Circle of Silence

( 11 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373210626
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/24/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,421,589
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol M. Tanzman is an award-winning theatre director and nationally recognized arts educator. Her first YA novel, The Shadow Place, was a YALSA's Quick Pick, an NCTE ALAN Best Book, and was listed in the CA Collection for Middle & Senior High Schools. In addition to her Harlequin Teen books dancergirl and Circle of Silence, she is a contributing poet to the upcoming Dare to Dream…Change the World anthology.

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Read an Excerpt

My sweaty palm pushes the Media Center door open on the second day of senior year. The single most important class of my life is about to begin.

"Don't look so worried, Val," Marci tells me. "We got this covered."

I give my best friend since eighth grade a pained look. Sunny Marci. Always seeing the bright side. Except this time, she's especially naive. There's no way it's a sure thing.

Together, we move to the table Mr. Carleton assigned to us. Yesterday, he divided the class into two permanent Campus News teams. First order of business today: each crew votes for producer. The job I covet. The position I worked really hard, during both sophomore and junior years at Washington Irving High School, to get. If mine, it could propel me straight into the college of my dreams.

I steal a glance at my competition. Raul Ortega. His dark chocolate eyes take everything in. Taller by about three inches than me, he wears his hair in a brush cut that tops a solid body. Raul's definitely the guy you want on your side in a fight. Not that he's a hothead. On the contrary, the dude's cool. He knows his way around TV Production almost as well as I do. Exactly the reason he might get more votes than me.

He feels my look, turns. Grins nervously. Oh yeah, Raul wants it, too. The real question is: which of us does the group want? Besides Marci Lee, the team consists of Omar Bryant and Henry Dillon. With five votes, there won't be a tie.

Mr. Carleton takes attendance and then says, "Okay, folks, you know what to do."

For a moment, our table is silent. Afraid that I'll come off as either too confident or too bossy, I resist the urge to take charge. Raul's busy giving the other two boys meaningful glances. A sinking feeling hits the pit of my stomach. Did he talk to them last night? Make them promise to vote for him?

That would totally suck.

Marci jumps in. Energetically, she tears a piece of paper into five pieces. "You all have something to write with?"

Henry whips out a pen. A classic overachiever, he skipped both second and third grades, won a national award for drawing in eighth and captains the chess team.

"I've got extras!"

Underneath the curtain of brown hair that covers his forehead, Henry shoots Marci puppy dog eyes. He's been quietly crushing on her for at least a year. Quietly—since she's dating a football player. Doesn't matter to Henry. He'd probably faint if Marci actually kissed him.

Omar extends a well-manicured hand. "I forgot a pencil."

"Forgot?" Marci counters. "Or never had one in the first place?"

He wriggles his eyebrows. She indulges him a laugh before handing over a slip of paper.

At first glance, Omar Bryant's a diva. When he was eight, he put on a sparkly cape for Halloween and refused to take it off until Christmas. Didn't care what anyone said—then or now. But dig deeper and you'll hit the sensitive soul of a true artist. Everyone in Campus News knows he has a great eye and a steady hand. When he gets behind the lens, his focus is total.

Marci hands out the rest of the paper. Names are scribbled. Without a word, we all fold the slips into tiny squares, as if that can disguise who voted for whom. Five tiny bundles are tossed onto the table.

"I'll count." Carefully, Marci unfolds the first piece of paper. "Valerie Gaines."

I keep my face neutral because that doesn't mean much. It's either my vote—or hers. The second paper has Raul's name on it. So does the third.

A wave of disappointment hits. I told Marci I might not win. Not if it's boys vs. girls—with the boys outnumbering us.

Marci gives me a cheerful look after unwrapping the fourth vote. "ValGal."

Obviously, that's hers. The score's tied. Raul leans forward, triumph etched across his face. I can practically see the writing inside the final piece of paper.

Raul Ortega.

"Valerie," Marci says.

"What?"

She waves the slip. "The last vote's for you. You won!"

The shock on my face is genuine. As is the surprise in Raul's eyes. Marci shoots me an "I told you" smile before prancing to the whiteboard. She grabs an orange marker and writes Valerie Gaines, B Team Producer.

Mr. Carleton nods. "Team A, you have a winner?"

