Secret Society Girl, Under the Rose, Rites of Spring (Break), Tap & Gown
For years I had thought this series had gone out of print until I finally just asked our Random House rep and he confirmed that, 15 years later, this series is, in fact, still in print. It can be tricky to find, but any indie bookstore in the US should be able to order them for you!
From the publisher marketing:
Eli University junior Amy Haskel never expected to be tapped into Rose & Grave. She isn’t rich, politically connected, or . . . well, male. So when Amy is one of the first female students to receive the distinctive black-lined invitation with the Rose & Grave seal, she’s blown away. Could they really mean her?
Whisked off into an elaborate initiation rite, Amy awakens the next day to a new reality and a whole new set of “friends”–from the gorgeous son of a conservative governor to an Afrocentric lesbian activist whose society name is Thorndike. And that’s when Amy starts to discover the truth about getting what you wish for. Because Rose & Grave is quickly taking her away from her familiar world of classes and keggers, fueling a feud and undermining a very promising friendship with benefits. And that’s before Amy finds out that her first duty as a member of Rose & Grave is to take on a conspiracy of money and power that could, quite possibly, ruin her whole life.
Good riddance. After all, it’s not as if the jerk had done me any favors recently. Well, he’d washed my clothes and bought me two breakfasts (like a Hobbit). There was that. But he’d also dragged me into a Battle of the Sexes that should have been over and done with a good thirty years ago, all because he needed a warm body to fill a slot.
I read these books when they were first published (2007-2009) and I was ecstatic to discover them the summer before I went off to college. Not only was YA not really a thing yet in 2007, but books set with people in college wasn’t really a thing. And still isn’t, come on publishing, get on with it! But I digress. I was low-key obsessed with Yale and secret societies, Gilmore Girls had just ended, and I was looking to fill the Rory-shaped void in my soul.
I’d read each of Diana’s subsequent YA series and reviewed them on here, but I had thought these books weren’t available anymore, so what was the point in posting their review? But they are, so here we are, almost 16 years post reading, attempting to remember them. But I just know I loved them – I’ve read 500+ books since, and while I don’t remember the details, I still keep coming back to them, time and time again. I haven’t re-read them to do this review, so I figured, instead, I’ll share the OG review from the first iteration of Celebration of Books as it was published a decade ago.
The original series review from 2013
Amy Haskel didn’t expect to be tapped by the secret Rose and Grave society. For one, they only ever tapped men. Until now. From the start, she’s none too thrilled about the initiation rites, or the fact that one particular member the year above her seems determined to make her life in the society as difficult as possible. In the first book, Amy must contend with the sexism of the patriarchs, upset at the inclusion of women, and keep her own prejudices against her fellow taps in check. And reign in her budding relationships that anger the patriarchs, who are convinced the club will become a dating cesspool, even more. Then, a new recruit appears to be kidnapped and a secret society within the society forms. After that, Amy is kidnapped and must accept her feelings for a former enemy and then she must decide how to preserve her legacy in the society as she prepares to graduate.
Amy handles every situation thrown her way with sass, sarcasm and spunk. She refuses to be defeated and her quick thinking gets her out of most situations that her stubbornness lands her in. She’s the Lizzie Bennet of the modern age, handling all the usual stress of university life in addition to the new calamities that befall her as an inaugural female inductee in one of Eli/Yale’s oldest and most clandestine secret societies. Diana Peterfreund wrote “new adult” fiction before “new adult” was a thing and she did/does so brilliantly with her witty and clever cast of characters. I highly recommend the series for any girl heading off to college looking for a bit of adventure.
Rating: 8 out of 10