Friday, August 03, 2012

Review: Circle of Silence by Carol M Tanzman

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

ย 

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 newscast…be 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, DancergirlCircle 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.ย 

3 Hot Espressos
The WiHi series:
Note: these are companion novels and can be read as stand-alones or out of order
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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20 Responses to “Review: Circle of Silence by Carol M Tanzman”

  1. Nick

    Great review, Giselle! You always know how to express how you feel about a book brilliantly! I’ve had my eyes on this book for some time now, so I’m a little sad that the mystery is one that’s easily solved. Like you, I eat up thrillers, so I truly expect to be blown away when I start one. Also, it’s too bad that you couldn’t connect too much with the character. It’s important for me to connect with the characters to enjoy the book.

  2. Amy

    This sounds like a good and enjoyable book. I love mysteries even though I tend to figure them out quickly too! I may have to give this one a try at some point. Awesome review!!

  3. Zoe Crook

    This series looks quite good, but I don’t think it’s really for me. I’m glad you enjoyed it, but sorry that you felt that you didn’t really connect with Valerie. Great review, thanks so much for posting! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Christina

    Jagger? Really? JAGGER? lol.

    Cheating is a tough subject, of course, and it sounds like Tanzman has portrayed it differently than most YA. That aspect sounds really cool. I’m not a mystery person, so I’ll probably still never read this.

  5. Danny

    I really liked this one and … unlike you I really liked Val. I found her determined and driven, but I totally get that it can be easily feels a little over the top! I actually loved this one a little better than dancergirl, but this is just personal taste ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Eileen

    Great review as always! I’m not the biggest contemporary fan but Circle of Silence does sound really interesting. I’m sorry you didn’t feel like the romance was very compelling but it still sounds really sweet ๐Ÿ™‚ And I hate when books are predictable…blah. -.-

  7. Books Are Magic

    Great review! I’ve been wanting to read this since I recently finished dancergirl. I had the same problem you did in this book with dancergirl. Some of the clues were sort of obvious, but in the end I did enjoy it. I’ll have to pick this one up soon to see what I think ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. kimbacaffeinate

    Great review Giselle. I was hoping the mystery would be tougher to solve. I love thrillers and like that edge to last. I have a hard time completely immersing myself in a book when I cannot make a connection or am annoyed by the protagonist. Thanks for sharing your take on this one!

  9. Alexa

    I actually really liked that this was about a girl who aspires to be a journalist, since I used to want to be one too. Plus, there’s a secret society – that makes it so much more awesome!

  10. Patricia's Particularity

    My first thought about this book – it sounds similar to the movie THE SKULLS but a high school version.

    Do you think you felt distant for the protagonist because a video camera creates a wall of sorts from the reporter and the real world??

  11. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    Books where I can’t connect with the protag are the WORST for me. I hate feeling distant from the MC. I feel like I should love THEM ALL and when I don’t, it makes me sad. Regardless, this sounds like an interesting read!

  12. Giselle

    @Patricia: No I don’t think so. She actually spends a very limited time in front the the cameras. Most of the time she’s researching and trying to figure it all out.

  13. Meg K.

    I so totally know what you mean when the MC isn’t very easy to connect with. I hate it when that happens–it sort of is like you’re reading a story about someone, and even though you’re reading it from their point of view, you still barely know them at all. I hate it when that happens, so I understand why you gave this three stars. But, the premise and the mystery sounds good, so I think I might check it out sometime!

    Thanks for the honest review, Giselle. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Carina

    I have yet to read this, but I like the sound of it. I remember though that I couldn’t really connect to DANCERGIRL’s main character either and it’s not the first time I’ve heard of the same problem other readers had with this new main character. But since you enjoyed it, I’m looking forward to it, too. Thanks for sharing!