Scott Jenkins raises his hand. His stick-up sand-colored hair and square jaw make him look skinnier than he actually is. Given who's on A Team, he's the person I'd vote for, too.

Scott's good but I'm better. I work harder. I care more. I won't ever let my team down.

The teacher heaves himself out of his chair. "Good choices, folks. Now listen up! Rule review so you can't say you didn't know 'em when you break 'em. Each show consists of four segments, no more, no less, interspersed with anchor ins and outs. Sixteen minutes total. Remember to look for the angle. What's the way into the story? Teams alternate weekly broadcasts. B Team's up first, then A."

Which doesn't make sense. You'd think A Team would start because, well, it's first in the alphabet. But that's how Mr. Carleton thinks. Roundabout. And backward.

"Last three rules. First—" he holds up an index finger "—a Question Sheet must be filled out before every interview." Two fingers go up. "Rude behavior or fooling around in hallways when you're shooting Will. Not. Be. Tolerated. Third. Do not open a case unless it's on a table or the ground because equipment in said case will fall out. If it breaks, your folks pay. Trust me, they Will. Not. Be. Happy."

Mr. Carleton, a portly African-American man, keeps his head shaved smoothly and his desk immaculate, proof positive that he's a fan of the "less is more" theory. Tightly edited sequences, one-word sentences.

He continues with basic equipment sign-out procedures. When he's done, he glances at the clock. "Okay, teams, with whatever time's left, start planning your first broadcast."

Excited, I pull out my Campus News notebook, but before anyone can say a word, the door flies open. Every head turns.

"Omigod!" Marcis hisses. "What's he doing here?"

My heart takes a nosedive straight into my stomach.

Jagger Voorham! Pouty, rocker-boy lips, hazel eyes that change color according to his mood, and yes, supercute. Slacker Jagger crosses the room without bothering to look at anyone, including me. As if he doesn't know I'd be front and center.

He hands Mr. Carleton a mustard-yellow Schedule Change form. The teacher frowns.

"Don't worry, Marci," I whisper. "Carleton'll never let him into the class. Jags didn't take Intro. He can't be in Advanced."

Resolutely, I tap the notebook and try to discuss stories for the first broadcast. But everyone's focus is on the quiet conversation at the front of the room. Finally the teacher nods.

"B Team!" Mr. Carleton points a finger at Jagger. "New member."

Do something, Marci mouths.

Like what? Throw myself under a bus? Jump off the Brooklyn Bridge? Drop the class?

Jagger saunters over. I look down, refusing to give him the satisfaction of acknowledging his existence. There's no way I want him—or anyone else in the room—to see the tears of frustration forming hot in my eyes.

How could Jagger do this to me? My triumphant moment—ruined!

My BFF, a four-foot-eleven, barely one-hundred-pound Korean dynamo, kicks me. I don't have to look at Marci to know what she's thinking.

Who wants to deal with Jagger all year?

That's the moment the bell rings. Everyone in class jumps up, as if electroshocked into obedience. Mr. Carleton gestures. "Stay a moment, Val?"

Marci glances at me, but I wave her on. Scott Jenkins smirks as he passes, knowing my team's just been saddled with a complete neophyte. Hailey Manussian, on the other hand, shoots me a look of sheer hatred—or maybe it's jealousy. Like most girls at WiHi, Hailey's probably going through an if only Jag-ger wanted to get into my pants phase.

Backpack on shoulder, I walk to the teacher's desk.

"I put Jagger Voorham on your team," Carleton tells me.

The blood rushes to my cheeks at the mere mention of his name. "I noticed."

"He can't fit Intro into his schedule. I let him in because he's a senior like the rest of the class. Although that doesn't mean you let him slide. He needs to do his share. Show him the ropes, won't you, Val?"

Despite the fact that I find it hard to breathe, I put on a tough act. "Sure, Mr. Carleton. I'll kick his butt."

The teacher laughs. "I bet you will." He points to a couple of Student Emmy Awards gathering dust on the shelf above his desk. "Get those stories, girl. I'm counting on you to win us another."

"No pressure," I say.

His bald head gleams. "Would it be Campus News if there wasn't?"

