I’ve got a book review today of the mystery thriller The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I’ve got a little spoiler section at the end of the review which you should definitely not look at until you’ve read the book. Read it, then come back so we can all squeal about about that. So it’s safe to read the rest of the review if you haven’t read the book. Enjoy!
The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer (#1)
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Publication: July 7th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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.
Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.
It was a bit of a slow start but the situation was very mysterious and definitely intriguing. The plot kept me engaged, although it could be dense sometimes and I needed to reread passages. It’s just a lot to take in. Despite being very plot driven and twisty, I found that there was great development of characters and relationships.
Deaths are rarely an accident in books. Prepare for lots of murder.
This is a political, mystery thriller which is something that is difficult to find in YA. And I want more. I want more politically centred books in YA. It’s brutal. This ain’t just a mystery, it’s a deep set political scheme. Ahh I just love politics in books.
I’m very intrigued in the concept of “the fixer” and it’s an entirely unique idea that I’ve heard of. I haven’t watched Scandal or Veronica Mars which this book is compared to but from what people are saying, the idea has been explored before.
I don’t want to go into the details of the plot because I think it’s best going into this novel without any prior knowledge. Even the blurb’s a bit misleading.
The end did feel a bit easy though for the situation.
The book takes place in Washington D.C. with a large portion of it in a high school environment. I didn’t notice this until after, but there is no girl on girl hate and it’s so refreshing. In fact, there is an active stand against bullying from the protagonist. Tess refuses to back down from bullying, whether it be students or adults. I greatly admire that courage and bless you Jen. Also this speech:
“There are a lot of ways to castrate a bull,” I said, my words deliberate and slow. “You can band the balls off so they shrivel up and die. Or you can take a knife and slide it just so.” I demonstrated with my free hand. “I grew up on a ranch. I know a lot about castrating bulls.”
There was a moment of stunned silence.
“Are you threatening me?” the boy asked.”
As much as I love the setting, it did feel like a simplified world of politics.
Literally every character is this book is so mysterious and crazy theories just kept populating in my brain. I believe there was at least one point in the novel where I suspected every character of… something. I really loved the fact this was a family focused book and NO ROMANCE! I love the dialogue and banter in this novel just adds that something extra and makes the humour even better.
Tess: I immediately liked Tess. She’s sarcastic and intuitive. I can relate so much with the way she thinks – she’s mature and gets emotional, but isn’t melodramatic. She’s independent but asks for help when she’s out of her depth. A rational thinker. Me like. In contradiction, she does have an aspect of impulsiveness which I could accept, adding to her character of a realistic teenager. She’s shark and has excellent deductive skills which is so refreshing because lately I’ve been reading a lot of unobservant YA characters even when all the clues are laid out in front of them. Surprisingly, I can’t pinpoint anything from her that irritated me. One of my new favourite YA protagonists!
Ivy: she’s Tess’ sister who had quite a distant relationship with her until she appears in this book. there’s an aura of intrigue surrounding Ivy and her job from the very beginning and learning more about her, in fact all the characters, were great! I want to know more.
Tess and Ivy’s relationship felt realistic and was dynamic which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Asher: look I’m not really a fan of the charming yet annoying character who continues to pursue the protagonist even after they continuously ignore them. Attention seekers. Kind of like Adrian from the Vampire Academy series. However in this case, I appreciated the part that Asher played bringing some comedy relief, yet still contributing to the plot.
In fact, I believe that every character introduced in this book had a real purpose and none were cast away or neglected. Also adults aren’t useless in this novel is I’ve discovered has become quite common in YA novels.
I did wish we got to know the villain more.
The writing makes this novel so psychologically manipulative. I love it and hate that I fell for it. I enjoy Jennifer’s style of writing – it’s easy to read yet you really think about every word written. It’s a contradiction but it works. I know a lot of people found the writing to be repetitive, however it actually didn’t bother me much. This is a surprise for me.
Now for a little spoiler section:
– – – – – – – – – – – – SPOILERS AHEAD! – – – – – – – – – – – –
3… 2… 1…
That plot twist KILLED me. I just sat there for a good minute or so going whoa and whaaaat?? Mind. Blown. As soon as it was revealed that Ivy was Tess’ mother, it all made sense. I had one of those moments where your mind reels back to all the evidence and foreshadowing that led that plot twist and question whether you were actually reading the book because how could you have missed all those clues. ‘Twas awesome.
And the ending: I feel that Tess traded a lot for her “sister” to be released.
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I didn’t have quite the stress as reading The Naturals, but it was intense. Moral of story: nothing is ever just an accident. This book is so layered and every event just became bigger and bigger. You’ll be bursting with theories throughout the book and it’ll keep you guessing until the very last page. Can’t trust anyone. My brain was constantly reeling from conversations between characters. Boy there’s a lot of scrambling and misdirection. I can definitely see this book as a movie. A thrilling and fun read – I can’t wait to read the sequel!
Were you shocked by the happenings of this book? How do you feel about political centred books? Comment below!
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