From "witty and endearing" to "impossible to put down," the critics have given elite marks to Diana Peterfreund's Secret Society Girl and Under the Rose. Now, in a wildly captivating new novel, Amy "Bugaboo" Haskel and her fellow Rose & Grave knights are trading cold, gray, hyperintellectual New Haven for an annual rite of spring (well, early March) in Florida.
For Amy, a week of R&R on her secret society's private island should be all fun in the sun--and an escape from an on-campus feud with a rival society that's turned disturbingly personal. But along with her SPF 30 and a bikini, Amy is bringing a suitcase full of issues to remote Cavador Key. Graduation from Eli University looms, not to mention buckets of unfinished business with a former flame and--most pressing of all--the sudden, startling transformation of a mysterious Rose & Grave patriarch from sheerly evil to utterly...appealing?
Just when Amy thinks Spring Break can't get any less relaxing, a wacky "accident" puts everyone on edge. And that's only the beginning, as Amy starts to suspect that someone has infiltrated the island. With some major Rose & Grave secrets to be exposed, and the potential fallout enough to take down one of America's most loathsome figureheads, what she can't know is that the party crasher is deadly serious about making sure "Bugaboo" doesn't get back to Eli alive....
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June 23, 2008
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Excerpt from Rites of Spring (Break) by Diana Peterfreund
Some people pledge to lose weight for their New Year's resolution. Others quit smoking, or promise to do their homework before Sunday night, or swear that they'll never again, no matter how many pomegranate martinis they've imbibed, give in to temptation and drunk-dial their ex-boyfriends, ex-lovers, or ex-friends-with-benefits and invite them over for a nightcap.
Instead of resolving any of the above (and that last one sounded pretty good), I promised to commit a felony.
On December 31st, as the clock struck twelve, I held aloft a glass of champagne and solemnly swore that I'd join my secret society brothers in their quest to steal back one of our treasured relics from a rival society. At the time, I thought it would be a relatively straightforward operation. Sneak into the Dragon's Head headquarters, snatch back the knee-high stone statue of Orpheus, and hightail it back to Rose & Grave's High Street tomb, booty in tow.
Dragon's Head had grown suspicious over Winter Break, indulging their more paranoid sides. I knew from intimate association with my fellow knights that no one in our crew could have tipped them off on purpose, but perhaps we weren't as discreet as we should have been during one of our many reconnaissance missions to their York Street abode. Perhaps they had as many hidden cameras trained on our tomb as we had on theirs. Whatever the cause, intel showed, clear as infrared, the Dragon's Head members removing the purloined Orpheus statue from their courtyard late the previous night. If they were worthy of their admission to Eli, they would have hidden it out of reach in their house's safe, a move that would make things tricky--but not impossible--for us thieves.
Wait a second. Reconnaissance? Infrared? Intel? What's going on here? I was a Literature major, for crying out loud, not a CIA recruit. And yet, in the nine months since I'd been tapped into Rose & Grave, my inner spygirl had gestated and emerged as a black-clad, code-speaking, secret-handshake-knowing, card-carrying acolyte of the New World Order.
Or at least, the wannabe New World Order. Despite all the 007 talk, this mission of ours cut a little closer to fraternity prank than military coup. But whatever the flavor of the operation, the practicalities were the same: I was spending my first night back on campus lying in the slush in an alleyway behind the Dragon's Head tomb, waiting for orders, while my black ski mask painfully crushed my ponytail holder against my scalp.
However, that wasn't what was causing my headache.
"I say we go now," said the society brother lying in the slush to my left.
"Bond directed us to wait for his signal," said the one on my right.
"Listen, old-timer," said Lefty. "Maybe in your day, you sat around waiting for someone to hand you an engraved invitation, but that's why we're running the show now. Your ways are out-of-date. Don't you agree, Bugaboo?"
I shifted in the slush. Time was, I would have made precisely that statement, and had. But last semester I'd been involved in espionage activities with the guy on my right, and he'd proven quite handy in a pinch.
Whereas the guy on my left was mostly all hands and pinches.
"Listen, Junior," hissed the party on the right from behind his ski mask, "I concur that we don't see eye-to-eye. About anything. But if you move now, you're going to throw off the whole group. Wait for the signal."
The guy on my left rolled his copper-colored eyes and sat up. "I'm no one's junior," he threw over his shoulder. "Dad's middle name isn't 'Harrison.' " He sprang into a crouch.
Poe leapt across me to grab Puck before he could give our position away, but it was too late. Puck had already jumped to the top of the wall that separated the Dragon's Head property from the alleyway.
"Middle name should have been Asshole," Poe grumbled.
In place of a response, I coughed, politely, and he seemed to notice that he was still lying on top of me, his hands resting in places that weren't exactly public access.