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Carol M. Tanzman has a gift for writing contemporary stories tha

    Carol M. Tanzman has a gift for writing contemporary stories that explore the real, gritty side of high school life in a way that keeps the reader captivated and hanging onto her every word. Honestly, I'm not fond of the synopsis. It doesn't capture the thrill and shivers and dread that I felt while reading this book. It doesn't capture the essence of the story as did the synopsis for dancergirl (WiHi #1). However, I had read dancergirl, and I remembered how much I loved that book. With high expectations, I picked up Circle of Silence, and I loved it.

    Although this is the second book in a series, what ties the books together is that they take place in the same high school. (You can read this without having read dancergirl!) The character are all different, but for a couple references to Ali, which was pretty exciting. I cheered, "I KNOW THAT GIRL!!" in my head, as though I'd spotted a celebrity. In a way, I did. I'm that big of a book nerd.

    The story focuses on Val's perspective; however, every now and then, the mysterious leader behind the society gets a word in. Each time, I knew that something bad was going to happen. Because the leader doesn't have anything good to say. What we see is plotting--plotting on how to use the other members of the society, what new and dangerous prank to pull, and who should be eliminated. Each prank is more daring and threatening than the last, and I was hanging off the edge of a mental cliff, worrying that Val and her team wouldn't expose the truth in time to prevent something irreversible from happening. As it is, they come across many close calls.

    Val is a very different narrator from Ali. Both have large amounts of pressure put onto them, and both are courageous in their own ways. Ali for going after a stalker; Val for pursuing the truth of the story at all costs. The difference is that Val seems more energetic and with more drive, which comes from the reporter within her. As an aspiring journalist, she is always pushing after the truth, after the story, and her curiosity often gets her into trouble. (And having a stalker isn't very energizing. It's downright scary.) Oftentimes, it causes her to forget about what matters. However, that is at the heart of this story: learning to accept yourself and the proper way to go about doing that. I loved watching Val and her team pursue the story on the mysterious society

    Val is a courage girl. It takes a lot of guts to pursue a story as dangerous as this one, especially when you know that the authorities won't do anything to help. With this second book, Tanzman has established herself as one of my favorite authors. I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book that she has lying in store for us!

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  • Posted September 8, 2012

    I am a huge fan of thrillers and mysteries. I love it when t

    I am a huge fan of thrillers and mysteries. I love it when the book makes me think deeply about something, or discover who is behind something. I read so MANY mixed reviews about Circle of Silence, that I just HAD to try it. And proudly, I am on the good side :) By the way, do I have to remind you? I was not paid to write a positive review, all ideas expressed are mine and mine only. Now, for the review...
    Valarie Gaines (what a CUTE name!) has always had a dream. To win a scholarship for journalism, so when group B of Campus News vote for the leader, she is thrilled to be chosen! Now, she has to direct and produce many segments for the high school TV. Fortunately, her group are reliable and hardworking. There is her supportive best friend, Marci. There is the tech-genius Henry and the hard-working Raul. There is the love-able Omar. The group collection cannot get better, but it can get worse. Val (Valarie) is not so happy when another member is added, the handsome, flirty Jagger. The only guy who broke her heart and never gave it back to her.
    Fortunately for Valarie, stories are flowing. Well, particularly, one story. Someone named MP is doing horrible pranks in their high school. From hanging underwear in the place of flags, to putting a toilet in the hallway. Val takes over the story with her group; interviewing students, teachers, and scanning hallways. She is determined to know who is behind the pranks. Turns out, the MP is not just one person, they are a group, and they do not want Val to mess up their plans. It looks like threatening will not stop Val, but will putting her loved ones in danger make her stop?
    Who are the MP? Is Val getting close to find out? And will she be able to forgive Jagger for what he had done or will she move on? Trust me, feeling shocked is an understatement when you find out who the MP are. Still want to find out? Well, you better read this mysterious, exhilarating, action-packed novel, Circle of Silence....
    I LOVED this book. Like, absolutely, perfectly, fell in love with it. I never knew I would enjoy it THAT much. Yeah, I will confess, I am not a very good fan of Contemporary. I hate predictable stories, but this one was different. It was utterly unpredictable. I had NO IDEA who MP was until Val found out. I loved the mysterious aspect of the book. Carol M. Tanzman is a PRO.
    I noticed that the author didn't concentrate on the description very much, which was fine by me. When you get into the story, you won't even want to get away from it to read what the surrounding is like. It's THAT captivating! The characters are wonderful. Val is one of the strongest, most hard-headed person I have ever got to know, I ADMIRED and RESPECTED her. Although, my favorite was Marci. If I could describe her in one word, it would be: ME. I loved her. All of the characters are very much believable and relate-able, although not very third-dimensional, but still realistic!
    I never knew I would enjoy this book THAT much or I would have read a LONG time ago, I don't know why I kept delaying it! I will definitely be going back to read Carol M. Tanzman's other novel "Dancer Girl" which is the first book in this series, but the two books are companion novels so they can be read as standalone(s). If you want an enjoyable, utterly-compelling read that will keep you on the edge of your chair, then Circle of Silence is the ONE!

