An intimate glimpse at an elite college’s secret clubs.
Amy Haskel, a harried literature student at Eli University (a thinly veiled Yale, the author’s alma mater) is concerned about her future. An Ivy League diploma no longer guarantees career success, and Amy can’t rely on influential parents to secure her prosperity. For Amy, landing a coveted editorial position upon graduation can only be achieved through Herculean efforts. She studies maniacally and uses her scant spare time to pad her résumé. Her latest achievement, nabbing the editor-in-chief spot at Eli’s literary magazine, leaves Amy feeling optimistic. She’s a shoo-in for Eli’s literary society, Quill & Ink. Soon Amy is whisked away to a clandestine location for a ritualistic initiation. To her surprise, she learns she hasn’t been tapped by the writer’s guild after all, but instead by Rose & Grave. For the first time in the group’s storied history, Rose & Grave has decided to tap, or initiate, women. Rose & Grave is Eli’s most exclusive club, whose members include U.S. presidents and captains of industry. The club’s trust fund hovers in the tens of millions. Amy is smitten with her fellow Rose & Grave initiates and the splendid perks of membership. But the party doesn’t last long. Infighting breaks out in the society and Amy has to prove herself worthy of her powerful new friendships. While the plot is a winner, Peterfreund’s writing is thin and the novel feels best suited for teens. The heroine comes off as insecure and out of her league—which would be charming if Amy would ever reveal some prowess as a leader and unleash her intellect. This is the first in a series; let us hope Peterfreund polishes her prose and educates her heroine before the next installment.
The impressive plot earns this project a B, but the banal dialogue and wimpy heroine downgrade it to a C.