The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies

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When Maggie starts her senior year of high school at ritzy all-girls Berkley Prep, she hopes to make a few new friends and reinvent herself as a popular girl. Then she's tapped to become a member of the most powerful clique at Berkley, the Revelers. Sure, the Revelers know how to have a good time, but they're deadly serious when it comes to their social cause: collecting the secrets of today's teenagers. At first Maggie is seduced by her new friends' wealth and passion for truth. But when the Revelers start using...

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Overview

When Maggie starts her senior year of high school at ritzy all-girls Berkley Prep, she hopes to make a few new friends and reinvent herself as a popular girl. Then she's tapped to become a member of the most powerful clique at Berkley, the Revelers. Sure, the Revelers know how to have a good time, but they're deadly serious when it comes to their social cause: collecting the secrets of today's teenagers. At first Maggie is seduced by her new friends' wealth and passion for truth. But when the Revelers start using what they know about others for their own benefit, she starts having second thoughts. Especially when Maggie herself is put at risk...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Maggie Wishnick is not happy about starting a new school her senior year, especially ritzy Berkeley Prep on Manhattan's Upper East Side-that is, until the most exclusive clique asks Maggie to join their secret society. Zindel (Girl of the Moment) has an uncanny ability to get inside her protagonist's head. Maggie's internal dialogue is wonderfully observant of everything and everyone around her-save herself and those she truly cares about. The girls' conversations have the ring of authenticity, as if Zindel eavesdrops on high school girl-speak even as she writes. However, the secret society, the Revelers, functions only as a slightly edgy frame for packaging clique-lit gossip; moreover, Zindel uses it to recycle a pivotal story line from the movie Mean Girls. Maggie has pain lurking in her family life, but her tendency to avoid it-while natural to some extent-lasts too long. Readers will rightly suspect that Maggie's character is of greater depth than that of her new friends, but the revelation of her moral fiber comes across as too little, too late. Ages 12-up. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Sarah Hill
Maggie's parents are separated, and she is forced to move with her mother to downtown New York City. Her accountant grandfather enrolls her in Berkeley Prep-an all-girls exclusive prep school. Maggie luckily falls into the cool crowd of three rich, snobby girls. Victoria is the leader of the Revelers, a close-knit group that just lost their fourth member. Maggie is invited to join, and after a week of wearing mismatched clothing, not speaking to cute boys, and spying on classmates, her initiation is over. The secret society writes truths on "The Wall," located in a secret room in Victoria's Central Park penthouse. After getting to know her new friends better, Maggie learns that truth and gossip are both hurtful. This second novel from Paul Zindel's daughter does not disappoint if the reader is looking for a fluffy, feel-good tween read. Maggie's situation is not new in teen literature-the new girl at a prep school, initiation into a secret mean-girls' society, and the realization that the rich life is not all it is cracked up to be. The conversation between teens and adults is often contrived, and the girls' conversation is simplistic. One of the Revelers states that social networking sites "actually increase jealousy among human beings," and there are other instances where teenagers speak with adult phrases. Give this one to readers who want rich bad girls without the drugs and sex but not to readers wanting depth and something new. Reviewer: Sarah Hill
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

Maggie Wishnick and her mother have moved to New York City, where Maggie is a senior at an elite girls' school. Each chapter opens with an observation about the habits of butterflies, those delicate and beautiful creatures known for their powers of transformation and survival. When three stylish, competitive girls invite Maggie to join their clique, the Revelers, her desire to belong helps her endure the process of initiation. Then they take her to see the Wall, their hidden scriptorium in the posh apartment of the Revelers' leader, Victoria, where they have posted stories and photographs documenting the dark secrets of other people. Maggie is a sympathetic protagonist who has secrets of her own about her parents' separation. Drama builds when she is assigned to "get the goods" on her friend, Anne Marie, only to learn that her betrayal helps Victoria to beat Anne Marie for the school's highest academic honor, the Golden Wreath. Maggie's narrative is sophisticated, with descriptive details of urban teen life and references to drinking and sex. In a rushed denouement that isn't fully convincing, the Wall is mistakenly unveiled during a teen party, and events spiral downward in the backlash. Maggie knows she must restore trust with her family, Anne Marie, and her boyfriend, and likens herself to a butterfly who will fly again. An entertaining novel that leaves readers with issues to ponder.-Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT

