I feel like I'm always seeking out that next dark academia book that will give me the same vibes THE SECRET HISTORY did. Man, I loved THE SECRET HISTORY. I didn't even realize that literary fiction could be trashy until I read that book and then I was like, "Oh my God, why aren't all literary fiction writers doing this?" Like an addict, I'm always chasing that next high... and always coming up disappointed.
I was looking forward to reading this book, THE YEAR OF THE GADFLY, forever. When it finally went on sale, I was ecstatic. The idea of a vigilante secret society punishing the student body for various infractions was fascinating to me, and boarding school settings are just icing on the cake. But sadly, I wasn't into this book. It was really over written, and all of the characters sounded pretty similar. Jonah was probably my favorite character but he couldn't carry the narrative. I ended up feeling pretty bored, which made me sad.
It actually had some pretty similar flaws to THE MAGIC CIRCLE, which I enjoyed a lot when I was an older teen but didn't enjoy at all in a reread. So if you liked one, you'll probably like the other. I wish I'd read this book at eighteen because I probably would have loved the sort of precociously pretentious vibe it's cultivating, but it so doesn't work for me now.
2 out of 5 stars