Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... The Friday Society

Monday, December 3, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... The Friday Society

The Friday Society
by Adrienne Kress
To be published by Dial
On December 4, 2012

Source: bought





My summary: After a murder, three girls cross paths in Victorian London: Cora the lab assistant, Nellie the magician's assistant, and Michiko the assistant to a Japanese martial arts expert. The three join forces to catch a murderer.

My take: In the interest of full disclosure, I am still on the fence about steampunk fiction. Gadgetry just isn't inherently that interesting to me, so I'm always looking for YA steampunk books that have compelling characters, a gripping plot, and maybe a little steamy-punk romance to keep me turning the pages.

Happily, based on those critieria, The Friday Society mostly succeeded for me.

The book's characters are a fun trio. At first I pictured them as Charlie's Angels, but then I decided they were more like Nancy, Bess and George from Nancy Drew.


Both the Friday Society and the Nancy Drew trio fight crime wearing dresses!


Cora is Nancy, the brainy, confident one. Cora is a sort of "My Fair Lady" character, a lowborn girl was taken under the wing of Lord White, a frequently drunken nobleman who does wacky experiments.  Nellie is Bess, the pretty girl who is constantly underestimated. A former burlesque dancer, Nellie is the eye candy for her magician employer. Michiko is George the tomboy. She was the servant to a geisha, but then became the assistant to Callum, a self-defense expert.

When Nellie finds a dead body in her sitting room, the girls try to find the murderer. To me, this was an exciting prospect, because I just knew all the girls would get to use their special talents and gadgets, from Cora's experimental night vision goggles to Nellie's sleight of hand to Michiko's swordplay skills. The three follow clues all around the city, including to the Tower of London, which made me extremely happy.** There are hints of romance at times, but The Friday Society is mostly a Girl Power kind of story in which boys are sidelined. I'm fine with that.  I mean, unlike some of the clingy YA heroines of today, Nancy Drew kept Ned Nickerson well out of her way until she needed to go undercover at a formal and needed a date.

At times, The Friday Society seemed to me to have a LOT going on: three girls with alternating points of view, three different employers, a murder, gadgets, and a large cast of supporting characters. Since the murder wasn't really directly connected to any of the girls, the stakes never felt as high as they could have. (Correction: one of the victims was an old friend of Cora's, but to me, the girls never felt in any danger. It seemed that like Nancy, they were solving the case just because it presented itself to them.)

There was also some (deliberate?) weirdness with the book's dialogue. The Friday Society takes place in 1900, but the characters inexplicably toss around modern slang phrases like"I really can't deal" and "I'm not giving a shit."

But for the most part, I really enjoyed the book. In the end, I decided that The Friday Society reminded me of....


... an English trifle. Weird? Yes. (And I guess in England, they just call it a trifle.) But both have a jumble of interlayered ingredients that somehow all come together into an addictive, frothy treat. If you like girl power with some mystery and a light touch of steampunkery, give this one a try.

It will be one of the winner's choices tomorrow for Hot Off the Presses!


** For posts that include my prior history nerd rambles about the Tower of London, read my review of Girl of Nightmares or my interview with Laura Bickle, author of Hallowed Ones.

38 comments:

  1. I've had this one on my GoodReads for awhile, I love girl power novels like this! Can't wait to read it!

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  2. I love your comparison to Nancy Drew-those were such fun books! I also like your comparison to an English trifle (remember that Friends Thanksgiving when Rachel tried to make one?) This is definitely one I want to read!

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    1. I thought I'd seen every Friends episode, but I don't remember that one. I'm going to try to find it!

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  3. I like steampunk, but I'm not all, "Hey! A new steampunk novel! YES!" I tend to tread gently around them ... At any rate, this one sounds like it'd be a lot of fun! I do love the cover for it. The one thing I love about steampunk is the costumes -- the goggles, gadgets, and Victorian dresses make such a neat combo!

