Review – Diana Peterfreund’s “Rites of Spring (Break)”

The very fact I’m finding time to post this in the midst of Wimbledon mania is an indication of how much I adored this book. 

A bit of background: I stumbled across the first book “Secret Society Girl” about a month ago and promptly fell in love with Diana Peterfreund‘s Rose & Grave series.  I immediately snapped up the second book (“Under the Rose”) and squeeeee’d with joy when I realised the third book was being released in a month’s time.

“Rites of Spring (Break)” (clever title, btw) came out on the 24th of June, and thanks to the magic that is ebook technology, I had it on the very day it was released.  And just to re-emphasise how much I was looking forward to it – I had to get up at half-six the next morning, but I still started it that very night.  And couldn’t put it down.  I ended up getting about four hours of sleep that night… and you know what?  It was completely worth it.

My post on the first book provides more background info on the series (or have a look at Ms Peterfreund’s website).  Amy Haskell’s a member of the Rose & Grave secret society at Eli, a (fictional) Ivy League university.  RoSB starts off with Amy in her senior year and looking forward to a peaceful final year after the rather hair-raising adventures of previous terms.  However, a prank on rival secret society Dragon’s Head goes ever-so-slightly wrong, and Amy finds herself the target of an increasingly personal vendetta.  Plot-wise, this is almost a book of two halves, the first half set in the environs of Eli University and dealing with the aftermath of the Dragon’s Head prank, before moving to a different setting as the Diggers (i.e. Rose & Grave members) head off to their private island to enjoy spring break in Florida. 

Okay, rather than doing a “proper” review, I’m going to list some points below because I can’t seem to organise my thoughts (hugely distracted by the tennis in the background!):

  • While reading the second book, at times I struggled with the question of why on earth would anyone remotely sane *want* to join a secret society.  I’m glad to say that it made complete sense in this book – and without Ms Peterfreund having to batter me senseless with the reasons.  The camaraderie and friendship between a very diverse group of people tied together through R&G came through very strongly in RoSB. 
     
  • As per usual with this series, I loved Amy’s voice and her slightly snarky sense of humour.  And there was excellent dialogue – there were some exchanges I just had to re-read over and over again. 
     
  • By the third book of a series, there is bound to be a large cast of characters, and while you probably can’t please everyone in terms of page-time (or is that space?), I thought it was well-balanced.  I loved seeing old characters (yes, Malcom makes an appearance), and the major secondary characters were spot-on.
     
  • One random observation that struck me halfway through this book – Ms Peterfreund is not big on physical descriptions of the characters.  I mean, I know Poe has silvery-grey eyes, but for instance, I have no clue how Amy herself looks like.  Or Josh.  It’s more impressions than physical descriptions.  And I do like that.
     
  • The reveal in the first half of the book really surprised me, but for the second half, I pretty much figured out the villain straightaway.  But I didn’t really care, because for me, the romance was the main focus of the second half.  I’ve been waiting for this since Book 1 and the wait was completely worth it.
     
  • I love Amy as a heroine – she isn’t perfect, she’s human, she makes mistakes, she’s not holier-than-thou…  Some bits were painful to read, but really rang true.
       
  • And last, but definitely not least… I L-O-V-E-D the romance.  Ah, let’s face it – I’m a romance fan, and this was just perfect.  This is where I slip into spoiler territory, so skip the following bit if you haven’t read the book yet:
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    The first half of the book had me a bit worried.  Surely I didn’t misread the hints in the previous books.  Looking back at it, I can see how the first half wrapped up various loose ends relationship-wise.  And in a way, it made the second half even better.  Amy’s realisation that a certain person had a major thing for her, and the hilarious conversation she had with Malcolm, and the not-date that was a date… aaahhhhh.  Perfect. 
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Okay, fangirl gushing over.  This is one of my favourite books of the year.  An A for me and I cannot believe I now have to wait an entire year before the next (and final) book in this series comes out. 

(Oh, and a big thank you to the publisher for including the first chapter of the next book at the back.  I loved it.)

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7 thoughts on “Review – Diana Peterfreund’s “Rites of Spring (Break)”

  1. I didn’t find this series very tempting when it first came out (most of the reviews I read were a bit lukewarm), but I might have to reconsider now 🙂

  2. Rosario – I am loving this series (as if you couldn’t already tell!). It’s Amy’s voice that makes it for me and I admit it may be a love or hate thing). Like I said in my previous post, I just had to get it after I read the first chapter online!

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