Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Tess Kendrick is used to keeping secrets, and she's used to working hard to stay under the radar.  When she steps in to help a classmate she has no idea that her world is going to be turned completely upside down.  After years of practically ignoring her, Tess's older sister Ivy has come to take her back to Washington DC - and because she is only sixteen Tess has no option but to do what she is told, just don't expect her to be happy about it.  Ivy seems to be making an effort to help her settle in, but so much about Ivy and her life are secret and secretive.  When Tess starts at the elite and exclusive Hardwicke School, she quickly discovers that Ivy is a living legend among her fellow students and their parents - Ivy is a Fixer.

When Tess follows her gut and helps another student she has no idea that she is about to create a new legend - the legend of Tess Kendrick, Fixer.  Suddenly people are coming to Tess and asking her for help, requests that range from mundane to the bizarre.  It seems like a rather bemusing situation, until Tess finds herself caught up in a conspiracy about murders, secrets, and the White House.  It is hard to deny you are a Fixer when you seem to be in the right place at the right time, and when you seem to know just what to do to get what you want.  Tess is determined to stand by her friends, even if it places her at odds with Ivy.  As Tess and her friends learn more about the conspiracy the more Ivy tries to warn her off the case - and Tess really should have listed to Ivy, as the consequences can be fatal.

I have to confess that I am something of a fangirl for Barnes and her books - they are action packed, character driven, and have some amazing little twists and turns to keep you guessing.  The Fixer is no exception, an engaging and believable romp through a world where you have to keep your eyes open and be careful what you wish for!  There have been several books in the past year or so that have tried to bring the political world into teen hands, but they have failed to hook the reader and breath believable life into their world.  The most alarming thing about The Fixer is that it is all too easy to imagine that there is a Tess and Ivy Kendrick out there - and if you have been raised on a diet of American conspiracy theories then it goes from probable to likely!

Barnes is a master at creating repeatable and believable characters that are both very grounded and larger than life at the same time.  She has also managed to make the cross over from fantasy/horror to thriller with grace and style.  Barnes uses short chapters and action sequences to build the tension and mystery, giving you hints and clues to help you figure out what is coming next - it is a bit of a challenge to try and figure it all out before she finally gives you the answer.  While Tess is the main character and there is plenty of relationship building, this is a book that will appeal to a wide range of readers.  This is the first book in a new series and I now have the unpleasant wait for the next book in the series so we can find out what is next for Tess and her family.

If you like this book then try:
  • I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
  • Acceleration by Graham McNamee
  • Hate list by Jennifer Brown
  • The conspiracy of us by Maggie Hall
  • Guy Langman, crime scene procrastinator by Josh Berk
  • A girl named Digit by Annabel Monahgan
  • The Christopher killer by Alane Ferguson
  • Nickel plated by Aric Davis
  • Dead to you by Lisa McMann
  • Crime seen by Jenny Pausacker
  • Burning blue by Paul Griffin
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Such a pretty girl by Laura Wiess
  • Living dead girl by Elizabeth Scott

Reviewed by Brilla

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