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The Secret Circle: The Initiation and The Captive Part I Paperback – Student Calendar, August 21, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The dramatic black cover, with blood-red lettering and a close-up photo of an intense young woman with dark red lips, might suggest vampires, but the series title (The Secret Circle) gives it away: here there be witches. Quiet, shy Cassie and her single mother reluctantly move from California to New Salem, Massachusetts, to take care of Cassie’s grandmother, who looks suspiciously witchy and seems to know an awful lot about herbs. The local high school Cassie now attends is dominated by a very exclusive group of teens known as “the Club.” It won’t take the reader long to figure out that Club members are teen witches descended from the witches who survived the Salem witch hunts by leaving that town and starting their own. Our hapless heroine is, of course, a witch herself (though only half, as her absent father was not of that community), and in this first title in the series she begins to find her power and her position within the group. Fans of Smith’s Vampire Diaries series will find the same basic formula here: plenty of foreshadowing, lots of action, mild creepiness, and instant infatuation. Characterization is minimal, but those seeking lightweight, mildly scary, somewhat romantic titles will gobble this up and eagerly await the sequel. Grades 7-10. --Debbie Carton


Praise for The Secret Circle: The Divide: “Attractive teens; hot, but innocent, romance…dangerous adventures…all guarantee popular appeal…Main character, Cassie, is both likable and realistic…Stir in suspense–filled scenes…and Smith bewitches readers into clamoring for more.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

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Product Details

  • Series: Secret Circle
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061670855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061670855
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lisa Jane Smith is the New York Times #1 Bestselling author of The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, The Forbidden Game, Dark Visions, Wildworld and Night World series. She has written over two dozen books for children and young adults, and has enjoyed writing every one of them. She lives in the Bay Area of California, with a backyard that is full of flowers, which she adores, especially with many different shades of roses.

She loves to visit a friend's little cabin in the Point Reyes National Seashore area, which has lots of trees, lots of animals, lots of beaches to walk on, and lots of places to hike. Once, while hiking, she saw a snow-white buck which allowed her to follow it nearly half a mile. She also likes to collect things: angels (they remind her of her late mother), tiny boxes from different countries or of fanciful shape, nineteenth century children's literature, and books about quantum physics--especially about the mystery of the dark energy in the universe. A militant optimist, she is also part of the Velociraptor Sisterhood (a fancy way of saying that she likes to read, write and discuss books with strong female characters), and she has traveled extensively in Europe and the Far East. The two countries she loves to visit most are Great Britain, with its historic monuments and amazing country landscapes, and Japan, with its bustling urban life and exquisite mountain scenery.

Her favorite current writer is Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld series, for its wild and witty satires on life, death, war, love, assassins, coppers, and Australia. Her favorite classical writer is Jane Austen. Her favorite poets are Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. Her favorite movies are The Seven Samurai and Avatar (analyze that!). She doesn't have a favorite TV show, because she doesn't have time to watch TV (and only owns one for playing movies).

Her favorite people are her readers, each of whom she cherishes with deep and lasting affection.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By D. Kukura on September 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
Ah, The Secret Circle. Quite simply, I adore these books. I'm absolutely thrilled that they're being re-released, as my old copies are now quite creased and have started to fall apart. I finally get to replace them! Though I'll never throw the originals away, mostly because I would feel like that was sacrilege, but also because I don't like these new covers nearly as much as the old ones.

Yes, these books are THAT good. I first read them as a young teenager, because my sister and I were both big fans of Smith's Vampire Diaries saga. At first we were both confused, because we thought these TSC would be about vampires, too. We quickly decided that witches were just as much fun to read about as vampires!

(very minor spoilers below, beware)

The heroine of this trilogy is Cassie Blake, and she is a character that every girl reading the books will both relate to and admire. As a younger reader, I remember feeling really elated by this, because if I was even a little bit like Cassie, I must be a better person than my teenage mind gave me credit for. And I think that new readers will come to the same realization.

