Thursday, 28 November 2013
Review: Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: July 30th, 2013
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 could 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.
Prep School Confidential turned out to be completely different to what I was expecting. I thought it would be all about rich kids at a posh school breaking up and making up, but instead it's an intricately crafted murder mystery that has more in common with Nancy Drew than Gossip Girl. It's a great book nonetheless, one that kept me hooked and looking forward to reaching the end so I could find out the culprit was. I was surprised, to say the least!
Kara Taylor weaves a complicated story that begins just after Anne Dowling is sent away to Wheatley School (it's the Constance Billard of Boston). It's prestigious, it's expensive, and everyone appears to have something to hide. The shocking plot-twist happens almost instantly, with Anne's roommate, Isabella, being found dead not one week after Anne arrives at the school. This sets in motion a huge scale whodunit, with fingers pointing at everyone and no-one left off the possible suspect list.
Anne's character is one of strength and ingenuity. She's thrust into a whole new environment with people she doesn't know, yet she still makes it her mission to find Isabella's killer. She digs too much, uncovers things she shouldn't and puts herself in danger, all to find the answers to a stranger's murder. At times I thought she was too stupid, especially when it came to risking her life, but that's just who she is and the steps she feels are necessary for her to take.
Wheatley School itself has a rich history dating back decades. Scandals have rocked the campus for years, though none quite as worthy of press coverage as Isabella's untimely demise. The faculty are all seemingly upstanding citizens on the surface, but there's always that feeling that, if walls could talk, they'd have a lot to say about the board of employees. No-one can be trusted or relied upon, and that's a lesson Anne, and the reader, learn very quickly.
Prep School Confidential is an addictive read, one that will appeal to the Pretty Little Liars crowd who like books with a school setting and attention seeking spoilt rich kids vying for popularity. The second book in the series, Wicked Little Secrets, is due for publication in April 2014, and sees Anne caught up in a whole new tangle of lies and deceit. I can't wait to find out what new secrets will come to light!