Review: Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

January 14, 2015 Review 44 ★★★★

Review: Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor
Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 333
Release Date: July 30th 2013
Series: Prep School Confidential #1
Genres: Contemporary, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Young Adult
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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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Every now and then I accidentally make a good decision when it comes to reading books. This time, that decision was not rereading the summary of PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL before jumping in to it. I was expecting snarky narration from a troublesome character navigating a privileged boarding school and maybe getting involved in a little mystery. I WAS NOT EXPECTING MURDER. And a really good murder mystery at that.

Anne, our main character, reminds me of Nancy Drew. I play the games and used to read ALL THE BOOKS from the library a few years ago (they’re actually the books that got me into reading properly) so of course I’m going to draw this comparison. Trouble follows her wherever she goes. She has a lot of random skills such as lock picking, is a pretty smart girl, and has a lawyer for a father. She’s not afraid to stand up to all people and tell them exactly what she thinks. She’s going to investigate every lead and even when she’s threatened she won’t back off (although Anne did takes threats a little more seriously than Nancy ever has. Nancy sees them as a sign she’s getting close so starts investigating even more aggressively).

PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL is written in first person POV and is very entertaining. Anne is funny and snarky, but not mean or heartless. She makes good jokes and every now and then there’s a pop culture reference thrown in which I actually understood for once! This novel was also very, very well paced. The start is slow but the writing good enough to grab your attention. Then the murder happens and the suspense begins. The tension only builds as the novel goes on. And the plot gets more and more complex. I’d think I’d know what was going on then Anne would discover something and I’d just

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Because I’ve played so many mystery games/seen so many shows/ read so many mystery books all those years ago, I’ve become really good at picking the culprits. My guess was correct in PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL, though I was never entirely sure of the motive until the end. Even so, I was second guessing myself as I read and more clues were uncovered that could point to other people. You couldn’t trust anyone because there was always more to the characters than what met the eye.

Another thing I liked about the plot was how the mystery that seems to be solved in the sequel was introduced in PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL. It’s only little mentions and discoveries here and there but they are just as intriguing as the murder mystery clues. And then there’s that thing dropped RIGHT AT THE END.

I had to close my kindle and compose myself after that last line. The next book needs to find its way into my hands ASAP.

There’s only one thing I’m conflicted over when it comes to PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL and that’s the romance. The romance scenes in this are great. And I mean GREAT. There’s just one thing though… See, it’s sort of a love triangle. Not a horrible love triangle, it’s actually a pretty good triangle with two decent guys I can see Anne ending up with. And she doesn’t string them along and waste precious time thinking about how hard a decision she has to make and oh why can’t it be easier. But at the same time ugh love triangle. There is one guy I like more than the other (ANTHONY) because there just seemed to be more to that relationship.

PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL was an all-round awesome novel. It reminded me of my old Nancy Drew reading days. The writing is very entertaining and suspenseful, the mystery revealed slowly as our daring heroine takes risks to solve the murder and find answers. And generates more questions because there is so much being hidden in this school. I can’t wait to read book two and see what else she uncovers. My only regrets are that a) this has a love triangle (which is decent but I just don’t want to deal with love triangles right now) and b) I didn’t read this sooner! I’d recommend this to anyone wanting a good mystery with entertaining writing.

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Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Overall: 4.1

44 Responses to “Review: Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor”

    • Bec

      I haven’t read the Veronica Mars books! I, uh, haven’t even seen the show (despite many plans to watch it). One day I will get to it…

      Thanks!

    • Bec

      They’re so entertaining! Mystery isn’t something I read a lot of (I’m a fantasy fan) but it’s a genre I always enjoy when I do get to reading them :)

    • Bec

      She’s awesome! I wish I had some of her wit!

      Ah, no that’s a shame to hear. But I’m not very surprised. Hopefully the romance doesn’t get too in the way of things

      Thanks :)

    • Bec

      Yay Gallagher Girls! This will be a great follow up. Though murder mystery isn’t quite as awesome as a school for spies.

      I hope you enjoy it!

  1. Naban

    Something reminiscent of Nancy Drew? Yes please! This is the first time I’m hearing about this one, and I must admit I’m glad I did. The MC sounds incredibly fun, and the story seems fun but with a well done mystery side to it AND I’m also sold by the fact that the love triangle wasn’t annoying or anything. Great review!
    Naban recently posted…Review: Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

    • Bec

      There’s always time for Nancy Drew type things XD It was a lot of fun, but at the same time VERY suspenseful. The perfect mix really.

      Thanks :)

    • Bec

      Every now and then I will stumble upon a well executed love triangle, but those are so RARE. Most just piss me off and I’m hoping this series doesn’t start to go that way later :/

  2. Rashika

    Ew love triangles :P THEY HAVE COOTIES.