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  • Posted August 22, 2012

    Suspenseful and Compelling. My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Dis

    Suspenseful and Compelling. My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
    Disclaimers: I received a temporary e-galley from the publisher via
    Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. My Overall
    Thoughts/Impressions: I didn't know this was a sequel until I had
    finished reading this one so you can definitely read it as a stand-alone
    novel. I'll admit to being curious to see what happens in the first
    one now. I'll have to go back and read that one. But let's get into
    what I thought of this book. I picked it up because it was a bout
    journalism and I'm a journalist (granted I'm on the print side not
    broadcasting). I didn't have high expectations for this novel. I liked
    the idea of a secret society being formed and figured it would be
    interesting. What I didn't expect was the secret society to be actually
    dangerous and so creepy. Tanzman's writing style drew me in and I loved
    the characters. I loved Val. She was so intense that she was sometimes
    narrow-minded but I loved watching her interact with her friends and
    then of course her ex Jagger. I'm definitely a Jagger fan. He was a bad
    boy who was not really a bad boy. I don't know why I love characters
    like that so much I just do. The plot was slightly predictable and I
    felt like that the police and the faculty should have stepped in much
    sooner. In that regard, I found the plot slightly unrealistic. These
    pranks weren't so innocent and were more crimes than pranks. They should
    have stepped in more forcefully and much sooner. But having said that,
    Carol created a thrilling tale full of suspense and while I had
    unraveled the plot very early it was still a compelling read. My heart
    was racing while I watched Val recklessly track this story. In horror
    movies, there are always the moments where you want to scream at the
    protagonist "don't go into the creepy dark basement"
    "don't open the closet." While reading this book, I had those
    moments several times. I still thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Carol's
    characters were compelling. The writing was for the most part very well
    done. Definitely an enjoyable read. It was entertaining and suspenseful.
    However, it lacked that extra something to push it up to a book that I
    really loved. I wouldn't reread this one or buy it since I've already
    read it, but wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to fans of this genre.
    In Summary: Carol's novel presents a suspenseful and compelling read
    that mixes mystery with enough romance to make this a book I adored
    reading. Compelling characters juxtaposed with an intriguing plot will
    keep you turning pages until the very end. The Wrap-up: This is the
    sequel but this acts as a stand-alone novel. Carol's writing was
    intriguing and I'll definitely be curious to see what she writes next.
    If you like mystery/suspense in the young adult genre, then I recommend
    this one to you. Love, Danica Page

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  • Posted August 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Chapter by Chapter's review of Circle of Silence

    I felt like a true Nancy Drew while I was reading Circle of Silence by Carol M. Tanzman…minus the actual grunt work. Ok, ok…more like a behind the scenes Nancy Drew…

    Beginning senior year, main protagonist, Valerie Gaines, is planning to finish of her high school Media career as Producer of Campus News. Luckily, or unluckily, for her a new story seems to surface involving a group of misfits who lovingly call themselves MP who are pulling pranks left, right, and centre. For what reason? To make a statement? To get a rise out of everyone? To stick it to the man?

    But when the pranks start to turn more morbid and threatening, Valerie and her news team take it upon themselves to find the truth, and nip this thing in the bud. But to complicate things even more for our dear ValGal, her ex-boyfriend Jagger has decided to take the same class and has been placed in Valerie’s group.

