In the novel, Secret Society, written by Tom Dolby, we follow the lives of four privileged students who attend Chadwick Prep, one of Manhattan’s most elite schools. In the novel, we are introduced to Phoebe, the new girl in town who likes to create artwork; Lauren, the popular socialite who has a passion for fashion; Nick, the club promoter who belongs to one of New York’s wealthiest families; and Patch, the amateur filmmaker who isn’t as well-off as the rest. In one way or another, these four teens come into contact with “The Society”. The Society has been in New York for many years and works very hard remain secret and preserve “a way of life”. Every year, The Society recruits new members to join their organization and in return, they promise success, fame, and fortune. After receiving mysterious text messages, the recruits find themselves in a run down part of town getting initiated into The Society. At the end of their initiation, they become “marked” with an ankh tattoo on their necks. At first, the perks of The Society are really wonderful and too good to pass up. But when the body of a teenage boy shows up in Central Park, with no identifying marks, except for a little ankh tattoo on his neck, some of the kids start to question the motives of The Society. This novel is filled with many exciting and mysterious things, from amazing parties at clubs, to discovering secrets your family has been hiding for years. When things start to unravel, and questions are answered, there is one thing the kids are most fearful of: once you are in The Society, you can never get out.
Synopsis: (from Amazon)
An eccentric new girl. A brooding socialite. The scion of one of New York’s wealthiest families. A promising filmmaker. As students at the exclusive Chadwick School, Phoebe, Lauren, Nick, and Patch already live in a world most teenagers only dream about.
They didn’t ask to be Society members. But when three of them receive a mysterious text message promising success and fame beyond belief, they say yes to everything. Even to the harrowing initiation ceremony in a gritty warehouse downtown, and to the ankh-shaped tattoo they’re forced to get on the nape of their necks.
Once they’re part of the Society, things begin falling into place for them. Week after week, their ambitions are fulfilled. It’s all perfect—until a body is found in Central Park with no distinguishing marks except for an ankh-shaped tattoo.
When it comes to the actual writing style of Tom Dolby, I really enjoy it. The actual structure, (diction, sentences, descriptions, etc.) of the writing is great. I do have pros and cons with the physical setup of the book. The thing I really like about this book is the chapters are very short. I prefer books with short chapters because I personally get bored if I do not see there is a chapter break. When I wanted to put this book down, I could read a few pages and I would be at a new chapter, and a place I could stop. I do not like books with incredibly long chapters because I will not put it down unless I am at the beginning of a new chapter. The thing I did not like about this book is how the point of view changes between characters so often within a chapter. If you are not allotting your full attention to this book, you will miss the point of view change and be very confused with what is going on and will easily mix of the story lines. This is the only downfall to the book in my opinion.
The plot of this book is very engaging and fast-pace. A big portion of the story is set in Manhattan and I feel that the description of the nightlife, landmarks, and famous streets aids in the development of the plot and makes it a lot more interesting. As you get into the book, the plot thickens and becomes more suspenseful and keeps you at the edge of your seat wanting to read another chapter. Tom Dolby does a great job of making the plot addicting with the twists and turns that appear in the book.
The characters in this book are very diversified but at the same time one-dimensional and a little cliché. There are some books where a big portion is character development and I feel like there wasn’t that much in this book. It focused on the plot more than the actual characters itself. In certain books — like this one — the lack of character development doesn’t bother me because the premise and plot is just so interesting. I do have to say, the little development the characters experience, I did enjoy and I liked all of the characters in this book. Sometimes the clichéd “rich guy/girl who has everything” can be annoying at times to read about and they definitely have their moments of superficiality — especially the girls — but there is something more deep within these characters that I find intriguing.
What I Liked:
The one thing I really enjoyed about this book is the premise of the whole “Secret Society”. It really caught my attention and was the reason I wanted to read this book in the first place. I also really liked that the characters were not completely superficial with all the wealth that they possess and that Tom Dolby was able to show the vulnerable side to these characters and touch on the relationships they were starting to form.
What I Didn’t Like:
The only thing I didn’t like about this book was how the chapters were set up like I stated before. To refresh, Tom Dolby changed the point-of-view between characters a lot during each chapter in the book and if you are not giving it your full attention, you will end up re-reading pages because you didn’t notice the point-of-view change and you get each character’s storyline mixed up with another.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a fast-pace, suspenseful novel with a really interesting premise and plot rather than character development.
Buy Secret Society:
This book was the first in the series, and it is followed by “The Trust” which I plan on reading and writing a review on at a later date.