Review: Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

Prep School Confidential
Kara Taylor
Series: Prep School Confidential, #1
Release Date: July 30th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Rating: 4 stars
Word Rating: Unexpected
Reviewed by: Melanie
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In this breathtaking debut that reads like Gossip Girl crossed with Twin Peaks, a Queen Bee at a blue-blooded New England prep school stumbles into a murder mystery.

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 couldn't 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.

'It's not hard to think like a criminal. But I guess if you want to get technical about it, I am a criminal.'

Turns out, I can't fortune tell.

I really wish I could. However Prep School Confidential cements my childhood dream of becoming some fancy magician as impossible and absurd. You see, Prep School Confidential is exhaustively unpredictable and unexpected. Like many other novels in the murder mystery genre, Kara Taylor's debut is a novel about the attempt to descry the murderer of a dead body. Kara Taylor duplicitously sways readers in unimaginable places where we begin to suspect the closest person of the victim to the creepo stalker next door. In the end, I decided to trust no one. Insanely persuasive, Prep School Confidential could be a apprehensive and suspenseful read if you are like me- who has no possible future career of a fortune teller.

The book opens up with Anne accidentally lighting her school on fire. As far as first impressions go, yeah... Nonetheless, things pick up a faster and more entertaining pace once Anne is thrown to a boarding prep school in Boston. With her bored attitude, Anne has no intention of making friends yet after just one week of her stay, her seemingly nerdy (and might I add crazy) roommate, Isabella, is found dead just outside the school grounds. Anne is determined to seek out the murderer and find who was behind this outrageous crime. And it seems, that the criminal knows what Anne is doing.

The characters have great levels of nuance. I found Anne a difficult character to deal with at the beginning, her witty remarks, rebellious behaviour and arrogance were no help. However Kara Taylor transforms her swiftly into a careful and smart character when she was introduced to a new environment. This character development may have been a little to quick, but commendable all the same. The author manages to utilise Anne's personality craftily into the murder mystery as Anne is a person with a scrutinising eye. This only made the plot more complex and engaging.

In addition to the characters, there are some borderline clichés. The high school hierarchy and bitches are still of present but more muted. I introduce to you, the blonde nemesis! Alexis is the girl with satirical remarks and cruel I'm-out-for-blood attitude throughout the plot line. She also plays a role- significant of not- which adds another layer of complexity. While there were trite elements here, they were not as overpowering and frustrating as I believed so.

What made Prep School Confidential miss the five star mark was the romance. Like the whole bitchy nemesis aforementioned, it had a little corniness to it- in which I mean love triangle and typical love interests. We have one who's all dark and unruly, then there's the cute, thoughtful and humorous guy with a reputation with the ladies. I'm not awfully happy with the love triangle but I'm rooting for the cute guy! Dark and mysterious- Bleh.

Highly unpredictable in my tastes, fabulous plot line and writing, Prep School Confidential redefines murder mysteries. A worthwhile read with a dash of everything: romance, laughter, suspense and tension. Ally Carter fans are bound to fall in love.



  1. oh man, no cliche romances anymore. I beg of you. Sometimes I wish books excluded a romance plot completely rather than add one that makes you like the book less! I like the prep school setting, but not a fan of the typical popular girl, Alexis. I am however a huge fan of a mystery that is unpredictable until the end. I think this is reason enough for me to seek out this book and read it.

    fantastic review,
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

    1. The mystery made this book tonnes better, the cliche's are awfully terrible when compared to the pros though.

  2. Yay for character development! I haven't seen that in ages- something many authors over see. Such a pity... I'm not really bothered about poor romances, especially now knowing that the culprit is difficult to find- love a good confusing story, lol.

    Fabulous review, Melanie.

    1. IKR?! I was so overjoyed to see it here, especially how the MC needed it so much, amy have been a little to swift though. :|

  3. OMG. BAHAHAHA! Childhood dream? Fortune telling?! BADASS.

    I like the way describe Anne- can't wait to meet her when I pick this one up- I know I will as your review has me hooked. Well despite the fact that this had cliché element s that I detest. Oh well. Fab (and hilarious) review!

    1. Oi... don't be a meany... hehe :D Anne was certainly awesome and kick ass in her own special way.

  4. I just read a mystery for the first time in a long time, and it's rekindled my love of the genre. This definitely looks like one I'll want to check out! Fantastic review, so sorry you won't be a fortune teller anytime soon, though!

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

  5. Sounds like an interesting read. I haven't read many mysteries and am rubbish at guessing who did the crime. Pity about the love triangle though.

    1. It is really worth reading, Megan! Go for it!

  6. This sounds fun and entertaining, and I love a good mystery that's actually hard to figure out. I am not so fond of the love triangle or the mean girls cliche, but it still seems like something I would enjoy. Fab review babe!

  7. Whoa, you make this one sound really really awesome! I'm excited to check this one out now! Great review. I have to admit that the love triangle might drive me nuts, but I guess I'll just have to see!

  8. I can't wait to start reading this. It's good to know that the characters are fun and the novel is unpredictable. Even if the romance is 'meh' and there are a few clichés.
    Great review.


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