    Initially the pranks were thought as harmless…taking the school flag and placing it in a bucket located inside a toilet. But the MP’s, who all wear assorted masks and call themselves by said mask’s name (Skeletor, Frankenstein, etc.), feel threatened by the presence of the Campus News and their nosing around. The pranks become more and more dark and violent in nature, until eventually one of the Campus News’ own becomes the one on the receiving end of a prank which doesn’t end very well.

    Now Valerie and Scooby gang must dig deeper and tread further to find the truth, and to unmask these pranksters.

    Circle of Silence was an addictive and gripping story that I am so glad to have been able to experience. It flowed exactly how a good mystery book should read. Many cliff hanger moments, much finger pointing, multiple suspects, and action, action, action!

    All the characters in Circle of Silence are ones that I won’t soon forget, many with their own personal demons that they need to deal with. Valerie, although seemed like she charged into situations rather than consider different options, is a strong, female, lead. I love reading books where the female leads are headstrong, can fend for themselves, is not selfish, and extremely brave. Although her flaw for me would be how easily she accepted Jagger back into her life. I mean, hellooo…he cheated on you, and you totally busted him! And in all honestly, Raul sounds super yummy and would probably treat ValGal like a queen.

    Complete with an annoying younger sister, and brooding bad boy, a spunky best friend, and a potential love interest that is totally drool worthy, Circle of Silence is a must read for mystery fans everywhere. Where the decision you make can, ultimately, be your last. Get caught up in the world of WiFi High, and get your sleuthing game on!

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Review from SlicedOpenReviews(dot)com So, if you read my review

    Review from SlicedOpenReviews(dot)com

    So, if you read my review for dancergirl earlier today/yesterday then you know that I was pleasantly surprised by my enjoyment of it after my apprehension in reading it. Well, Circle of Silence is part of what spawned all of the curiosity. Truthfully, I was more intrigued by the synopsis for this book and after finishing dancergirl I was so much more excited to start reading.

    You remember my curiosity to how WiHi was going to be a series? Well it is, but it isn’t. You could, in theory, read these out-of-order. But, there are so innuendos within this book that you would only pickup on having read dancergirl. The series takes on the same setting, but picks up a completely new cast and story. Oh and boy was it a story. This book really stepped it up with the action and suspense aspects. Yes, there was also still mystery but this one. Totally takes a combination of all three and ends up kicking your butt!

    I also loved the characters in this book too. Where the characters in dancergirl were great and contributed to the story fabulously, Circle of Silence does much in the same, while also ramping up the romance factor. Jagger, Jagger, Jagger. *Cue my bad boy infatuation* yes, Jagger is Valerie’s ex who dropped her like a bad habit their previous year of school and now he has come barreling back into her life while attempting to, what she thinks, ruin HER year on “Campus News”. Well, Jagger’s spectacular bad boy facade plus what seems like Valerie’s ideal story to give her the breakthrough year on “Campus News” equaled on book I couldn’t put down!

    Oh, aaannndddd Masked men…freaking creepy! I loved the random MP LOG’s tossed in throughout the book totally added to the action and creep factor.

    Overall loved this one too, Carol M Tanzman totally stepped up her game with it and will have to pick up a copy to add to the shelves!

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    AMAZING!!!

    This is a highly entertaining, well written mystery novel that kept my attention from start to finish. All the characters were amazing, and I loved trying to figure out the truth behind MP and their pranks, which become more sadistic as they continue. Tanzman really is a gifted storyteller, and I can’t wait to read more by her as I anticipate her other novel, Dancergirl, is probably just as riveting.

    I really love Valerie. Yes, she makes a few really stupid decisions all in the name of a story, but her dedication and yearning to be number one, never losing sight of her goals, is what makes her such a great character! And the tension between her and Jagger… yikes! Though I loved to hate him, I still really liked him as well, which is a bit ironic, but…

    Not knowing who to trust throughout this novel, I has many theories about the identities of those in MP, but even when a really telling piece of evidence came up, I didn’t put two and two together until Valerie figured it out. In my opinion, any writer who can keep me constantly guessing and highly engaged is a literary god/dess, and Tanzman fits the bill. I highly suggest everyone read this amazing novel.

