Friday, August 03, 2012

Review: Circle of Silence by Carol M Tanzman

Circle of Silence 
Carol M. Tanzman
Series: WiHi, #2
Publication date: July 24th 2012
by Harlequin Teen

THE BIGGEST STORY OF MY LIFE COULD BE HOW IT ENDS It's my turn to run a "Campus News" crew, and I've put together a team that can break stories wide open. And Washington Irving High has a truly great one to cover, if only we can find a lead.

A secret society has formed in our school. It announced its presence with pranks: underwear on the flagpole, a toilet in the hallway, cryptic notes. A circle of silence keeps the society a mystery. No one knows its members, agenda or initiation secrets-until a student lands in the hospital under "strange" circumstances.

I "will" blow this story wide open and stop others from being hurt...or worse. And while my ex, Jagger, might want to help, I don't trust him yet. (And, no, not because of our past together. That is "not" important to this story.)

But whether you find me, Valerie Gaines, reporting in front of the camera, or a victim in the top story of the sure to watch "Campus News" at 9:00 a.m. this Friday.
*A copy was provided by Harlequin Teen for review purposes*

As an avid reader of mysteries and thrillers, and after really enjoying Carol's other novel, Dancergirl --Circle of Silence's companion--, this one has been high on my anticipated reads of the year. Regardless of me giving it a 3-star rating, I did truly enjoy it, where it lost its flair on me is on a more individual standpoint which may not be of concern for most readers.

For one, I felt very distant from out protagonist, Valerie. The journalism aspect is interesting, but I felt like some of the decisions she makes are too high stake for a small school news report, as if she thought she was working for CBS and it was expected of her to put her own life on the line. I also found she missed a few clues that, to me at least, were incredibly evident. Consequently, I put this mystery together not far from the half way mark, which inadvertently made the rest of the clues even more obvious. So naturally, I wasn't kept as captivated by the suspense of the mystery as I was hoping, which, in the end, turned out to be anticlimactic for me. Nonetheless, it didn't make it uneventful. I was still intrigued by MP -- the secret society -- and what they were planning next. I was especially delighted to see them share their point-of-view; while keeping their identities hidden, we're given an inside look at their intentions and schemings inside chapters in their perspective. I also enjoyed the dark, dreary tone throughout that progressively got creepier, not to mention a heck of a lot more serious.

Although never the focal point, there's a fairly big romantic undertone in the story. We've got Valerie's ex who cheated and now trying to mend his broken relationship, and Valerie's not sure he can be trusted again. I liked how Jagger was portrayed; even though he's a cheater and I should hate him for it, he's not trying to justify his actions, but rather show that he's remorseful and made a mistake. Plus, it was fun to see Valerie make him work for it. I won't say that I got any butterflies, but it's a cute and sweet romance that gives a good distraction from the more sombre notes.

An entertaining mystery with a good amount of thrill and chill, despite my not getting blown-away, I would still definitely recommend it for fans of the genre. 

3 Hot Espressos

The WiHi series:
Note: these are companion novels and can be read as stand-alones or out of order