Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Prep School Confidential

Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor
4/5 stars
Thomas Dunne Books, 2013
304 pages
YA Contemporary Mystery

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Yay-I am finally getting to this! I have seen loads of reviews from my blogging friends and was hopeful that this boarding school setting combined with murder would enthrall me. The reviews I saw were mostly positive with some qualms so I had hopes.

I am very pleased to be on the positive side as I was utterly charmed by bold and brassy Anne Dowling, our heroine. She begins the book as queen of the school but is quickly kicked out after she almost burns it down. Instead she is shuffled off to a boarding school outside of Boston. Within a week her new roommate Isabella is killed and since the administration seems determined to cover it up, Anne takes it upon herself to identify who done it, uncovering layers of hypocrisy and corruption in the process while also juggling two very intriguing boys.

As I said, Anne rocks! In a rather rigid environment, she is somewhat messy and pushes up against that which she knows to be wrong. I particularly enjoyed her anger over the general lack of apathy toward Isabella's murder (Isabella being a scholarship student without famous parents and thus "not worthy") and toward the adults for covering everything up. In fact, Anne has a lot of understandable anger that she mostly channels in a productive way (tracking down Isabella's murderer). She's also snarky and kept cracking me up, which kept the pages turning.

You may notice that this review is mostly talking about Anne. That is for good reason because as our narrator and protagonist, we spend the most time with her. The aforementioned boys were not very interesting to me though I can see that she has made a clear choice by the end-we'll see if that holds up.

Meanwhile I found the mystery itself a bit confusing. It starts out seemingly straightforward (someone is killed) but soon many threads are added like the FBI tracking a teacher, a big sexual harassment case covered up, a parent's extortion, etc. That adds up and I had some trouble following it all. This is a long-winded way of saying that I did not figure out the murderer and was completely blindsided. Luckily Anne also had not really anticipated this person so we were caught off guard together.

Overall: A surprisingly fun murder mystery that left me eager for the sequel, due out next year!

Other Opinions:
Bananas for Books
Books Live Forever
In Bed With Books
Into the Hall of Books
Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks
The Book Babe's Reads

26 comments:

  1. This sounds fun! I love books where kids start playing detective :D

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    1. It was so good-Anne's evolution into detective felt very natural and her attitude kept me glued to the page.

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  2. I like mysteries where you can't figure out the killer and I like books set in boarding schools so this looks like a book I'd enjoy. I am glad to hear that you liked it. The cover reminds me of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series.

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    1. I love the boarding school setting so much-that was the biggest draw but I was also encouraged by the other positive reviews. You should give this one a try!

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  3. Anne is such an overwhelming and awesome presence in the books, which definitely gives me hope for the series since she has to carry it.

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    1. I loved her too-excited to see how she'll grow and handle things in the next book.

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  4. Anne sounds like an amazing character, I might have to pick these up

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    1. You should definitely check this book-it's gotten such good buzz and I think you'd like it too.

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  5. Sounds really fun! I'm sure the mystery would confuse me a bit too, but ah well, it's always nice to be surprised in the end.

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    1. I probably wasn't reading it as careful as I should have plus it was an e-copy rather than physical, which tends to be a bit easier for me to follow.

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  6. Aw, this one sounds really cute. I've seen it around and was curious so, after reading your review, I think I'll have to check it out!

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    1. I hope you do check it out-I think it shows a lot of promise for the series to come!

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  7. I've seen this book around a lot and it sounds really fun :)!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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    1. Oddly fun considering the dark subject matter at times!

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  8. i really like this one too! lol i was blindsided as well and i'm usually good at figuring out these things... i didn't figure out who it was until it became very obvious.

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    1. That makes me feel better though I very rarely figure out the murderer anyway...

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  9. Yay! i really liked this one too. Anne was such a good narrator, and I can't wait to pick up the next book. Great review.

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    1. I love when we agree-hope the next one continues to lift the series!

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  10. I was surprised that I liked this one as much as I did and I'm also really eager for the follow-up! I don't tend to love these mystery stories NOR boarding school stories, so this was sort of a fresh idea for me. Loved it. So glad you did too!

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    1. You don't like boarding school settings? Whoa that is so weird to find out. I'll keep that in mind if I have book recs for you.

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  11. I just bought this -- happy that you liked it!

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    1. I'm thinking you'll like this one then!

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  12. Ooooh I like that it sounds a little like Veronica Mars with the investigating the murder and the social divide between the rich kids and poor kids. Does it have that same edgy vibe or is it a little more cute and fun? But I've also been OBSESSED with boarding school stories since I was 7 and read Enid Blyton's books.

    I'll have to look out for it at the library.

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    1. I haven't seen Veronica Mars so I'm not quite sure about the vibe-it is a bit edgier just with content (not as fluffy as say the Ally Carter books). Though I'm really glad I didn't attend a boarding school, I do adore reading about them.

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  13. I got on the tour for this one and was glad that I did since I ended up really liking it. It actually really surprised me, in a good way, and that's one of the reasons I loved it so much besides Anne who was an awesome character once she gets to the boarding school. I think the next one is probably going to be a little crazy and suspenseful, but should be good.

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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    1. I'm interested in seeing the suspense increased-looking forward to discover how Taylor ups the stakes next time.

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