Kirkus Reviews
Maggie, the new girl at Berkley Prep, gleefully joins a secret club reserved for the super-rich but grows increasingly uncomfortable with the group's weekly ritual: posting their classmates' secrets on The Wall. When these writings are discovered, Maggie stands to lose everything-her cute boyfriend, her place at Berkley and her newfound status. Zindel zooms in for an extreme close-up on New York City affluence. Incessant references to high-end designers, hip restaurants, NYC cross-streets and Hamptons hotspots will leave Midwestern teens (or even city kids without big bucks) feeling out-of-the-loop. Even with Maggie as a witty, balanced intermediary, the high-class cues come too fast and too often. How many teens know about Eames furniture or steaks from The Palm? Swift narration, keen character development and authentic teen banter repair some name-dropping damage. In the final pages, teens will find themselves questioning not only their current fashion choices, but also the implications of truth within their families and school communities. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670062171
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/15/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lizabeth Zindel lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Creepy and yet fascinating

    I think that what Maggie gets involved in is something that I could see any girl getting tangled up in. The idea that one group of very influential girls(and their parents before them) could hold so much information about their classmates, teachers and parents sounds far fetched, but the way Zindel writes her characters, you feel as if it was really happening. The dialog between the characters feels just like how I talk with my friends and so to me, this book is very easy to get into and really feel part of the way the characters evolve. This is one book I have given to my friends and we all love it.

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  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

    Maggie Wishnick has moved from a small town in New Jersey to the Big Apple and is about to start as a senior at the prestigious Berkley Prep. On her first day, she meets Anne Marie, who is smart and friendly, but not one of the powerful girls of Berkley. Those girls would be Victoria, Lexi, and Sydney. But those three treat Maggie as if she is invisible. <BR/><BR/>After hearing about a secret, invitation-only party being given by Victoria on the gym bus, Maggie crashes the party. Not only does she meet Connor, a super hot boy, but she also saves the day when the cops come to trash the party and Victoria, Lexi, and Sydney need a place to hide out. <BR/><BR/>After that fateful night, the three popular girls embrace Maggie, much to her surprise. After a pledge week for Maggie, she is accepted into their tight group, that they've named the Revelers. The girls help Maggie capture Connor's attention, and learn how to be more fashionable and popular. <BR/><BR/>But the girls have secrets. And not just secrets of their own. But secrets on everyone they go to school with. And on one fateful night, all of the secrets are revealed, and Maggie is on the outside once again. <BR/><BR/>Each chapter of the book begins with interesting facts on the life cycle and migration pattern of butterflies, reminiscent of Sue Monk Kidd's THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES. And for those wanting more information, the references are listed for more details. <BR/><BR/>The story of the new girl wanting to join in with the popular girls and then something bad happening has been told before, but Ms. Zindel gives the story more excitement and depth. The reader gets a hint that all is not as it seems, especially with Victoria, but Ms. Zindel keeps all the details hidden until the night of the party when the secrets are revealed to all. The story moves along quickly, keeping the reader engrossed. Though you may think that you are supposed to find Victoria, Lexi, and Sydney to be the evil ones, there really are no truly mean and evil characters that other stories seem to include. They may not be as innocent and righteous as Maggie, but they do have some good qualities. <BR/><BR/>This is the first story I've read by Ms. Zindel, but growing up, I was a fan of her father's work. I'm pleased to say that she has become an author on her own abilities, and I will definitely be checking out GIRL OF THE MOMENT next. For an entertaining read of life of the rich private school set, this is a great book to pick up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2008

    A reviewer

    I first read Lizabeth Zindel's 'Girl of the Moment', and found it positively fantastic, which obviously made me want to read more books by Ms. Zindel. I received 'The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies' before its release date (for the same reason as the other reviewer), and found it amazing. The main character is very likable, and the book deals with actual problems among teenagers. It is not a cliche book by any stretch, as it shows that situations are never as they are portrayed on television and in 'bubblegum books', so to speak. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2008

    Loved The Book...Obviously

    Lizabeth Zindel has been my favorite author for eight months and ten days, so far. I just finished reading her new book, The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies, and it was absolutely fantastic! The only reason that I got this book before all of you other people is because Lizabeth Zindel visited my school for our annual book fair, and it wouldn't be right if she came and her new book wasn't there, so we got the book sent to our school eight days early. Plus, Lizabeth Zindel, being the really nice (and extremely pretty) person who she is, signed my book. 'Happy reading and dreaming' it said. Lizabeth Zindel is the best author. Although the name Maggie isn't really my favorite name, I loved the book, and I can't wait to read her next!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2009

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    Posted January 24, 2010

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