As the story starts, Cassie is fairly ordinary, or at least she sees herself that way. She's average looking and fairly shy. She doesn't stand up for herself, and she's easily intimidated. Smith never writes her as a COWARD, though, just as a timid, typical teenage girl who desperately longs to fit in with her peers. When she first sees Diana (who later becomes her best friend), she assumes that Diana is out of her league because Diana is beautiful. A very realistic reaction, in my opinion, and one I had many times in high school.

As the books progress, so does Cassie.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Chrissy on January 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
Lucky for me I had the second book ready to go because I read the first book in 1 day. It was so good I kept reaching for it whenever I had a spare moment.
Really this is a great read.
I wish I had read it in the 90's when they were out and I was younger- LOL.
Personally, I feel L.J. Smith's books are better than the Twiglight Series. And they were written before Twilight. Hmmmm...Maybe S.Meyer read L.J Smith when she was younger...

**Make sure you have the second book ready because it is originally a trilogy. So each of the 2 Secret Circle books has 1 1/2 of the original books from the trilogy in them:o)
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By E. White on May 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was devastated when the show was canceled after only one season.
So, out of desperation, I decided to buy the two books, but I was sadly let down.
I knew going in that they were COMPLETELY different... but I thought that would be a good thing.
However, the books do not have the same feeling the show had. Fewer emotions, and boring repetition without climax.
*For example, Cassie isn't as deep of a character as she was on the television show. Mostly because he father left when she was a child, and she lives with her alive mother and grandmother. No death here in the first book that hits home to Cassie.

*There are twelve members in a circle, not six.

*Cassie's father was mentioned once, he has no recurring role.

*Far less usage and study of magic. It's mostly how they can make themselves pretty with herbs.

*No believable love connection between Adam and Cassie in book like in the TV series.

*Set on the East Coast, not the west. (Improvement, I thought, from the show).

*Cassie and Diana are described as having opposite looks as they have in the television series.

*TV show had action, romance, and climactic moments that kept you on the edge of your seat, and the book, sadly, kept you waiting for it to get better, but it never quite does.

To end my review, I'm not going to bother reading the two new books that aren't even written by L. J. Smith, since the reviews say that Cassie's character is much more petty and uncaring, since I personally find her fairly unintelligent and petty already in the first two books. This is more of a tween series than a teen series... coming from a seventeen-year-old girl, by the way.
If you do read them, I hope you enjoy, but I was very let down. I guess my hopes were too high. It read like a petty 13-year-old's fanfiction.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Hastings on October 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story starts off with meeting young Cassie Blake. She is just fifteen years old and on vacation in Cape Cod for the summer with her mother. She is described of having brunette hair, wavy, and petite too. Over time the read comes to find out that plans change and Cassie is forced to move with her mother to the town of New Salem, Massachusetts for both of them to live with her grandmother, who she has never met till they show up at her front door. The story continues with her meeting students, having a rocky start her first week of school, and learning something peculiar about a group of students; which either half the students are afraid of or worship the group they walk on. But for reasons Cassie has no clue about.

So no more spoiling the book, because it's awesome! For most people, they only know of this because of the show and watched the show instead. But I think for the most part, the show lacks a certain quality that the book has: magic! I'm not talking spells or doing cool things with incantations, but I'm talking that quality that book has that makes you enjoy every second you read the book.

There is something about the way that Cassie meets everyone and how she learns of the "secret". My favorite part was that is was set in Massachusetts. The show doesn't have that. My big complaint about the show. Reason for this is the witch trials happened in Salem Mass. and that reference/story is brought up in the book too. It's one of the huge elements that is played on the last half of the book as well.

I simply enjoyed how there was a part in the beginning when Cassie sees Diana for the first time. She is described as this tall girl, with hair so long and beautifully blonde, "that is woven with the sun and the moon".
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