Monday, June 29, 2015

ARC Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: The Fixer
Series: The Fixer #1
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published: July 7, 2015 by Bloombury Childrens
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.'s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians' scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister's footsteps and becomes D.C.'s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens. 

Secrets pile up as each sister lives a double life. . . . until their worlds come crashing together and Tess finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy with one of her classmates and a client of Ivy's. Suddenly, there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than Tess is willing to pay. 

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for more in this exciting new series.

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher (thanks Bloomsbury!) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

This book is total Cassi-bait. I mean come on, it combines so many of my favorite things. It's a YA political thriller that takes place in a Washington, D.C.  Boarding school. Okay, so it's a normal school but w'll forgive it for that, because seriously The Fixer is fantastic. It's an intricately plotted mystery with great characters who are full of secrets, and an engaging setting.

What first hooked me on The Fixer was the characters. When we first meet our main character of Tess, she is shipped off to Washington, D.C. after taking care of her grandfather who is suffering for Alzheimer's. She has had to grow up really quickly and taking the role of caregiver it's hard for her to trust other people and take help. I think I saw somewhere this book called Veronica Mars meets Scandal, and that's definitely an accurate comparison. Fans of Veronica Mars will love Tess Kendrick. She's sassy and tough but she's also vulnerable. And her greatest strength is also her biggest weakness. She's so dedicated she often acts without thinking, putting others before herself. She was easy to like, easy to root for, and the perfect addition to the cutthroat and secretive world of D.C. politics.

And that world that she entered was also full of an amazing cast of characters that was just as complex and interesting as Tess. Her sister Ivy is the Olivia Pope of this equation. She's a notorious political problem solver who has all kinds of clout and connections but the only problems she can't solve are, of course, her own. Her and Tess have a really interesting relationship and I liked watching it all play out as the book develops. Then there are all the kids at the school that Tess goes to. Their a who's who of Washington and while they were nice and all I did find them a little one-sided compared to a lot of the other characters. And maybe that's because the members of the Washinton elite that Tess encountered were all so complex and interesting. Every time I thought I had one of them figured out they surprised me with more secrets and intrigue.

But that was just the world of his book, full of secrets and intrigue. I have always loved a good political thriller and the world of secrets and back-scratching perfectly lent itself to the mystery of this book. The author took that concept and built on it to makes something larger than life that was compulsively readable. And while I did like the stuff that took place in the school, when Tess entered the larger world and took on the larger mystery, that's where things started to get really good.  The stakes here definitely felt really high and Jennifer Lynn Barnes created a place where secrets are so common they're almost currency. It had me totally hooked on finding out what would happen next.

But even better than the mysterious world was the thrilling plot. Jennifer Lynn Brnes created an intricately plotted story that was full of so many twists and turns. I saw a few of them coming but for the most part they caught me completely by surprise. And that isn't because there weren't any clues. No, I was just following the wrong lead (which rarely happens to me). The beginning was a little slow, and it took a bit to establish the world and introduce the characters but when it did finally pick up, the book was full of riveting action that had me flying through the pages. I read two amazing books this weekend and it's a testament to both of them that I really couldn't decide which one to prioritize. They were both that mysterious and that engaging.

Although my only criticism is that the ending seemed liked a resolved non-resolution. This is the first book in a series (I'm assuming duology) and while it did resolve the main mystery of the book, it didn't have that satisfying ending that I usually feel when that happens. I think it's because the larger mystery is still unresolved and it seemed like that realization didn't happen until the very end of he book. As if Tess was just like, "oh wait I forgot to solve the mystery." It just didn't feel as empowering. Although I do maintain hope that I wasn't wrong about the culprit in this one, it just hasn't been revealed that I'm right yet.

But when the book was all I over I was left with that "wow, this was really good" feeling and that's always a great way to end a book. And that's probably because this was an all-around great book with likeable characters, and engaging and action-packed plot, and a world full of mystery and intrigue.

I give The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 9 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you like mysteries and/or thrillers, especially if you like political thrillers you should definitely check this book out. Fans of Veronica Mars, Scandal, and House of Cards will love Tess Kendrick and the mystery that unfolds during this book. 


  1. I'm glad this one was good! I really want to check it out because it sounds like something I'd love. Great review.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  2. I'm reading this now (book soul mates strikes again!) I'm really glad you enjoyed it all the way thru since I'm still in the fairly early parts. I'm not huge on politics but I know that's you area of expertise so if you give it the green light Im all for it!! Great review lovely.

  3. I read this one and thought it was just okay. I just had issues with the unbelievability of high school kids trying to solve these crazy political mysteries. I am glad you enjoyed it though.