    I know Faye adores this series though which is how it first came to my attention! I am glad to see you enjoyed it as well, Bec!

    Considering all the positives in this book, I might just be able to overlook the love triangle and just sit back and enjoy the ‘funness’ of the book and the awesomeness of the murder mystery! :DDD

    Fantastic review, Bec!!
    Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: Willowgrove by Kathleen Peacock

    • Bec

      LIKE YOU :P (Best. Comeback. Ever)

      The love triangle doesn’t get in the way too much but it’s definitely there. I’m just grateful Anne doesn’t spend ridiculous amounts of time thinking about it and focuses on the mystery.

      Thanks!

  3. Kirsty-Marie

    This one was the biggest surprise for me in 2013. So glad you enjoyed this one, I read it not long after it came out and adored it, I’ll have to reread it before reading the others since I can’t actually remember who done it now. But loved Anne, reminded me a little of Veronica Mars. The love triangle didn’t bother me that much, since like you said, she’s not focused on that.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Sleepless

    • Bec

      I haven’t seen or read Veronica Mars so I couldn’t make that comparison, but I’m not surprised! They seem like a similar type of person.

      Hopefully Anne stays focused on things that aren’t the love triangle in the future!

    • Bec

      Maybe you should have become a detective, Jess haha

      You can overlook the love triangle for now. The mystery is good enough to make up for it!

      Thanks :)

  4. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I’ve never heard of this series before but like WOAH, you’re making me want to read itt! I LOVE a good mystery, a snarky, headstrong heroine and a good romance. Sucs about the love-triangle but this one seems to be handled pretty well so it wouldn’t stop me from checking this one out. Gotta love a good, quality entertaining read :D
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…ARC Review: Owl & the Japanese Circus

    • Bec

      That’s the goal! The love triangle can be brushed to the side and ignored because there’s many good things in this book to keep your attention.

      You should read it! Soon! And then let me know what you think :D

  5. Kezia

    YASSSS I’M GLAD YOU LOVED IT. This was one heck of teenage mystery book for me! Anne is definitely one of many protagonists I adore. I agree that she is a very smart girl who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself or other people. Totally far from a damsel in distress type! This was a very promising start of a series –I still need to pick up the second book though.

    • Bec

      Anne is bloody great! Such a strong, independent girl. I wish my personality was a little more like hers.

      I hope we like the second book when we get around to it!

    • Bec

      There aren’t as many (good) YA mysteries around as I’d like!

      Haha, liking love triangles just means you’d probably find more books enjoyable XD I don’t mind love triangles, but they have to be done well.

  6. Kelly

    I actually don’t mind a love triangle every now and then, as long as it’s woven into the storyline and not just thrown in there to spark a teenie readers team debate. That cover is pretty unsuspecting, considering how awesome this sounds. I love mysteries and it’s hard to discover decent ones in YA without them turning into a slapstick mess. Awesome review Bec, going to grab a Kindle copy and hope I enjoy it as much as you have <3
    Kelly recently posted…Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

    • Bec

      Yes! And both interests have to be well developed. So often only one is and it’s obvious that’s who the main character will end up with. The best love triangles are the ones that make me feel attached to both the love interests.

      The cover fooled me! I thought it would be some story about a high school trouble maker, not an awesome girl who’d investigate murder!

      I hope you like it :)

  7. Danielle

    This was such a surprise hit for me, I really expected some shallow, diluted gossip girl knock off and instead got a book that kept me up all night until it was done. I really need to get my hands on the sequel too, those hints at the end promise a good ‘un! Glad you enjoyed it too!
    Danielle recently posted…Where to from here?

  8. Rachel

    Wait, you play the Nancy Drew games too? And here I was, thinking that I am the only person in the world over the age of ten who is obsessed with them.

    So you say that there is a love triangle, but is there that much romance in general? Like does it overshadow the plot? If it is minimal, I might have to read this book.

    • Bec

      I have played ALL the Nancy Drew games. Only one I have yet to finish and that’s the very very first Secrets Can Kill which I got from the library and the disc was corrupted right near the end! We’ll have to have a chat about ND some day :D

      There are romance scenes every now and then but Anne is very conscious that she shouldn’t be fooling around when there’s investigating to be done. It’s not minimal, but it’s not too much either.

  9. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    My best decision was READING the summary. By the cover alone I just thought it was a normal, middle grade read. But OHMYGOSH it sounds awesome. I don’t really mind the love triangle either, if it’s not the focus of the story. Can’t wait to read this and use my inner Sherlock! Great review, Bec!

    • Bec

      This is one of the books you don’t want to judge by the cover because you’ll miss out on something awesome! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Thanks :)

    • Bec

      It’s not the best love triangle out there, but it didn’t make me want to bash my head against a wall and that’s always a good sign haha.

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