The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies

The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies

4.8 6
by Lizabeth Zindel
     
 

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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:

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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...

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)

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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:
9780142413890
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
06/11/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.86(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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