Review: Secret Society by Tom Dolby

Posted December 24, 2009 by alicia in Uncategorized / 4 Comments

Title: Secret Society
Author: Tom Dolby
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Pgs: 343
Release Date: Out Now

Review by: Alicia

Summary (from author‘s website):

An eccentric new girl. A brooding socialite. The son of one of New York’s wealthiest families. A promising filmmaker. As students at the exclusive Chadwick School, Phoebe, Lauren, Nick, and Patch already live in a world most teenagers only dream about.

They didn’t ask to be society members. But when three of them receive a mysterious text message promising success and fame beyond belief, they say yes to everything. Even to the harrowing initiation ceremony in a gritty warehouse downtown, and to the ankh-shaped tattoo they’re forced to get on the nape of their neck.

Once they’re part of the Society, things begin falling into place for them. Week after week, their ambitions are fulfilled. It’s all perfect–until a body is found in Central Park with no distinguishing marks except for an ankh-shaped tattoo.

Tom Dolby makes his teen fiction debut with this riveting novel about a dangerous Society so secret that once you get in, you can never get out.


This book was interesting, as in I-did-and-didn’t-like it. Also I got confused a few times, which I didn’t like. The book kind of reminded me of Gossip Girl, in the sense that it was written in third person, there were multiple narrators, and it favored the teen partying and designer clothes genre. Which I did like for the most part, but it was a bit too much sometimes.

There were four main characters: Phoebe, Nick, Lauren and Patch. I liked all of them except for Patch. Ugh. No matter how hard I tried, I could not stand his character. He drove me nuts! I absolutely hated his character and was kind of hoping he’d end up dead because of the (incredibly stupid) things he did. So, from that, I was disappointed with the way things ended up for him at the end of the book.

Lauren was an ok character. She was a bit annoying at times though. I did feel bad for her on some things, and liked the fact that she changed during the book. I loved her jewelry designs (even though I never saw them, only imagined them) and if they were real I would definitely buy them.

Phoebe and Nick were my favorite characters. Although, I liked Phoebe more than I liked Nick. Phoebe’s art sounded interesting and I loved the way it was described–I could totally picture it. She was also the easiest character to relate to, and if I had been in the book, my reactions would have been the same as hers. I didn’t blame her for being suspicious of the Society the whole time, because I would have been too.

Nick’s club parties didn’t really do anything for me. They were another thing I found annoying. Half of the time I felt sorry for him. Especially with everything about his family and their connection to the Society. His relationship with Phoebe though? I absolutely loved it. It was sweet, slow and romantic, although it took a bit too long!

The Society was definitely interesting. I must say that I loved all of the things, although more than half of the book involved some sort of a party that the Society was a part of–which kind of annoyed me. I loved that the entire thing had roots in Egypt. Egyptian history is one of my favorite things, and it made the story more interesting.

The ending was surprising for me. I didn’t see some of the things coming about the Society. Even though I was iffy about the book, I will read the sequel(s).

Cover: I like it. I like how they show the tattoo and I love the hair clip in the girl’s hair.

Overall: 3/5

4 responses to “Review: Secret Society by Tom Dolby

  1. I really disliked this book. Phoebe's art did sound interesting, but she was in no way "eccentric" as the description calls her.

    I thought the writing was poor. It would have been ripped apart in even an Intro to Fiction Writing course. His constant switching of narrators mid-chapter was annoying and confusing.

  2. I think that the people who disliked this book may like my new release, Angela 1: Starting Over (the first of a series of three set in a coastal Texas high school). It is exactly the opposite sort of thing. To learn more, please click on my name and follow the link to my website. Thanks!

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