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The Society of S

The Society of S

3.8 111
by Susan Hubbard

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"If you ever want to hide from the world, live in a small city, where everyone seems anonymous."

That's the advice of twelve-year-old Ariella Montero, who lives with her father in Saratoga Springs, New York, in a house haunted more by secrets than by memories. The Society of S traces her journey south, to Asheville and Savannah, and on to Florida, as she


"If you ever want to hide from the world, live in a small city, where everyone seems anonymous."

That's the advice of twelve-year-old Ariella Montero, who lives with her father in Saratoga Springs, New York, in a house haunted more by secrets than by memories. The Society of S traces her journey south, to Asheville and Savannah, and on to Florida, as she learns that everything she knows about her family is a lie.

When she finds her mother, she learns the truth: Ariella is a fledgling member of the Society of S.

Susan Hubbard's novel is an intricate literary mystery that raises provocative questions about the way we live now. Ariella's voice will lure you into a world where you'll meet the others among us: vampires who cope with their special nature and need for blood in a variety of ways, ranging from the savage to the mundane to the scientific.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Identity issues involving a child of mixed heritage get a supernatural spin in this affecting coming-of-age tale. Ariella Montero's mother vanished the day she was born, leaving her to the care of her overprotective scientist father, who homeschools her and limits her contact with the outside world. Only when she reaches adolescence does Ari discover that her special diet and insular home life set her apart from her peers. Her father's confession that he was vampirized shortly before marriage, and that Ari can choose whether to be undead like him or mortal like mom, set her off on a road trip that eventually brings her to her mother and into an understanding of tough truths about her family. Hubbard (Walking on Ice) delineates Ari's world of innocent and uncertain adolescence with uncommon poignance and forgoes sensationalism for sensitivity in her depiction of vampirism as one of many emotionally charged challenges Ari faces as a child of estranged parents. She doesn't do much original with the vampire theme, but the novel's open ending suggests inevitable sequels where this may develop further. Author tour. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Ann Welton
Ariella Montero has had an unusual upbringing. Raised in a distinctly Victorian house in Saratoga Springs, New York, she has been home schooled by her father and his assistant, Dennis. Her father works from home and is extremely protective of her in a distant way, telling her that her bland diet (cooked with generally unappetizing results by Mrs. McGarrity, the housekeeper-cum-nanny) is to prevent her developing the lupus that affects him. Ariella is plagued by strange dreams and unanswered questions about her mother, who disappeared shortly after Ariella's birth. She exists in this pinafored, intellectual, mysterious state, however, until she turns twelve, and Mrs. McGarrity unexpectedly revolts. Telling her employer in no uncertain terms that Ariella is missing out on a normal childhood, Mrs. McGarrity takes the girl to her home, where Ariella meets Kathleen, her first friend, and Michael, her first love interest. These contacts with the "outside world" prove catalytic, as Kathleen falls for Ariella's mysteriously handsome father with disastrous results and Ariella insists on some answers-and eventually a reunion with her mother in Homosassa Springs, Florida. It also wrenches from her father the truth about their situation: that they are vampires. As much bildungsroman as vampire saga, this unusual tale presents vampirism as a condition that can be controlled using modern science (supplements and sunscreen). The presentation of vampires as a group within society, moving and shifting to escape human prejudice and notice for their excessively long lives and seemingly perpetual youth, is original and intriguing. The characterization is sound for the most part, although Ariella'srelationship with her mother is just too good to be true. Still this quibble is small in a generally atmospheric tale that is part surrealist dream, part On the Road, and features prose that is almost mesmerically beautiful at times. With a sequel in the works and an attractively mysterious cover, it will appeal to vampire fans, romance enthusiasts, and readers of serious fiction.
Library Journal

Ariella Montero is not your typical teen; she knows Latin but has never watched television, and her heroes are not the latest pop idols but Edgar Allen Poe and Jack Kerouac. She's been homeschooled by her father in an old Victorian mansion since her mother disappeared on the day of her birth. The cook finally convinces Ariella's father to let Ariella come home with her to meet her brood, which includes Kathleen, who is Ariella's age. They quickly become good friends, and a whole new world opens up for Ariella as she is exposed to a life beyond books. One night, Kathleen tells Ariella that she is a pagan and invites her along for a role-playing game with her friends. After this encounter with wizards and vampires, Ariella begins to notice some odd things around her home that make her wonder about the true identities of both her parents. As the novel unfolds, Ariella is launched on a journey she will never forget. Hubbard has created a literary mystery that will appeal to the fans of Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Taleor Elizabeth Kostava's The Historian. Well written and full of intriguing characters, the novel moves apace as the reader becomes engaged in the hunt for the truth about Ariella and her family. Recommended for all public libraries.
—Robin Nesbitt

