by Kara Taylor
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.
I love me a good mystery. The only thing I love better than a good mystery is one set at a boarding school. Private, Privilege…I ate those series up. There’s something about an insular environment like boarding school, a new girl coming into the scene, rich, spoiled kids who are used to getting away with everything, and of course, murder that reals me right in. It’s a scene I’m familiar with: I went to private school for years…home of some of the children of North Texas’ “modern royalty” (Gossip Girl episode reference), so I love meeting characters who remind me of people I knew/know. With Kara Taylor’s Prep School Confidential, it was no different. Well, except it was a bit less “gossipy/mean girly” than other similar series, which was a great thing. I love my Gossip Girl, but one can only take so much.
Why’d I connect with it so well?
One word, or name… Anne. That girl is a rockstar. Sometimes she was so annoying because the mistakes she made I was like, “NOOOO, how did you not see that coming?!?!” But of course, that only made me want to keep reading. Haha, you should’ve seen me. Actually, nope. I take that back. I was a mess. Giggling, yelling, pulling out my hair, trying to figure everything out myself. Argh, so wonderful. (hehe) There was this one part that included something from Dante’s Inferno, which is one of my favorite books (read it in tenth grade English…fell in love #totalnerdhere). I was so excited when I figured it out before Anne did, I was also surprised she hadn’t read it in her NYC prep school though but alas, I was still in love.
Oh and ze boys were wonderful. I’m just going to stop there because I don’t want to give anything away but yeah, so great.
Taylor handled everything extremely well. By the time I got to the ending I was like hmmm, too perfect? But NO. Also, there’s a excerpt from the next book in the series and let me tell you, I knew it! The key thing I’ve learned from my boarding school mystery obsession is that nothing is how you think it is and if it seems too perfect, it is 😉
Just go get the book now. I don’t know how I was able to put it down and do seemingly-not-so-yet-very-important-things, like sleep.
Prep School Confidential was believable. Though, like I stated, there were times I was like, “Anne, come on girl, get in the game!” because I was so shocked she hadn’t been more careful/noticed that/etc… had she, it wouldn’t have been as believable that she was a teen sleuth. Me, being on the outside, it was easier for me to see more details, however I can only imagine, and trust me, I did, what it would be like to actually be in the middle of the action.
Kudos to Taylor and Anne! See, fellow writers, this is a lesson in not following the trends. Write the story that speaks to you. Yeah, Dystopian & Sci-Fi is crazy popular now but it’s for that reason that even a Dystopian, Sci-Fi lifelong nerd like myself, can get tired of those genres. Which is why when I saw this book on NetGalley I was like, “I’m in, baby.” Plus it was all over my Twitterfeed months before it came out (and my feed is 80% pub. industry professionals + writer friends so that’s a sign of a stellar book). I need to remember to get the Paperback of it so I can add it to my (overflowing) bookshelf.
Be bold, be brave… keep calm & call Anne Dowling (this would be a really cool t-shirt, btw).
This is a 100% honest review. Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for the ARC 🙂
What’s a good non-dystopian or sci-fi book you’ve read lately?