Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor
Prep School Confidential #1
Published July 30th 2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Summary: In this breathtaking debut that reads like Gossip Girl crossed with Twin Peaks, a Queen Bee at a blue-blooded New England prep school stumbles into a murder mystery.
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.
Review: Leave all your Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars comparisons at the door. Okay, I admit, I partially did read it because of the Gossip Girl comparison (what can I say, my 14 year old self devoured each and every book). Prep School Confidential reads nothing like Gossip Girl.
I really enjoyed Anne’s transition from a bored misfit to such a strong female protagonist, determined to find the truth about what happened to her roommate Isabella. With each chapter, I find myself rooting for Anne more and more, liking her a lot more than I did at the start. Anne started off as your typical bratty teenager but quickly became likable after Isabella was found dead. She was determined to bring justice for her friend and I found her keeping tabs on the news feeds for Isabella’s murder case very heartwarming.
Anne doesn’t give up. Even in the face of danger and threats, she will do anything to find out who killed Isabella. One of my most favourite things about Anne is how she doesn’t whine – she cries occasionally when she’s shaken, but she never lets it stop her from unravelling the truth. Anne Dowling does not falter and that’s why I love her.
The plot as a whole wasn’t anything particularly new but Taylor does it in such a way that is absolutely divine. Everyone at Wheatley has a secret – especially the administration. Anne interacts with all these different people and we learn a lot of different things that leads back to one particular event. Taylor kept me in suspense; there was a lot of “who done it?!” and you’re kept on your toes. There were many times when I thought I knew who the killer was only to learn something else that didn’t fit. Taylor weaves all these little information and people together seamlessly in such an engaging manner.
This book was refreshing and entertaining from cover to cover. I enjoyed Anne as a main character and all the little characters in the book. I also enjoyed the love triangle, although I thought one of the relationships blossomed in a really odd way/wasn’t during an appropriate time. I liked that the love aspect wasn’t a big part of the book and it focused primarily on the murder.
Overall, this book was such a brilliant read. I wouldn’t have guessed that this was Kara Taylor’s debut book. I will definitely be picking up her next book when it comes out next year.