We’re participating in the Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop, and our review/giveaway for that hop is The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller. A gadfly is any kind of biting fly that annoys domestic animals. It’s also a person who persistently irritates, annoys or provokes others. Hmmm. Sounds like most intelligent, inquiring minds. I do want to alert you that this is not necessarily a YA novel. It has three main characters: a teenage girl, an ex-student and a high school teacher. Because of that, some of the content is very mature and may not be appropriate for younger teens. One reader gets to win an advance readers’ copy (ARC) of this interesting novel!
Iris Dupont is super smart. No one who meets her ever doubts that for a minute. She’s intent on becoming a top journalist. In fact, as far as she’s concerned, she’s already a journalist. She’s just waiting for the rest of the world to recognize that fact. Iris’ best friend as long as she can remember has been Edward R. Murrow. He’s her mentor and they confer regularly on Iris’ progress in reaching her career goals. The fact that Murrow has been deceased for over 40 years doesn’t faze Iris in the least and she doesn’t understand why it worries her parents so much.
Iris’ real-life best friend killed herself and Iris’ parents insisted that Iris go into therapy to not only help her cope with that but to also end her relationship with Murrow, who they and her therapist insist on calling her imaginary friend. The therapist and her parents believe she needs a change of climate, and her dad has received a good job offer, so they’ve decided in their lack of infinite wisdom to move her to Nye, a small town away from Boston.
The second main character in The Year of the Gadfly is Mariana Academy’s new science teacher and former student, Jonah. Jonah, his twin Justin, and Hazel were inseparable when they were students. None of them fit into the mainstream at Mariana, and to some extent they gloried in that distinction. Then Justin died and everything fell apart.
The third main character in The Year of the Gadfly is Lily, an ex-student at Mariana Academy. Iris is staying in Lily’s room and is reading her journal entries from her time as a high school student. Although Lily is currently working in Africa, she is a force who in many ways guides Iris in trying to acclimate to this rarified prep school environment but also figures heavily in Jonah’s memories of his time as a student at Mariana since his twin, Justin had a huge crush on Lily. Like Iris and Jonah, Lily never quite fit into the school around her, partially because she was the headmaster’s daughter but also because she felt she was ostracized as an albino.
Iris, Lily and Jonah are grief-stricken, emotionally starved people just trying to get through life the best way they can. All blame themselves for deaths they could not have prevented no matter what they did or didn’t do at the time. Although Lily has moved on to some extent, Iris and Jonah continue to punish themselves for those deaths, believing they don’t deserve to have happiness when the people who died didn’t have the opportunity for it. It’s pretty much destiny that they should end up in close proximity to each other because they both need to heal and represent each other’s best opportunity for healing.
The Year of the Gadfly shows us the lasting effects of childhood betrayals, long-buried but smoldering secrets, and the sad lasting repercussions of losing someone you love intensely. Above all, it shows what happens if you aren’t able to let go and move on with your life. It’s also a story of hope and redemption, of forgiveness and learning to be alive again. I ran through the entire gamut of emotions while reading this novel, including laughing out loud at some of the things Iris said and did. It is part literary novel and part thriller/mystery. I highly recommend this novel for adults and older teens! And one of you is going to win a copy!
Instead of including quotes and a more thorough synopsis, I’ve decided to use this quirky trailer that’s an excerpt from the novel. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Can’t wait to read it?
The Year of the Gadfly was published on May 8, 2012, so it should be available from your favorite bookseller below. Just click the button to go there to get it.
I’d love to get your comments on The Year of the Gadfly, Jennifer Miller, and/or this review.
If you like this review, please “like” it, +1 it, and share it with your friends!
One lucky reader will win an ARC of The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller!
Once you’ve entered our giveaway, click on the link just below the Rafflecopter form to check out all the other giveaways in this hop!
1) The deadline for entries is Tuesday night, 6/26/2012, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 15 years old to enter this giveaway.
4) You must use the Rafflecopter form. Even if leaving a comment is part of the giveaway, you must use the form in addition to leaving the comment for the comment to count as an entry.
5) If you already follow PopcornReads on Twitter or Facebook, you must still complete that part of the Rafflecopter form for your follow to count as an entry.
6) If you do not provide a complete mailing address in the Rafflecopter form, your entry will not be eligible. We will use your mailing address to ship your book to you.
7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!
If you’ve never used Rafflecopter before to enter a giveaway, here’s a little 45 sec. video on how to do it:
Click here to link to the close to 200 giveaways in the Midsummer’s Eve Giveaway Hop!