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    Valerie Gaines, aka ValGal, is a a Senior in high school who has

    Valerie Gaines, aka ValGal, is a a Senior in high school who has just been voted Producer, in her team, for Campus News. Her best friend, Marci Lee, is also in her group; the girls are super excited, that is, until Jagger, Val's ex-boyfriend, is thrown into the same group as them. Soon after Val becomes Producer, weird things start happening around the school; a toilet in the hallway, underwear on the flagpole, threatening messages, and so forth. Like a true Producer, Valerie hops on this story and doesn't let up…even if it means receiving a few threatening messages from MP. When these pranks start happening, as a reader, you immediately want to know who MP is…is it a group? Is it one person? Is it someone from the Campus News team? Is it someone close to anybody reporting the stories? I appreciated Val's dedication to the stories, her team, and her role as Producer. As I was reading this novel, I had a lot of mixed emotions; I disliked Val's little sister, I felt sorry for her sister, and then towards the end of the novel, I understood her. I loved the friendship between Val and Marci, and even Val and Jagger, despite their history. After the first prank, I was super anxious to find out just who MP was and what their meaning was behind the pranks and forming the group; I had my suspicions from the beginning, but I just needed it confirmed by Tanzman. I really enjoyed this novel, but as someone so close to my siblings, I just wished Val and her sister were a little closer. The thrill and curiosity of wanting to know MP really made this novel hard to put down!!

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  • Posted July 28, 2012

    Circle of silence is mixing the characteristics of the detective

    Circle of silence is mixing the characteristics of the detective fiction with the ones of the young adult literature. Valerie Gaines is a news reporter in her high-school. When a secret society begins to signal their presence by some tricks, Valerie is intrigued by the story and tries to find out who are the clan’s members. But everything happens to quickly, and from the innocent tricks to some fatal initiations, there’s just a tiny step. And the lives of some close friends of Valerie are in danger.

    Honestly, until the half of the novel the story is so outstretched, that it becomes boring. Indeed, we have some mystery, but the intrigue is not very well built. I was expecting some thrilling moments, something like Pretty Little Liars, lots of suspense or some secrets that blow your mind. Unfortunately, the secret society’s tricks are boring and the way the news team follows the story is superficial. At some point, you really lose the hope that the book could bring something interesting. But everything changes when one of the main characters almost loses his life. And when you find out that another character, one that’s really close to Val, is actually a member of the secret society. Only from the half, the book begins to captivate you. Especially because at that point, you’re almost sure that the book is only..acceptable, so the surprise is even bigger. The ending is only partially offering what the reader would expect. We do get the revelation of one of the society’s members, but the other ones are unknown, they don’t have a story, they’re not linked in any way with the main characters, so their identities revelation is not offering an interesting moment.

    The romance side of the story is ok, but not impressive. Valerie is caught between her ex and the possibility of a new relation, but the stories don’t grow to much. The flirting with the new colleague remains at an incipient level, the two characters never getting a first date. And the relation with her ex is resumed only after the whole adventure, when the protagonist is offering kind of a conclusion for the story.

    Pros:

    - The author created some perfect moments, when you’re totally surprised, because you couldn’t expect any of those things to happen. Unfortunately, these fragments are not very frequent and they don’t cancel all the lack of interesting aspects from the rest of the story.

    Cons:

    - The story comes off on a single plan – the news team attempts to figure out who are the secret society’s members. The other aspects are presented in a superficial way, so the story looks unbalanced and incomplete.

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  • Posted July 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    It's Valerie Gaines' senior year in high school and she wants no

    It's Valerie Gaines' senior year in high school and she wants nothing more than to run the "Campus News." She has her team together and things couldn't be better, then who should walk in the door to join the class, but her ex-boyfriend Jaggar Voorham, looking as sexy as ever, just when she thought she was getting over him. To top it off, he's assigned to her news team, and the teacher asks her to show him the ropes. Valerie and her team end up investigating a series of pranks at school by someone who uses the initials MP. As they pursue the story further, the pranks begin to get more serious, even dangerous. Despite being warned to stop, Valerie and her team continue to pursue the story, and she and Jaggar end up growing closer as they do. Valerie is being fed information by a secret informant, and after she finds out about one girl being injured who tried to join the group, she gets a note saying the next candidate's initiation would be worse. The problem with that, is that the next initiate is someone going in under cover from her team. The question is, can she prevent this tragedy before it strikes and can Valarie and her team find out the identity of MP before it's too late?


