Prep School Confidential
Series: Prep School Confidential, #1
Release Date: July 30th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Rating: 4 stars
Word Rating: Unexpected
Reviewed by: Melanie
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.