Inner Circle (Private, Book 5)

Inner Circle - Kate Brian, Julian Peploe "Inner Circle" is the fifth novel in Kate Brian's "Private" series. I'll admit this is one of the first novels I've read in the series, and I've read them a bit out of order. However, reading the novel does make me want to read more, as Brian maintains such a fluidly paced, dramatic interpretation of Reed Brennan's return to Easton Academy.After last year, Reed returns for the new semester looking forward to new changes. She's a regular member of the elite Billings group and meets both new and old faces alike. However, when the new headmaster issues an ultimatum that there won't be any further hazing or exclusive treatment at Billings, it sends a shockwave through the girls who are a part of the secret society. To Reed, she welcomes it because then the Billings traditions won't be as horrible as she endured. However, Reed's rival and the new head of the Billings group has plans to keep the tradition alive.Drama, pure drama. That's basically what comes across in this installation of the series. Bryan pulls no punches while weighing a balance between triumph, cattiness, and all out brawl when it comes to Reed fighting against the imposed traditions Cheyenne exerts upon the girls, and Cheyenne biting back. I rooted for Reed through much of the book, and also felt torn when she gets caught in the crossfire more than once. I finished the book in about a 2 hour span. It holds your attention through the easily flowing prose and the combination of conflict and identifying moments. I appreciated the balance, though the last few chapters of the book put me at a "Whoa" moment before leaving me with a sense of incompletion. Cheyenne was a cruel girl, and the fate that befalls her didn't surprise me, but I felt there were ends that didn't transition very well. I suppose I'll have to read it in order to see how it turns out, but I will say it kept my attention and I'm willing to read more of the series from here.Overall score: 3.5/5