Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor
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 couldn’t 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. (Goodreads)
Anne is a little on the naughty naughty side. She gets kicked out of her prep school for basically burning down part of the theater (Mom, Dad, I swear it wasn’t totally her fault). Not really knowing what to do with their kid, her parents send her to a super-prestigious boarding school in Boston. I’m not really seeing the punishment factor there, except that she’s away from home–family and friends–but Anne is an unhappy little camper about this change.
The Wheatley school is almost like a Stepford world. The students are all very perky with their matching headbands and preppy clothes. And the rumors about Anne burning down her school have followed her. The only person who seems genuinely trustworthy is her roommate, Isabella. But someone dislikes Isabella. During the first week of school her body is found in the woods just behind the school–somewhere virtually every student roams.
Now, Anne becomes a sort of Nancy Drew–you know, if Nancy Drew burned down schools and kisses hot guys who smoke–and tries to put together the puzzle of Isabella’s murder. Everyone is a suspect, from Isabella’s twin brother (which means Anne must make out with him immediately), the mean girl down the hall, to the various teachers and faculty who knew Isabella well. Someone at that school knows what happened and it becomes more and more obvious that, in an effort to save the school’s reputation, they’re covering it up.
What a fun, fun book! I could not put this one down. There are so many twists and turns here, so many times I thought I knew whodunnit when in actuality I was waaaay off base (so, what I’m saying is I have no future as a detective). Anne was a strong character who did dangerous, stupid things, but you have to love her for it. I liked her drive to solve Isabella’s murder. Considering she barely knew her, I there was such an intensity in her need to find justice. At the same time, I also really enjoyed the fact that there were questionable things about so many of the characters. Things that made you look twice and wonder if they could be trusted. Taylor did a fabulous job layering the story with questions, and tension. There were many twists, which, in real life probably wouldn’t seem as plausible, but it all fit well in this charming old school and in the world into which Anne has been thrust.
Crush Intensity: 4/5 This had a great pace that kept me turning the pages. As an added bonus, I love stories set in a boarding school. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Thank you to Net Galley and St. Martin’s for sharing an e-galley of Prep School Confidential with me.