It's been tooooo long since my last review :)
Author: Kara Taylor
Title: Prep School Confidential
Series: Prep School Confidential #1
Release date: 30th of July 2013
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: YA, Mystery, Contemporary
Published by: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 333 pages in Kindle e-book format
Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne could care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate, Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school. When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.
After accidentally burning down a part of her school, Anne is shipped off to a prestigious private boarding school where she stumbles on a murder of her own roommate and too many suspects, conspiracies and dangers to choose from. BUT, what does a self-respectable Upper East Side girl have to do? Of course, take it upon herself to find the culprit. And that exactly is Anne’s mission.
Overall, I liked the book, it had many aspects going for it, but others, at the same time, were left lacking, but I’m satisfied enough to take on the second book of the series.
I thought the murder aspect of the book was very well executed. The solution and mystery wasn’t as obvious, it wasn’t a plot device just for the sake of it and it wasn’t tedious or boring. I enjoyed following Anne getting to the bottom of everything: including creepy stalkers, dark/old tunnels, long past unsolved mysteries, suspicious teachers, conspiracy theories, people getting silenced, etc.
Other things I liked:
The boarding school setting, something I enjoy reading about, can be a hit or miss, depending if the author can draw out everything it has to offer, and it definitely worked in this story.
Such series’ books usually come across as quite stand-alone, with each book having a separate case or something similar, with no indication to anything upcoming, but this book gave clues and hints on what Anne is getting herself into in a future book and I really liked it introduced as such and it made me excited to read more. Not to mention that it seems there are a million secrets to uncover in that school with everyone seemingly having one or two skeletons in their closet.
Spunky, sarcastic and not your typical lay-low goody-goody heroines are my favorite, and thus, Anne was a fresh breath of air. But, I have to admit that she didn’t reach her full potential in this story, I kind of expected more from her: more naughty, more sarcastic, more rebellious, … just more in all the categories she supposedly excelled in. This, however, doesn’t mean that she wasn’t an enjoyable heroine and a far cry from others I’ve become so bored of reading about. I will be expecting that she up her game in the next installment and make me proud.
I did, however, seriously dislike the so called love triangle in this. It was totally out of place, not needed and not well developed. And since I pretty much despise them to begin with, this became my biggest con in the story. This also made Anthony like a piece of the puzzle that just didn’t fit and I didn’t find him all that interesting and likable either. As far as I’m concerned Bent is the only romantic interest for Anne.
As already mentioned, Anne was a good heroine with lots of potential. Her design was great, but the realization needs some work.
I thought Brent was adorable, nothing overly extraordinary, but that exactly was his charm. He wasn’t all over Anne and neither was he too shy, I liked their scenes together and how he always tried to help her out in his own way while not taking over her “investigation.”
Isabella remained a mystery to me till the end, when she was around I had one image of her and when she was murdered all this behind the scenes info started to come about regarding her that I felt didn’t coincide with what I knew about her and saw her as. While this is exactly the point, I was slightly bothered that I couldn’t really see the two sides as one and the same person.
Try reading this for a decent YA mystery! It’s a good start with a solid base now established with the first book. The heroine is someone I just have to read more about and there definitely has to be more romance involved as well in future books. I recommend!