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up- Ariella Montero leads a sheltered and quiet life in this novel (S & S, 2007) by Susan Hubbard. She is homeschooled by her scientist father, and her basic needs are seen to by Mrs. McGarritt, the housekeeper. After Ariella begins to spend time with the McGarritt family, she realizes that her austere life is really very different. She wonders about her mother, who disappeared the day she was born. Ariella presses her father to tell her more about their lives, and learns that he is a vampire-and she might be one as well. The girl sets out alone on a cross-county trip to find her mother. Ariella discovers her true self on this journey which ends at her mother's home in Florida. Vampirism is not sensationalized in this tale, but is treated as another one of Ariella's challenges in life. Narrator Joyce Bean reads the entries in Ariella's journal. She doesn't seem comfortable with the story-Ariella's voice is unconvincing and the narrator's inflection is too mature for a young teenager. At times the reading of the journal passages seems stilted and too reserved. The author covers no new ground in vampire lore, but for teens who are drawn to vampire tales, this is a strong coming-of-age story combined with the supernatural.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN

From the Publisher
"Joyce Bean's vocal range is well suited to Hubbard's intriguing coming-of-age story.... Listeners will be entranced by the well-plotted literary mystery and enchanted by Bean's vivacious delivery." ---AudioFile

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Publication date:
Ethical Vampire Series
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Society of S

A Novel
By Susan Hubbard

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2007 Susan Hubbard
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781416534570


On a cool spring night in Savannah, my mother is walking. Her clogs make sounds like horses' hooves against the cobblestone street. She passes among banks of azaleas in full bloom and live oak trees shrouded in Spanish moss, and she enters a green square bordered by a café.

My father is seated on a stool at a wrought-iron table. Two chessboards spread across the table, and my father has castled on one when he looks up, sees my mother, and drops a pawn, which falls against the tabletop and rolls onto the sidewalk.

My mother dips to pick up the chess piece and hands it back to him. She looks from him to the two other men sitting at the table. Their faces are expressionless. They're tall and thin, all three, but my father has dark green eyes that somehow seem familiar.

My father stretches out a hand and cups her chin. He looks into her pale blue eyes. "I know you," he says.

With his other hand he traces the shape of her face, passing twice over the widow's peak. Her hair is long and thick, russet brown, with small wisps that he tries to smooth away from her forehead.

The other men at the table fold their arms, waiting. My father has been playing both of them simultaneously.

My mother stares at my father's face -- dark hair falling awayfrom his forehead, straight dark eyebrows over those green eyes, lips thin but shaped in a cupid's bow. Her smile is shy, frightened.

He drops his hands, slides off the stool. They walk away together. The men at the table sigh, and clear the chessboards. Now they'll have to play each other.

"I'm going to see Professor Morton," my mother says.

"Where's his office?"

My mother waves her hand in the direction of the art college. He puts his hand on her shoulder, lightly, letting her lead.

"What's this? A bug in your hair?" he says suddenly, pulling at what seems to be an insect.

"A barrette." She takes the copper dragonfly from her hair and hands it to him. "It's a dragonfly. Not a bug."

He shakes his head, then smiles. He says, "Hold still," and carefully slides a lock of her hair through the dragonfly, then pins it behind her left ear.

They turn away from the college. They're holding hands now, walking down a steep cobblestone street. It's growing dark and chilly, yet they pause to sit on a cement wall.

My mother says, "This afternoon I sat at my window, watching the trees grow dark as the sun went down. I thought, I'm growing older. I have only so many days left to watch the trees darken. Someone could count them."

He kisses her. It's a brief kiss, a rough touching of lips. The second kiss lasts longer.

She shivers.

He bends to cover her face -- forehead, cheeks, nose, chin -- with small, quick brushes of his eyelashes. "Butterfly kisses," he says, "to keep you warm."

My mother looks away, amazed at herself. In a matter of minutes she has let so much happen, without hesitation or protest. And she isn't stopping it now. She wonders how old he thinks she is. She's sure she's older -- he looks about twenty-five, and she has recently turned thirty. She wonders when she should tell him that she's married to Professor Morton.

They stand up and walk on, down concrete steps leading toward the river. At the bottom of the steps is a closed cast-iron gate.

"I hate moments like this," my mother says. Her shoes can't climb gates.

My father climbs over the gate and opens it. "It wasn't locked," he says.

