Beth Kramer is a “townie” who returns to her sophomore year after having endured a year of judgment from her roommate, Sarah.
But Sarah Brunson knows there’s more to that story.
Amanda Priya “Spence” Spencer is the privileged daughter of NYC elites, who is reeling from the realization that her family name shielded her from the same fate as Sarah.
Ramin Golafshar arrives at Chandler as a transfer student to escape the dangers of being gay in Iran, only to suffer brutal hazing under the guise of tradition in the boys’ dorms.
And Freddy Bello is the senior who’s no longer sure of his future but has fallen hard for Spence and knows he has to stand up to his friends after what happened to Ramin.
At Chandler, the elite boarding school, these five teens are brought together in the Circle, a coveted writing group where life-changing friendships are born—and secrets are revealed. Their professor tells them to write their truths. But is the truth enough to change the long-standing culture of abuse at Chandler? And can their friendship survive the fallout?
I normally love a boarding school story that focuses on the dark secrets of the students, or even the school itself, but this one really fell flat for me. However, the secrets of this book are actually pretty disturbing, and I honestly considered DNF-ing this book, but I stuck through it so that I wouldn’t have two DNF books in a row. That was my mistake.
The friendships between the characters is probably what kept me going. Even in their disagreements and period where most of them didn’t talk to one another, they still cared for each other given the things they’d found out about the school and what was happening. Their disagreement was about how to handle these things and if they should confront those involved and expose what was happened (and previously happened) at the school. I did enjoy the forgiveness arc between Sarah and Beth, even if it was a little too quick to happen.
The characters themselves had their problems, but I didn’t really feel too much depth to them other than Sarah and Beth. We get more into their stories and, for me at least, they were a bit relatable as they dealt with sick parents and anxiety disorders. The other three – Spence, Freddy, and Ramin – just didn’t click for me, but it could be because I can’t relate to their stories. However, Ramin wanting to protect one of the teachers despite their involvement in letting another teacher get away with something they did was a little like… what? I know why he did it, but come on man.
There’s really not much else I can say about this book because it just didn’t stick with me. It’s really not a book I’d recommend because of what the “villains” get away with, and I don’t even know what to say about it other than I wish I hadn’t bothered with it.
But, other people liked it so I guess to each their own… right?
Rating: 2/5 stars
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