YA political thriller? Sign. Me. Up. Here is a book that will throw your head for a loop and shake your brain. EVERYTHING in this novel is a plot twist. Nothing is as it seems. I loved it. I don’t care if it was realistic or not, this story sucked me right in. It is great.
Tess Kendrick has spent most of her 16 years on her grandfather’s ranch, after the death of her parents when she was young. But her grandfather has early onset Alzheimers, and Tess can’t care for him much longer. Her estranged sister, Ivy, uproots her to D.C., and Tess enters a new world where power determines status.
She transfers into Hardwicke Academy, the exclusive private school for children of the Washington elite, where politics and power also rule. She bonds immediately with her tour guide, Vivvie, never guessing that this casual friendship it will lead into conspiracy and intrigue of her own.
There is the mysterious death of a Supreme Court Justice, backroom negotiations, political arm-twisting, mysterious pasts and relationships, as well as a bit of life-and-death bargaining thrown in, just in case you get bored. (You won’t.)
The characters are fantastic. Tess is a straightforward, sarcastic, self-assured teen who takes crap from no one. She learns quickly that nothing is for free, and it is all about what she has to offer in return. Her entourage of Vivvie, Emilia, Asher and Henry are all distinct voices on their own, with believable personalities and influences on the action.
The adults, who I often think don’t get a fair shake in YA lit, are distinctive as well, with their own backstories and intrigues that play well with the teens’ storyline. Sister Ivy and her cohorts Adam, Bodie, and the host Washington power brokers she mingles amongst are all well defined.
The plot was totally the kind of conspiracy and intrigue that you imagine goes on behind the scenes in politics – whether it be in Washington, Ottawa, London or anywhere else. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. You get rid of my enemy, I’ll funnel cash or contracts or position your way. Ruthlessness and power. It’s awesome.
And at the end, a cliff-hanger.
Author Jennifer Lynn Barnes is no stranger to YA fiction, but this is a new direction for her, and one I hope she continues on. Hint: a sequel, please?
This book is great for any teen, and any adult who wants an evening of sitting on the edge of your seat, holding your breath and tearing through the pages. It is not relaxing.
The Fixer is published by Bloomsbury.