Tap & Gown

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-05-19
  • Publisher: Delta
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Top secret societies . . . bizarre initiation rites . . . campus love triangles . . . political shenanigans . . . Diana Peterfreund has dazzled readers and critics alike with her Ivy League novels, hailed as "impossible to put down"(Publishers Weekly)and "witty and endearing"(New York Observer).In this final installment, Eli University senior Amy "Bugaboo" Haskel and her fellow Diggers are preparing to face real life in worlds far beyond the hallowed halls of Eli University. For Amy the countdown to graduation has begun, and suddenly the perfect ending to a perfectly iconoclastic Eli career is slipping from her grasp. Her new boyfriend's been made an offer he just can't refuse. Her fellowship applications haven't even been filed. And the young woman she's chosen to take her place in Rose & Gravethe country's most powerful and notorious secret societyseems to come complete with a secret life already intact. Lunging toward the finish line, Amy finds trouble around every corner, from society intrigues and unlikely stalkers to former flames and mandatory science credits. Surely it couldn't get worse . . . until Initiation Night explodes into a terrifying scene and into a last test of wits for a young woman just trying to make it out of the Ivy League in one piece.

Author Biography

Diana Peterfreund graduated from Yale University in 2001 with degrees in geology and literature. A former food critic, she now lives in Washington, DC with her husband and writes full-time. Tap & Gown is her fourth novel.


Chapter One


I’ve decided that life is a bit like a standardized test. Not putting down an answer because you fear it could be wrong will lower your overall score. Now, as many of my friends (and a few of my enemies) will tell you, I have a tendency to overanalyze. I’m aware of this characteristic within myself, and I do my level best to overcome it. As a result, I have occasionally been known to make snap decisions that, in retrospect, were probably mistakes.

Then I remember what those nice folks at the Princeton Review told me, back when I was a green seventeen-year-old terrified I’d never get into college: Narrow down your options and make an educated guess.

But be careful. You never know where that decision is going to take you.

Almost a year ago, I accepted the tap from Rose & Grave, Eli University’s most powerful, exclusive, and notorious secret society. I knew my life would change. What I didn’t realize was how. I figured my induction into their order would net me some contacts in my preferred field, add extra oomph to my resume, and provide an insurance plan for the future that loomed just beyond my next set of final exams.

What I didn’t expect was that it would open my eyes to a whole world of my own potential. I no longer even wanted the job I’d once hoped Rose & Grave would help me get. I also didn’t count on a host of new friends, some of whom I’d never dreamed of associating with before—a few of whom I’d actively disliked. I certainly never knew how much danger one little club membership could result in, though I’d spent the last year being threatened, thwarted, chased, conspired against, and even once—bizarrely—kidnapped.

But most of all, I didn’t realize that the following March, I’d be sitting on a couch that looked like it had been fished out of the trash, staring at a guy I’d never even have looked twice at, and wondering if I dared answer the following:

Amy Haskel, are you in love?



C)Insufficient Data to Answer This Question

Oh, hell, it’s C, which is why there was no way I was going to let our Spring Break fling end. He couldn’t do the secret hooking-up thing anymore? Fine. We’d try something new.

“I’m really sick of secrets,” I said, and kissed him.

Brilliant as Jamie Orcutt is, it took him several seconds to parse the meaning of my statement. When he did, the kiss turned from hesitant to heated in no time at all.

Somehow we shifted from a relatively decent and G-rated side-to-side to something that rated the sort of parental supervision we had zero interest in at the moment. And, say what you will about how the couch looked, it certainly felt comfortable once I was sandwiched deeply between the cushions and Jamie. I clung to his shoulders as if I were drowning and he knotted his fists into my shirt, sliding the material away from my skin as his mouth moved south over my throat.

“Ja . . .” I said on a sigh, and then, as his tongue flicked over my collarbone, “Puh . . .”

He lifted his head. “You are never going to get it straight, are you?”

“Unlikely.” I slid my hands down his back, to where his sweatshirt ended and his skin was bare. “It’s tough enough to even think of you as Jamie and not as—” Poe. I stopped myself in time to avoid the fine that punished us for using our society code names beyond the confines of the tomb.

“This is troublesome,” he said. “But then again, that’s your society name.” He tapped my nose.

Bugaboo. Yes, and he’d probably had a hand in choosing it, too, now that I thought about it. Malcolm wouldn’t have been so snarky on his own. “You want to know what&#

Excerpted from Tap and Gown: An Ivy League Novel by Diana Peterfreund
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