As she passes through, she has a sense of inevitability. She is moving toward something entirely new, yet predetermined. Without any effort at all, she feels years of unhappiness being erased.

They walk along the strand beside the river. Ahead they see the lights of the tourist shops, and as they reach them, he says, "Wait." She watches him go inside a shop that sells Irish imports, then loses sight of him through the door's wavy glass. He comes out carrying a soft wool shawl. He wraps it around her, and for the first time in years, she feels beautiful.

Will we marry? she wonders. But she doesn't need to ask it. They walk on, a couple already.

My father tells me this story, twice. I have questions. But I save them until he's finished for the second time.

"How did you know what she was thinking?" is my first question.

"Later she told me her thoughts," he says.

"What happened to Professor Morton?" I ask next. "Didn't he try to stop her from leaving him?"

I'm thirteen, but my father says I'm going on thirty. I have long dark hair and blue eyes. Except for the eyes, I take after my father.

"Professor Morton tried to keep your mother," my father says. "He tried threats. He tried force. He'd done it before, when she talked about leaving him. But this time she was in love, and she wasn't afraid. She packed up her things and moved out."

"Did she move in with you?"

"Not at first. No, she took an apartment downtown near Colonial Cemetery, an apartment that some people still say is haunted."

I look hard at him, but I'm not going to be distracted by the haunted apartment.

"Who won the chess game?" I ask.

His eyes open wider. "That's a very good question, Ariella," he says. "I wish I knew the answer."

My father usually knows the answer to everything.

"Could you tell she was older than you?" I ask.

He shrugs. "I didn't think about it. Age has never mattered much to me." He stands up, goes to the living room window, draws the heavy velvet curtains. "Time for you to sleep," he says.

I have a hundred more questions. But I nod, I don't object. Tonight he's told me more than ever before about my mother, whom I've never seen, and even more about himself.

Except for one thing -- the truth he doesn't want to tell, the truth I'll spend years trying to understand. The truth about who we really are.

Copyright © 2007 by Blue Garage Co.


Excerpted from The Society of S by Susan Hubbard Copyright © 2007 by Susan Hubbard. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Joyce Bean's vocal range is well suited to Hubbard's intriguing coming-of-age story.... Listeners will be entranced by the well-plotted literary mystery and enchanted by Bean's vivacious delivery." —-AudioFile

Meet the Author

Susan Hubbard is the author of Blue Money, winner of the Janet Heidinger Kakfa Prize.

Joyce Bean is an accomplished audiobook narrator and director. In addition to being an AudioFile Earphones Award winner, she has been nominated multiple times for a prestigious Audie Award, including for Good-bye and Amen by Beth Gutcheon.

