The Fixer (The Fixer #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.
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.
This book wasn’t what I thought it would be based on the description. Maybe because I’ve read (and loved) Barnes’ The Naturals series, but I was expecting some sort of super ability related to the fixing. There weren’t any. Ivy and Tess are normal humans. Ivy has connections to just about everyone in Washington, D.C. She knows secrets and is able to exploit them to make things disappear.
Tess hates bullies. She is stubborn and brave, and she stands up for what she believes in. She doesn’t really fix many problems for other people. But she and her new friends, Vivvie, Asher, and Henry, do get involved in a political conspiracy and take it upon themselves to get to the bottom of things.
Of course, things get out of hand. Everyone is in danger at some point. But Barnes’ is able to write this story without it seeming ridiculous and cliched. She adds others layers into the story that make it compelling. She hooks you in with her wonderful skill at characterization.
Tess has been raised by her grandfather after her parents died and her much older sister abandons her. When her grandfather develops Alzheimer’s, she successfully keeps it a secret for a year before her sister appears, summoned by her guidance counselor. Ivy takes her back to D.C. after setting the grandfather up in a treatment facility in Boston. Tess struggles with the anger she feels towards Ivy.
Ultimately, this is a story about family – the way we can be hurt most by the ones we love, the lengths we go to for those closest to our hearts. I love a good teen drama, but I love a story about sisters even more.
The supporting characters were terrific as well. There isn’t any romance (yet) between Tess and Henry or Asher, but Barnes’ has definitely set things up well for future books. There are even potential love interests for Ivy. I’m glad there wasn’t a romantic story line in this book. It would have diminished the family elements of this initial story.
I enjoyed the political aspects of the book as well. I breezed through this book in a matter of hours. I was sucked into the plot and desperate to know if everyone would make it through alive. The story wraps up fairly well at the end, while also leaving some things open for the next book.
I’ll be counting down to this sequel for sure.
Luckily, All In (The Naturals #3) comes out in November, and Barnes’ has many other books out already to keep me busy until then.
My Rating: 4 Stars
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