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