16 September 2015
Series: The Fixer #1
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Tess's life get turned upside down when her older sister, Ivy, shows up at the family ranch in Montana. Though Tess has done her best to keep her grandfather's degenerating mental health stabilized and the news of it away from Ivy, the secret eventually comes out and Tess finds herself whisked away to Washington DC, away from her grandfather and into a life with the sister she barely knows.
The synopsis of the book boosts "This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars." I have not seen Scandal yet, though it is in my never ending Netflix queue, but I loved V Mars. And this book definitely has that teenage sleuth kind of feel to it, though Tess's sister Ivy makes a much larger role in the plot then Papa Mars usually paid with Veronica.
While the focus of this novel is a bit out there - a conspiracy that might include high ranking officials in politics and the White House - it has just enough foundation built in to feel believable. The development of the characters definitely helps too, as do Tess's and Ivy's snarky personalities, which I love. Even the dynamic between Ivy and Bodie adds entertainment to this tale.
I really like the ending too. The plot has penalty of twists and turns, and I had multiple opinions of who-done-it along the way. In the end, it wasn't someone I expected, and yet the resolution didn't come out of left field either like a lot of mysteries that simply go for the shock and awe instead of the slow build up of clue (yes, I'm talking about you still Broadchurch). I think this book might have been best off as a stand alone, but Barnes does a nice job of setting up the sequel while still leaving this novel feeling mostly solved.
The other thing I have to give Barnes mad props for is that Tess is kind of a BA heroine. She has a lot on her mind and on her plate in this novel, and she doesn't waste the whole story pining over guys. I hate it when authors feel like they cannot write a successful YA novel with throwing in a bunch of needless romance. So kudos on that. While this novel wasn't a must-binge-in-one-sitting suspense story, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and I will be picking up the sequel when it comes out. (My mom also commented that it showed up on the carousal of my old Kindle Fire she has and that she's in the process of reading it too. She really likes it so far as well).