Much to my sadness, the "Ivy League" series (previous ones here, here, and here) has come to an end with this book. But it's an awesome and satisfying end, and while I will miss the characters, I'm glad they come out as they do.
It's Amy's final season as both an Eli senior and as a Rose and Grave active knight, and it's time to tap the new members. This turns out to be an incredibly stressful process, even beyond figuring out how many female taps to include this time (a random draw determines it). Amy ends up responsible for selecting two taps, one to replace herself in the "literary" slot and another to replace a missing knight's "science" slot.
When it comes to filling the literary slot, you'd think Amy would have a fairly easy choice of it. But of the three literary bigwigs on campus, one is too eager, another seems to be occupied on her own, and the third choice is, dammit, a legacy--and also a giant tool. The tap that Amy ends up being excited about is her science slot, Michelle. However, Michelle's past history leads to all kinds of things being tricky to deal with, and I don't just mean in the "how to tap a girl who doesn't respond to anonymous phone calls asking for a society interview" sort of way. In fact, Amy's society nickname of "Bugaboo" becomes more bugaboo-y than EVER in this one when things really, really come to a head and Rose and Grave look even worse than ever. One wonders if the knights of D177 will ever have it easy. Apparently not!
Something I should probably mention: a theme in this book is secrets. Specifically, how secret IS a secret society? How secret is it when most people can figure out that they're a potential R&G tap, or when barbarians can figure out who's in what society? Is it at all practical and realistic to assume that one can keep it all quiet? Demetria in particular seems to be bothered at how much the Diggirls haven't reformed things and to some degree are continuing with traditions they might not like (example: legacy guy Topher). It's also made pretty clear in this book that in some cases, the "secrecy" rule really needs to be dropped/relaxed. Is this something that can change in the future? Amy also ponders a few other people's secret societies in this book, especially when certain members seem happier and more stress-free in theirs. It is hard to argue with Jamie when he points out that he was against letting women into the society because it did end up causing a lot of drama.
In other news, Amy has finally gotten romantically involved with Poe/Jamie, as official boyfriend and girlfriend, even though one way or another they'll probably end up in different places in a month and a half. Negotiating their relationship is interesting, given the R&G tap stress Amy is going through and Jamie's trying to stay out of it. The progression of their relationship is darned sweet, though, and there are some great moments. But much like Josh and Lydia, who may end up at different law schools, circumstances may part Amy and Jamie (yup, rhymes) as well. Should anyone give up their future life plans just because of a new relationship? It's the eternal graduating senior question. The hinted-at affection between Jenny and Harun is covered in this one as well, in a mature and surprising manner.
But in the end, I think the Diggirls find it all worth it. And we leave the D177 folks on a high note.
Might I request that the author later write another 4-book series on D178? I'd love to see Michelle's take on secret society life, what life is like for those living with the legacy of D177, and if Topher becomes less of a dick. Please?
Four stars. (Yay, a happy review went up today!)