cover image The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies

The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies

Lizabeth Zindel, . . Viking, $16.99 (287pp) ISBN 978-0-670-06217-1

Maggie Wishnick is not happy about starting a new school her senior year, especially ritzy Berkeley Prep on Manhattan's Upper East Side—that is, until the most exclusive clique asks Maggie to join their secret society. Zindel (Girl of the Moment ) has an uncanny ability to get inside her protagonist's head. Maggie's internal dialogue is wonderfully observant of everything and everyone around her—save herself and those she truly cares about. The girls' conversations have the ring of authenticity, as if Zindel eavesdrops on high school girl-speak even as she writes. However, the secret society, the Revelers, functions only as a slightly edgy frame for packaging clique-lit gossip; moreover, Zindel uses it to recycle a pivotal story line from the movie Mean Girls . Maggie has pain lurking in her family life, but her tendency to avoid it—while natural to some extent—lasts too long. Readers will rightly suspect that Maggie's character is of greater depth than that of her new friends, but the revelation of her moral fiber comes across as too little, too late. Ages 12–up. (May)