Another fantastic ARC for me to rave about! I loved Secret of the Sevens. The characters were awesome and the plot was full of twists, turns and surprises that kept me hooked until the very end. Considering it was a debut novel I kept my expectations in check; but I did not expect it to be so consuming – it blew me away!
Summary from Goodreads:
Everyone at Singer, a boarding school for underprivileged kids, knows the urban legend of the Society of Seven. Decades ago, the original members of the secret guild for elite students murdered the school’s founder and then perished in the fire they lit to hide the evidence. Or so the story goes.
Talan Michaels doesn’t care about Singer’s past. He’s too focused on his future and the fact that he’ll be homeless after he graduates in May. To take his mind off it, he accepts a mysterious invitation to join a group calling itself the Sevens.
He expects pranks, parties, and perks. Instead, he finds himself neck-deep in a conspiracy involving secret passages and cryptic riddles about the school’s history. Even worse, he’s now tangled in web of lies someone will kill to keep hidden.
This was a book that makes the reader pay attention and try to figure out the clues as the story goes on. You feel like one of the characters as you memorize poems, figure out symbols and get dragged deeper and deeper into the mystery.
On a side note, when I was looking up appropriate gifs for mysteries / clues, I ended up with so many Blues Clues gifs I had to stick one in there! Anyways… back to business.
In interest of keeping this review completely spoiler free, I can’t speak about the story too much. To put it simply, the plot was a whirlwind. I was hooked from the beginning and every time I thought I had something figured out, everything would change. I think this is the mark of an excellent mystery. Often times, I’m able to predict what will happen, who will be the bad guy etc, but with Secret of the Sevens, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.
From the very first page, I thought I knew exactly who Talan was: a rude, sarcastic bad boy with a dark past and an uncertain future. (I mean, the book opens with him taking a girl to tour a graveyard in hopes of a quickie, so I figured I knew what to expect.) As the novel progressed and Talan opened up more about his past, his family and his fears, I really began to connect with him and feel for the kid. I know that his situation was one that teens find themselves stuck in the real world as well, which made it more emotional for me.
According to her bio, Lynn is a mother of 2 “crazy” boys that inspire her writing. When I first found her author page a few months back, I enjoyed reading her blog. One of the most memorable posts was Why I Write YA and most recently, her post comparing how writing a novel is like having a baby – utterly hilarious and accurate. Lynn Lindquist really gets teenagers, especially teenage boys.
This is one reason I write young adult: it’s what I know. Adolescence is the noise that fills my house: the laughter around the fire pit, the music streaming from speakers, the laughter from girls trying to impress the bragging boys who are trying to impress them back.
It’s amazing what stories they’ll share with you around the island in your kitchen if you’re willing to listen. Sometimes, they give me nightmares. Mostly, they crack me up. And always, they remind me how complicated (and simple), fun (and traumatic) life is when you’re perched at its starting gate.
In conclusion, I cannot recommend this book enough. I feel like YA is dominated by female writers and (sometimes) awesome heroines, but the male perspective gets forgotten about. It was so refreshing to read a YA novel from a male point of view and I hope it encourages a more diverse audience. This was Lynn Lindquist’s first published novel and I can’t wait to see what comes from her next.