-but-don’t-like-it books.  Fans of Gossip Girl and The Luxe series will enjoy Secret Society, though I would recommend The Luxe series as better guilty pleasure books.

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