    Circle of Silence is both thrilling and mysterious, with just the right amount of romance thrown in. I really liked Valerie, she is a very driven and focused person, and she doesn't lose her head in the middle of a crisis. I also thought the camaraderie that developed between the team members added a lot to the book. I enjoyed the whole "news theme" that the story was centered around. As far as the romance, I have to agree with Valerie, Jaggar Voorham is really hot, and though their relationship ended on a bad note, it is nice to see them try to get past it. The plot was intriguing and mysterious, the romance was really sweet, and Valarie and her friends were fun to get to know. Circle of Silence is a great contemporary YA thriller that is a little scary and very mysterious, with a little romance in the mix. If you enjoy this type of story, then Circle of Silence is probably a book you will want to check out.

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  • Posted July 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Valerie Gaines is determined to make her senior year count. As p

    Valerie Gaines is determined to make her senior year count. As producer of “Campus News” she knows if she plays her cards right she and her news team can easily win the school Emmy and she will get into the top journalism school of her choice. But then her ex-boyfriend, Jaggar joins the class and her teacher assigns Jaggar to her team. So much for getting over him. Now Valerie has to deal with the boy who broke her heart while investigating a group of school pranksters whose pranks seem to be getting more and more dangerous. Despite the warnings to stop her investigation, Valerie is determined to find out who is behind this, but is getting the story worth risking her life?

    I missed the first installment of the WiHi series, but from what I understand, each installment deals with a different cast of characters, so I didn’t feel as if I was missing any information. After reading this book, I definitely want to go back and read dancergirl. The story was well-executed, and I felt connected to a lot of the characters. The plot was well-paced and the tension grew as the story progressed. I really liked Valerie. I totally understood her motivation — she’s a journalist and her tenacity was admirable. I’m not sure I would have been as strong as her were I to find myself in a similar situation. I was thoroughly engaged in the story. I liked that it felt real. The whole secret society, and the pledge these members make to their group to keep silent really grabbed me. I could totally see this happening. There are so many kids in high school that feel as if they don’t really belong, so pledging oneself to a group just to feel wanted makes sense. I also liked that the romance, while not a dominant part of the story, felt natural and not forced. While the ending and the reveal of who was behind the mysterious group didn’t really surprise me, I felt the rest of the novel gelled well enough that it didn’t bother me as badly as it would have had the story been weak.

    I definitely recommend this one. A perfect mix of mystery, intrigue, likable characters and a touch of romance makes Circle of Silence a must read for any mystery lover.

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  • Posted July 23, 2012

    (I was given a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-r

    (I was given a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley.)
    17-year-old Valerie Gaines wants to be a reporter, and getting the job of producer in her TV class is a dream come true. Even the arrival of her ex in the class can’t dampen her mood.

    The pranks begin with knickers flying from the flag pole, and a toilet in a third floor hallway. The scrawled ‘MP’ signature with each prank makes people think that they have been ‘punked’ by a neighbouring high school. When the pranks continue, everybody knows that’s not the case, and when reporting about the pranks leads to Val finding a dead bird hanging in her locker, it seems that the pranksters want her to keep her nose out.

    A good reporter always chases a story though, and Val wants that story! When she’s contacted by someone who claims to be a member of MP, she hides it from everyone else and follows the lead on her own, even when it seems to be leading her into trouble.
    Who are the mysterious MP though? What do they want? And what will Val stop at to the get the story of the year?

    I enjoyed this story, although I found it a bit slow at the start. The mystery soon builds up though, and the reader has no idea who ‘MP’ actually are, just the same as val.

    Val is an interesting character, a girl who is desperate to be a reporter, but at the same time shows integrity and level-headedness, in a way no cut-throat reporter ever would. It’s nice to see Val as a real person, with thoughts and feelings and drive, who isn’t happy to sacrifice anyone and anything to get a story.
    I liked the character of Jagger – Val’s ex-boyfriend, and was shocked by what happened to him half-way through the book! I would have liked to see more interaction between him and Val though.

    I liked the storyline, although it could probably have done with a bit more excitement to liven it up in places. The script flowed well though, and I didn’t guess who ‘MP’ was, right up ‘til the end, and I didn’t see the twist coming either.

    Overall; A good YA mystery.
    7 out of 10.

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