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Society of S 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 108 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not going to lie, i was looking for a new book and the cover caught my attention saying that anyfan of the twilight series would love this book. I..er my dad bought it and while is was in the car i was expecting something completely juicy like romance and vampire like mystery [twilight series stuff] but instead i read the back to learn it's a family type 'coming of age' story :[ instinctive impression. oh crap! But like I started to read the book and at first i'm like 'wow, i'm an idiot, why did i buy this' it's incredibly monotonous and ridgedly boring. But then it hit this turning point where I just couldn't put it down. It's strange to admit but this is the first book that truly instilled fear in me. I was scared to look out the window at night for days. People don't give this book enough credit it was actually REALLY good. I can't say i would read the ENTIRE thing over again cause it was the element of surprise that set the whole thing up, but i would definitely recommend this book to ANYONE. I loved it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Saratoga Falls, New York Ariella Montero lives with her father, a scientist who limits her time to near zero with outsiders. The only people she encounters besides her dad are his research assistant Dennis, housekeeper Mrs. McGarritt and at times her thirteen year old daughter Kathleen. --- However, now turning thirteen, Ari learns the truth behind her home schooling and her mother Sara who vanishes after the afterbirth. Her dad explains that he became a vampire just prior to marrying her mother. The teen learns that she has been kept on a unique diet and home away from her peers to keep her safe until the moment of reckoning for her, which is now. She must choose between the life of a vampire like her dad and that of a mortal like her mom. Ari cannot decide until she learns more about her mother so she begins a quest to find the elusive S. --- Though growing up with a single dad, Ari¿s vampire heritage plays a secondary role in this wonderful coming of age tale of a girl's struggles with the end of the innocence while dealing with adolescence and being a mixed breed offspring. Much of the tale is Ari searching for her mom as she tussles with the seeming estrangement between her parents and the apparent abandonment of her mom. The poignant Ari makes this a strong character study with obvious societal connotations. --- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book struck me at first as captivating and interesting. HOWEVER once i started reading I was soundly proven otherwise. It was boring, plotless and i cannot believe i was excited to read this book. You'd be better off spending your money elsewhere
asamum More than 1 year ago
Written in first person narrative from Ariella's point of view, mostly in retrospect and diary format, starting as 13 year old with a HUGE dark family secret. Not only is the story told from her point of view but she takes on the persona of a third person narrator at times, giving insight into other peoples thoughts and feelings. It is sometimes difficult to understand this correctly as you constantly have to remember that she is only interpreting other peoples actions based on her own rather than having direct insight into their minds. I really enjoyed the way in which Ariella directly addresses the reader, it added a sense of involvement in the plot. The book is split into 3 different sections relating to the different phases of the story. The 1st part shows Ariella as a child, sheltered from the real world by her father. This was my favourite part, the start was dramatic and full of tension. The descriptions were deliciously sensory. The vocabulary is lovely and gives me the satisfaction of gaining knowledge via osmosis :) The plot unravels slowly like a loose thread you pull that keeps unravelling until you are able to snap it off. Intriguing plot teasers dropped throughout the narrative. The second part deals with Ariella's journey to find her mother and her developing awareness of different aspects of her personality. I couldn't fully grasp the changes in Ariella in this section and her actions didn't quite seem to fit with the picture I had already built up of her from the 1st section. I had to keep reminding myself that she is only supposed to be 13 at this point and couldn't quite weigh up her interactions and emotions with someone of that age. I adored the Poe quotes and the terrific literary analysis of Poe given within the narrative. Especially the use of italics to draw the readers eye to specific parts of the plot. I have always wanted to read Poe but am a bit concerned that it will frighten me, being of the squeamish variety and having a technicolor imagination :) There are also some very intriguing religious references adding another element to the story, all thoroughly researched and well developed points. The last section finds Ariella reunited with her mother. Bringing back the Ariella I had imagined in the 1st section. In some respects she appears older and wiser than her years and at others, she appears younger and more naive, probably a conflict that occurs to anyone at that age. A little bit of the nature versus nurture debate comes into force as we are left to wonder what sort of person Ariella would be if she had lived with her mother during her childhood. The changes within Ariella during each section gives the book a different feel, like 3 different stories unfolding to a single conclusion. I particularly liked the imagery used to describe the gardens and animals in this section, it really brought it to life for me. Some major plot twists occur at the end; we are left with resolution to some aspects and a big mystery to others. There is a particular description of a man, I think we can assume is evil, that I found chilling. On the whole, I am a bit torn with this one, I liked the general storyline but couldn't fully relate the story to a 13 year old. I think I am still going to have to read the next book just to find out if the mystery is solved :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
The summary had me intrigued so I had to read the book. I personally am tired of all the Twilight hype and was trying to find another vampire book that was different. I did, The Society of S is in many ways better then a lot of vampire books I¿ve read. The only down side? It¿s slow going and very detailed which can make the book drag on forever at times. My suggestion, if you¿re looking for a fast action jump into the plot read, leave this book be. If you¿re willing to put in the effort and read the book for all it¿s integrity go ahead and take a bite.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dommo More than 1 year ago
Novel was beautifully, intelligently written. Those who read this and expect to find it like, or compare it to, Twilight is silly. Yes there are similarities in that both stories are about vampires; both are for young adults; both have vampires walking out in daylight. But that's as far as is goes. The story is subtle but compelling. I found Ari, for a 13 year old, quite mature. The author lets you witness Ari's discoveries and life lessons and you are reminded of your own discoveries through life as a young teen. There is quiet tension as we progress along the story and come to the conclusion of the mystery. My only complaint was in the end, I'm left wondering about the status of Ari's parents. The romantic in me hopes they reconcile for good. I guess I'll have to read the sequel! And I love all the literary references to Poe, Thorough, Shelley.
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anonymous67 More than 1 year ago
Save your money. This book was shallow and boring. I kept hoping it would get better or get to some kind of plot point, but it never did. I think it is aimed for a very immature audience.
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amelia28 More than 1 year ago
I got this book for Christmas, and finished reading it a couple of days ago. By far one of my new favorites and am really looking forward to reading the next two books that go along with this. Better than I expected, and if you love mystery, and fantasy this is a book for you.
Vampbook_Lover More than 1 year ago
Interesting and fun!
TLynn6126 More than 1 year ago
Ms. Hubbard is a very creative author. Her plots and characters are unique. I find it very hard to put her books down at night when I need to get to sleep for work the next morning!
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