Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Prep School Confidential
Thomas Dunne Books, 2013
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!
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