The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

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Synopsis

“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.

 

About Jennifer Miller

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Jennifer Miller, the author of Inheriting the Holy Land: An American's Search for Hope in the Middle East, holds a BA from Brown University, an MS in Journalism from Columbia, and an MFA in fiction writing at Columbia. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Men's Health, the Christian Science Monitor, Salon.com, and others. She is a native of Washington, DC and currently lives in Brooklyn with all the other writers.
 
Published May 8, 2012 by Mariner Books. 384 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Year of the Gadfly

Kirkus Reviews

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Iris Dupont’s parents have relocated to western Massachusetts, ostensibly so she can attend the prestigious Mariana Academy, but really because they’re worried about Iris.

Apr 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year of the Gadfly

Publishers Weekly

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High school is bad enough (mean girls, academic pressure, figuring out where you belong), but things are extra awful at Mariana Academy, a scandal-plagued institution with an elaborate code intended to prevent cliques—and student vigilantes to enforce it.

Feb 20 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year of the Gadfly

AV Club

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This debut novel follows some of the familiar patterns of young-adult books, but takes a more adult attitude, right down to its thoughts on becoming a grown-up. 

Jun 04 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year of the Gadfly

AV Club

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Late in the novel, Lily muses on her hatred of “the term ‘coming of age’ and its suggestion of menstrual cycles.” It’s a self-aware comment that helps define The Year Of The Gadfly’s thesis that maturity isn’t defined by any conventional markers of adulthood, like losing your virginity or graduat...

Jun 04 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year of the Gadfly

City Book Review

Ambitiously written, The Year of the Gadfly is told from the three perspectives of Iris, Jonah, and Lily, who find an unexpected connection to each other through the elite Mariana Academy.

Nov 02 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year of the Gadfly

Gather Books

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.

Jul 26 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year of the Gadfly

Newcity Lit

I’m a sucker for books about prep schools, maybe because I never went to one, or perhaps because due to a teenage obsession with “The Catcher in the Rye.” Salinger’s magnum opus is, of course, the novel by which all emotionally volatile teenagers (by which I mean all teenagers) are compared.

Jun 27 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year of the Gadfly

Seventeen

When Iris switches schools and is suddenly the new girl at Mariana Academy, an elite prep school, she discovers there is a lot lurking beneath the surface of this straight-laced school.

Dec 14 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year of the Gadfly

The Blurb

While Iris throws herself into a one-woman undercover investigation, Jonah is intent on teaching his students the value of extremism, which, in biological terms, is the key to survival: ‘”embracing extremity,”’ he tells his bewildered science class, ‘”will bring out the characteristics that make ...

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Columbia Journalism Review

And so, figuring that a change of scenery might help, they move to Nye, Massachusetts, where Iris enrolls in Mariana Academy, a top-tier private school that prepares students for Ivy League educations by giving them Ivy League-level stress.

Aug 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year of the Gadfly

Columbia Journalism Review

she’s really there to collect information for her own purposes), she bursts into their practice wearing a gray suit, heels, and her hair in a bun, and actually asks, “Can I speak to someone from PR?” It’s to Miller’s immense credit that Iris does not feel like some carefully concocted example ...

Aug 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year of the Gadfly

LL Book Reviews

In the spirit of other classic prep school novels such as Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History,” a complex and multilayered story of love, betrayal, secret societies, and social teen awkwardness unfolds.

Jul 09 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year of the Gadfly

Reader Rating for The Year of the Gadfly
69%

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