Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

Iris Dupont is a 14 year old whose only friend is the deceased American broadcast journalist, Edward R Murrow.  Iris wants to be a journalist herself and constantly banters back and forth with Murrow.  Of course her parents become alarmed that she is talking to a dead person and send her to counseling and eventually move her out of town and to a new school to escape the stress and grief she is under, hoping she will cease talking to Murrow.

Iris enrolls in Mariana Academy, one of the best schools on the East Coast.  She joins the school newspaper and quickly learns there is secret society and an underground newspaper (The Devil's Advocate) spreading their own form of justice throughout the school.  Teachers and students have much to fear from this secret society including Iris.  Murrow and Iris agree that she must be an investigative reporter and find out what is really happening at Mariana.

There is a new science teacher at Mariana named Mr. Kaplan and his main goal is not to teach biology to freshman but to get his students to think for themselves and not to follow the herd mentality.  So he starts off the school year by teaching the students about extremophiles-"the extreme loving microbes from which all life originates". pg. 15. The class slogan is "Difference is the essence of extremity." pg. 17.   I loved this teacher and wanted to be in his class.

Jennifer Miller has created a smart, witty and entertaining, page-turning novel.  Miller took seven years to complete The Year of the Gadfly and it was well worth the wait.  Her novel is well-written, full of plot twist and turns and humorous to boot.  The characters are awesome, and I'm not sure who I loved more, Mr. Kaplan or Edward R. Murrow.  Iris is a character that you want to invest your time in and see her succeed.

The Year of the Gadfly is a coming of age novel with a prep school theme.  It is part mystery, part secret society and full of the search for truth and meaning.  The Year of the Gadfly is a book about teens who don't fit in to the status quo and a message that says, it's OK to be yourself.  The characters are well-developed with three narrators who drive the story to its shocking conclusion.

The Year of the Gadfly was completely addicting and I read the majority of the book in one day.  Jennifer Miller is a creative author and you should put her book The Year of the Gadfly on your radar. I predict more great books from Miller and looking forward to reading all of them!