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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"The Fixer: Fixer Series 1" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)





OVERVIEW: Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

FORMAT: The Fixer is the first book in a proposed YA series. It is a combination of contemporary fiction and political thriller. It is filled with lots of mystery and intrigue.

The Fixer was published July 7, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA. It stands at 384 pages.

ANALYSIS: Over the years, there are only a handful of books that I can say I instantly fell in love with from the moment I started reading. Sure, there are books that I grow to love or the series evolves in a way that makes it one of my favorites, but I'm talking about insta-love for a book. The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is my insta-love book for 2015, at least so far.

I was perhaps 15 pages into The Fixer and I knew drawn in. The style of writing, character development, mystery, and pace all had me drawn to this book within such a short period of time. There was a small part of me that worried that because I loved the book so quickly, I would be disappointed by the end. Luckily, that did not happen.

The Fixer had a number of things that I truly enjoyed. First, was the ability Jennifer Lynn Barnes has of creating detailed, relatable characters throughout the entire novel. There are so many characters thrown into the mix that it could quickly become overwhelming to readers, but it doesn't. Every character is unique, every character is developed and every character has a bit of a mysterious aura to them.

Tess, our main character, isn't the warmest, most likeable individual at first, but her running commentary of the situation and voice really make the story. She is relatable and readers will quickly feel a kinship to her within the first few pages.

Another aspect that I enjoyed was the plot development. It can be very tempting, when writing thrillers, to go with the same old, same old mentality. The Fixer doesn't really do that. There are plot elements that once I finished the book, I realized I should have seen coming, but there were definite twists and turns that shocked me. It just felt refreshing to have the somewhat unpredictable nature of the book play out in front of me.

And of course, there is the lack of a romance. There are hints of a possible romance to come, but for the most part this entire book revolves around uncovering a government conspiracy, working through people's lies and sorting out your own family secrets/problems.

I am not one that typically gravitates towards political thrills, but The Fixer was a hit and one of my top reads for 2015. It is detailed, but not so complex that the reader is lost. It was a quick, satisfying read that leaves me waiting anxiously for the next book in the series.

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