The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release date: July 7, 2015
This e-galley was provided by Bloomsbury USA Childrens via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.
Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.
And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Jennifer Lynn Barnes has done it again. She has written an addictive story that kept me hooked. Tess was such a normal girl, despite all the craziness she went through and all the things she was thrown into. She had a bit of sass to her, and she has a strong moral compass. She loves her grandfather and Ivy, even if she tries not to show it. And I genuinely love this cast of characters, y'all. They're much different than Cassie and the team in The Naturals. Most of them are less jaded, but they're still well-rounded. Vivvie is great, and I can't wait to see her friendship with Tess develop further in book two. Henry was interesting, and I found myself to be a fan of him in the end. I liked that his goals didn't always align with Tess's. It's enjoyable when secondary characters want good to win in the end, but they may not always agree with the protagonist. (Also props to Jennifer for mentioning straight off that he's biracial. Yay for diversity! And I'm pretty sure Vivvie is Middle Eastern or Indian.) Emilia was interesting too - sort of the mean girl but not. She cares about her brother, and she's smart, and she enlightens Tess about STEM. She's not really the enemy; I could tell she didn't really like Tess, but she didn't actively seek out our protagonist to be mean to her. Then there's Asher. For most of the book, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to smack him or date him myself. He's witty and a bit pushy and flirty, but he seemed to only want friendship with Tess...for now at least. There's minimal romance in this book, y'all. There's flirty tension between Asher and Tess but not once do they kiss or confess feelings for each other or anything of the like.
The mystery, which is most of the plot, was a wild ride. I never knew who quite to suspect, and I didn't guess the real culprit at all. Jennifer really knows how to write a mystery. There's a plot twist towards the end that I did guess much earlier on and the reveal was a bit dramatic, but I like where it took the story. Some of the fall-out is going to be great in book two, I just know it. (And seriously, I could take a giant series about Tess and her adventures.)
One final note, this is definitely great for fans of Veronica Mars. There's intrigue and scandal and cover-ups; since I recently watched the whole series for the first time, it was fresh in my mind and I could see a few small parallels.
Mild language. Mild violence (nothing's really shown).
The Verdict: So amazingly good. If you love Veronica Mars or Ally Carter's Heist Society, this is totally a book for you.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Heck, yeah. I've preordered it!