Amy Haskel made it into elite Eli University. Then she made it into the ultraselective Order of Rose & Grave. Now a senior, Amy is looking her future squarely in the eye--until someone starts selling society secrets. When a series of bizarre messages suggests conspiracy within the ranks and a female knight mysteriously disappears, no member of Rose & Grave is safe...or above suspicion.
On her side, Amy has a few loyal Diggirls--her fellow female Rose & Grave knights. Against her? Certainly it's a group of Rose & Grave's berpowerful patriarchs who want their old boys' club back. As new developments in her love life threaten to implode, and the case of the vanished Diggirl gets weirder by the moment, Amy will need to use every society trick she's ever learned in order to set things right. Even if it means turning to old adversaries for help--or discovering that the real foes are closer than she'd thought....
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Deep within the Rose and Grave Secret Society at Eli University, the secrets even members aren't privy to make Peterfreund's second novel impossible to put down. Picking up where last year's Secret Society Girl left off, the novel follows the misadventures of Amy Haskel, who, having endured the initiation only to unravel a misogynistic plot set on destroying the first class of "Diggers" to include women, is looking forward to putting her troubles behind her. But things begin to sour when all the "Diggirls" receive a mysterious letter warning them of the society's impending implosion. To make matters worse, Amy's ex-boyfriend has a hot new girlfriend; her roommate starts dating a society member with commitment problems; another society member is dying to get under Amy's ceremonial robe; and Amy's senior thesis looms. When the Diggers realize they have a mole, Amy is intent on finding the culprit. Peterfreund offers an intimate view of the modus operandi of a college society, and even when the story's revelations feel anticlimactic, readers will be absorbed by the juicy romance plots. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 25, 2007
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Excerpt from Under the Rose by Diana Peterfreund
It was shopping period at Eli University, and lest you think this is one of those books about fashion, let me enlighten you. The students at Eli were not shopping for Prada, but for Proust; they weren't hunting for good bargains, but rather, for gut classes; and they would happily surrender Fendi at forty percent off to secure a Fractals section that wasn't all the way up on Science Hill.
As a senior, I found this shopping period especially poignant. It was my penultimate chance to discover the hidden gem seminar, the one I'd look back on in the cold, post-Eli future as being one of those bright college days the song* speaks of. My last chance, in many cases, to take the famous lectures given by the college's most notorious luminaries.
"What? You didn't take Herbert Branch's Shakespeare class?" future employers will say with incredulity. "Why, Amy Haskel, what were you doing there at Eli?"
And I will not be able to tell them, because I swore an oath never to reveal the truth: that while other Literature majors were shopping the Branch class, I was crouching in the shadows on a cold stone floor, garbed in a long black hooded robe and a skull-shaped mask, rehearsing an esoteric initiation ritual that required me to lie in wait for an innocent classmate to wander by so I could leap out, pelt his face with phosphorescent dust, and yell "Boo."
As if I'd admit to something like that anyway.
"Hey, Lil' Demon!" I called down the stairs. "I sort of wanted to shop a seminar this afternoon, so can we non-speaking parts adjourn for the day?"
Keyser Soze, a.k.a. Joshua Silver, popped up from behind a tower of human remains. "The Branch class? I wanted to take that, too." Figures. Branch was a brand-name professor at Eli, and it would suit Josh's political aspirations to add the scholar's reputation to his C.V.
Lil' Demon, currently levitating over a pool of blood, raised one perfectly plucked eyebrow and blew a strand of chestnut brown hair (she'd had it dyed over the summer) out of her eyes. "I should have gone union," she said with a sniff. "You people just don't understand show business."
(By the way, that thing in Us Weekly about Lil' Demon over the Fourth of July weekend is categorically untrue. Odile Dumas wasn't "servicing" any ex-boy-band members in Tijuana; she was with me and the other Diggers at a patriarch's pool party on Fire Island. And, say what you will about the starlet, she has better taste than to get down with a bunch of scrawny tenors. If that were her style, we had more than enough singing groups right here on campus.)
Thorndike, poised below her and wielding a wicked-looking pitchfork, tapped Lil' Demon on her Pilates-honed and designer jeans-encrusted behind. "Can't let the Teamsters in the tomb," she reminded her. Demetria "Thorndike" Robinson was our resident power-to-the-people expert, so she'd know. "But I'm with them anyway," she continued. "There's this Racial Strata of the 21st Century symposium I wanted to hit at three."
A chorus of voices erupted from the other costumed participants about classes they were missing. Bond, our club's British contingent, wanted to ensure his seniors-first spot in a college poetry seminar, Frodo needed to go to a board meeting of the Eli Film Society, Big Demon had scheduled some physical therapy at the gym, Kismet was tutoring Swahili, and Graverobber, who I don't think I'd ever witnessed in an Eli classroom, needed to see a man about a horse. Which he owned.
Lil' Demon sighed, unhooked herself from her safety harness, and dropped to the floor. "Fine, but don't blame me if the new initiates think they're getting shafted on their ceremony."