    Great review, Jen!

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  4. Love a good steampunk book! Thanks for sharing your great review!

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    1. I'll have to get some recommendations from you!

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  5. This one really looks good and I appreciate your thoughts on it. I think I know a little more what to expect going in now, where as before, I was like... that sounds cool, but hard to pull off. I'm just starting to really enjoy steampunk, but you're right, cool gadgets can't be the only thing it has going for it. Also. LOVED how you related the book to Nancy Drew. I was a Nancy Drew ADDICT as a kid.

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  6. I'm not completely sold on steampunk either but I do love a good mystery solving, crime fighting, bad ass trio of strong women! LOL

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  7. I really enjoy steampunk so this already interested me, but then you describe the girls as like Nancy, Bess, and George and I am totally all about it now. Then you added in the trifle and really, how can I not want to read this now. :) Great review babe!!

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    1. Yes, what's a review without a little dessert??

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  8. I like the cover and I'm trying to find some great books in the Steampunk category, because I liked the books I've read so far. This one sounds great! Girl powerrrr! I love that. Good review :D

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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    1. I have not found many that had all the qualities I was looking for!

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  9. yes, it's just trifle over here, although depending on whose mad-hatter granny makes it you might find fruit cake instead of sponge (ick) or (ughh) Blamonge!
    I wasn't bowled over by this ones description - steampunk victorian london? Just didn't really sound like my thing, but I'm glad that you enjoyed it even with your doubts about steampunk!
    Although it's only a few hours away, I've never been to the tower of london. Shocking eh?!

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  10. I've had my eye on this one for awhile. It sounds like a lot of fun, and the characters sound great. Love the review!

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  11. I've been looking forward to this for some time now so I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I usually hate it when a book that takes place in a different era uses modern dialogue, but this books sounds fun so I can overlook that.

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

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    1. Well, it's not throughout the whole book. I was searching for interviews with the author because I'm very curious as to why she decided to do that. But I got used to it!

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  12. LOVE the Nancy Drew references! And yes, comparing The Friday Society to an (English) trifle would be very much on target! I though it was a fun read, I liked Cora a lot, and I'm unabashedly intrigued with The Great Raheem. Hoping for much more of him in the next installments:)

    (incidentally, whenever I think of trifle I am always reminded of that Friends episode where Rachel makes the dish not knowing that a Shepherd's Pie recipe was stuck to the back. Remember that one? Hmm. Might just be me:)

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    1. You're the second person who mentioned that and I thought I'd seen every episode of Friends!!! Need to look that one up!

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  13. I love kick-ass girls and strong friendships but I have been hesitant about whether I want to read this one because of the steampunk factor, for the same reasons you mentioned. And also, now I want trifle. lol :)

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  14. Characters that are like Nancy, Bess and George? I'm SOoooooo there! haha. I'm a BIG fan of Nancy Drew so I might check this book out soon. Great review!

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    1. I love Nancy Drew, but only the old ones where she drives a roadster, etc.

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  15. This book just sounds fun to me, and I love the Nancy Drew comparisons! I'm usually hesitant of steampunk as well, but for different reasons (for me, books are often mislabeled and not really steampunky enough, but just playing up a fad, which drives me bonkers). I do wish the stakes were higher, that usually makes me more invested in a mystery, but I'll still probably check this one out eventually!

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    1. Well, this one seems a little steampunk lite to me, so it might not work for you. But hope you entered and maybe you can check it out!

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  16. Adore girl power novels. Have my fingers crossed SO TIGHT for this one! <3 Has been on the top of my wishlist for a while. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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  17. My favorite dessert is Port Wine Trifle, so THE FRIDAY SOCIETY might just be my cup of tea.

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  18. This book sounds really interesting and it's been on my TBR for quite awhile. Thanks for your review!!

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  19. Oh no, they use modern slang? Where were the editors on this, I love steampunk and really want to like this one. Great review.

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