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.
It doesn’t take long for a new student at Singer to hear the rumors. Two decades ago the school played host to a secret society known as the Sevens. According to the urban legend the Sevens were responsible for the death of the school’s founder, William Singer and the theft of a ton of unrecovered money. Twenty years later, students are still fascinated by the story but most have come to believe it to be nothing more than conjecture and rumor.
Talan Michaels has spent the bulk of his life at Singer. With a drug addicted mother and a grandmother unable to care for him, Talan has been at Singer since he was a child. Singer is the only home Talan has ever known and his house parents and house mates are closer to him than his biological family has ever been. Though Talan like to pull the occasional prank and spends an extraordinarily large amount of time in detention, he is, at heart a good kid.
Laney Shanahan has also grown up at Singer and she heads nears graduation, Laney is hoping all her hard work and dedication will pay off and she will be selected as one of Singer’s Pillars. The Pillars are a select group of students who represent the best of the best at Singer. They are given special privileges, a dedicated group home and, are almost certain to be among the school’s most successful graduates.
The morning of the Pillar selection ceremony starts as most other mornings at Singer do with breakfast and rushing out the door so as not to be late. Laney feels confident she will be among the chosen but when the names are announced, Laney is not only not among the chosen but the chosen are the least likely to have ever been chosen for such an honor. Though Laney keeps her mouth shut, she is grateful when her house mate (and kind of friend) Talan speaks out to declare the absurdity of the newly selected Pillars. Talan certainly isn’t opposed to wreaking a little havoc but his disciplinary record is nothing next to the students chosen to be Pillars. What’s even more odd is the black envelope both Laney and Talan find offering them membership into the Sevens. Coincidence? I think not.
In the beginning, Talan is sure the invitation is a prank but Laney isn’t all convinced. The election of the Pillars and the invitation to join the Sevens is too close together to ignore and so, both Talan and Laney accept the invitation. Though they have no idea who is in charge nor who the other member’s may be, the two continue to work together to sort out the clues being left for them. It takes Laney and Talan little to no time to figure out that Singer is in trouble and the Pillars are behind the madness. In the weeks that follow, the clues get more dire, the true history of the Sevens is revealed and, Laney and Talan are in it up to their necks. Saving Singer is their top priority but as the antics across campus escalate and the evidence against the Pillars mounts, Laney and Talan find their very lives being threatened.
The Bottom Line: What an enjoyable read! The Secret of the Sevens has a little bit of everything to offer the interested reader. There are secret societies, plots within plots, mysteries both old and new to be solved and, a group of kids who are determined to save the only home most of them have ever known. Lindquist does a fine job of weaving the past into the present. The events of the past inform the present and one time period never overshadows the other. In fact, in the end the two come crashing into one another. There is a suitable amount of drama throughout with seemingly harmless pranks right on up to murder and conspiracy. It is a game of whodunit and trusting others may very well cost someone their life. It is easy to forget as this story progresses that these are only kids, the eldest being just 18. There is very little in the way of cursing and the romantic element is certainly appropriate for YA+ readers. Overall, an enjoyable read that will take the reader on quite the mysterious ride.