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The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller
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The Year of the Gadfly (edition 2012)

by Jennifer Miller

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135None92,931 (3.22)8
Member:dalzan
Title:The Year of the Gadfly
Authors:Jennifer Miller
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:1/2
Tags:mystery, private school, prep school

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The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I read this for one of my bookclubs, which was enticed to read it as part of the author's promotion strategy to set a record on the number of bookclubs she would attend over a set period of time. It took awhile to get into it and I found it rather troubling, particularly since some shocking revelations were recently made about the private school my children attended back in the 80s and 90s. It is well-written and shifting the narrative among different characters worked for me. I can't say I would recommend it to others -- if someone has an interest in this type of story, I think Donna Tartt's The Secret History is a better choice. ( )
  Jcambridge | Jul 10, 2013 |
This was one where reading from different points of view made the whole book for me. Miller really made me remember the horribleness and immaturity of high school but in a very clever way. ( )
  E.J | Apr 3, 2013 |
I wanted to like Year of the Gadfly so much. Prep school hijinks, secret societies, a coming of age tale! What’s there not to like? And yet the execution of a great-sounding premise didn’t hit the mark. Initially the story seemed like a promising look at ideas about conformity, the hyper competitiveness in high achieving students, as well as issues like bullying, guilt, and jealousy. But halfway through the book, I had to do some heavy skimming (mostly through the flashbacks) because I lost hope that the story would pull me in.

The story unfolds through the eyes of Iris Dupont, the new kid at a prep school in Massachusetts, who investigates a secret society that’s taken upon itself the role to render judgment and punishment for those it sees as deviating from the morals and principles underpinning the school. Are they the good guys as they paint themselves to be or are they just bullies? Alternating with Iris’ chapters are those told in the view of one of Iris’ teachers, Jonah Kaplan, who was a former student at the school and seems to be hiding some secrets himself. Interspersed throughout are flashbacks told from the view of another student.

These multiple points of view just didn’t work in this book. Had the book just stuck with Iris, maybe I’d have been more engaged. Tons of books do multiple perspectives and do so effectively, but in Year of the Gadfly, it wasn’t smooth. The mystery that’s supposed to be revealed layer by layer couldn’t survive the jumps and interruptions.
( )
  Samchan | Mar 31, 2013 |
Fiercely competitive Mariana Academy was founded with a serious honor code; its reputation has been unsullied for decades. Now a long-dormant secret society, Prisom's Party, threatens its placid halls with vigilante justice, exposing students and teachers alike for even the most minor infraction.
Iris Dupont, a budding journalist whose only confidant is the chain-smoking specter of Edward R. Murrow, feels sure she can break into the ranks of The Devil’s Advocate, the Party’s underground newspaper, and there uncover the source of its blackmail schemes and vilifying rumors. Some involve the school’s new science teacher, who also seems to be investigating the Party. Others point to an albino student who left school abruptly ten years before, never to return. And everything connects to a rare book called Marvelous Species. But the truth comes with its own dangers, and Iris is torn between her allegiances, her reporter's instinct, and her own troubled past. ( )
  dalzan | Sep 26, 2012 |
This may come as a surprise to you if, like me, you're not familiar with the author of THE YEAR OF THE GADFLY, Jennifer Miller. What an excellent book! I've written several sentences and deleted them all because the words weren't adequate to tell you how good this is.

Alternating between a year from 1999 to 2000 and a year from 2012 to 2013, and told from three characters' perspectives, this book is a mystery about students and faculty at a private school. But it's a different type of mystery: who are the characters, really? What are their motives, really? What happened to Justin, really?

Although this book is billed as a YA novel, a style that always bores me, Miller uses language and suspense in THE YEAR OF THE GADFLY that appeals to me. It is surely a novel for adults.

I have only two problems with this book: Miller's descriptions of two "initiations." The first happens to Lily, a student at the school. The gathering she attends beforehand and the initiation are so maddening and, I thought, unreal, that I could barely read about them. Even after that evening is over, Lily still insists it was her choice. This small part was too YAish for me.

The second initiation description involves Iris, another student over a decade later. It almost made me throw the book against the wall until Iris suddenly gets smart.

But these two parts are not enough to make me dislike the book. I'm just hoping one of these days Miller will rewrite those parts. ( )
  techeditor | Jul 26, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
If there weren't already a push to shelve certain books as New Adult, The Year of the Gadfly would create the genre ex nihilo. It is the ideal crossover work; a perfect introduction to literary fiction for those who might otherwise choose books based on movie trailers and cross-promotions at Taco Bell.
added by dbgrady | editThe Atlantic, D.B. Grady (May 9, 2012)
 
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Epigraph
You may feel irritated at being suddenly awakened when you are caught napping; and you may think that if you were to strike me dead as you easily might, then you would sleep on for the remainder of your lives, unless God in his care of you gives you another gadfly.
~Plato's Apology
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For Ben
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The days were already growing shorter, prodding us toward summer's end, when my mother and I left Boston for the sequestered town of Nye. She hummed to the radio and I sat strapped into the passenger seat, like a convict being shuttled between prisons.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547548591, Hardcover)

“Do you know what it took for Socrates’ enemies to make him stop pursuing the truth?”
“Hemlock.”


Storied, fiercely competitive Mariana Academy was founded with a serious honor code; its reputation has been unsullied for decades. Now a long-dormant secret society, Prisom's Party, threatens its placid halls with vigilante justice, exposing students and teachers alike for even the most minor infraction.

Iris Dupont, a budding journalist whose only confidant is the chain-smoking specter of Edward R. Murrow, feels sure she can break into the ranks of The Devil’s Advocate, the Party’s underground newspaper, and there uncover the source of its blackmail schemes and vilifying rumors. Some involve the school’s new science teacher, who also seems to be investigating the Party. Others point to an albino student who left school abruptly ten years before, never to return. And everything connects to a rare book called Marvelous Species. But the truth comes with its own dangers, and Iris is torn between her allegiances, her reporter's instinct, and her own troubled past.

The Year of the Gadfly
is an exhilarating journey of double-crosses, deeply buried secrets, and the lifelong reverberations of losing someone you love. Following in the tradition of classic school novels such as A Separate Peace, Prep, and The Secret History, it reminds us how these years haunt our lives forever.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:45 -0400)

A budding teen journalist and her enigmatic science teacher separately work to locate and infiltrate a secret society that threatens their elite prep school with a shady tragedy from the past, an event that challenges the student's allegiances.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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