Review: Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

Pages: 304
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Series: Prep School Confidential #1
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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.

When Anne Dowling was kicked out of her prep school in New York's Upper East Side after she accidentally burned down part of the auditorium, her parents were quick to ship her to Wheatley School (a boarding school outside of Boston) despite her protests. Determined to get back to New York as soon as possible, Anne planned on keeping to herself and staying out of trouble. Making friends with headband-wearing girls and preppy boys at her new school was the last thing she wanted to do but the popular kids were intent on making her their new Queen Bee much to the annoyance of Alexis, the resident mean girl. And, she found herself getting close to her new roommate Isabella, a townie who was at Wheatley on a full scholarship.

Then, Isabella was found dead in the woods behind the school. With Wheatley School adamant in keeping its precious reputation pristine for its benefactors and no one in the student body wanted to talk and the police seeming to look in all the wrong places, Anne was determined to uncover the truth about her roommate's murder. But as Anne dug deeper she found that the faculty of Wheatley School has a lot to hide and Isabella might not be as innocent as she seemed. Good thing Anne has her cute classmate Brent and bad boy Anthony, Isabella's twin brother, to help her out.

Prep School Confidential was a solid debut. I thought it was well-written and there was never a dull moment, especially after Isabella's murder. The mystery was really well-done--it was very twisty with a lot of potential suspects because it seemed a lot of people have some motivation of killing Isabella. The mystery involved a lot secrets that needed to be uncovered, a web of lies that needed to be untangled, secret tunnels, lock picking and a lot of sneaking and snooping. I enjoyed trying to piece together the clues with Anne.

Anne herself was such a darling of a character. I really liked her. Trouble kind of follows her around and she's a bit of a screw up but she was smart, charming, tenacious and doesn't really let anything stop her from finding out who killed Isabella.

It was said in the description that this novel "reads" like Gossip Girl. Not so much--do not let that description dissuade you from picking up Prep School Confidential. I dislike the Gossip Girl books because of all the annoying rich brats and over the top mean girl behaviors, plus all the annoying brand name dropping. Yeah, there's hardly any of that in Prep School Confidential. Only Alexis, the Queen Bee wannabe mean girl, and her friends displayed some cattiness towards Anne but there was nothing over the top about their behavior. The other popular students were nice and friendly enough--they did seem to want to elevate Anne as their new Queen Bee though and I didn't quite understand their motivation behind that.

My biggest issue with Prep School Confidential was the love triangle. I'm not a fan of love triangles in general but the type in this novel was the most frustrating kind. Anne vacillated between preppy good boy Brent and motorcycle riding bad boy Anthony throughout the novel and couldn't settle on one over the other. Both guys had their faults but were equally dreamy for different reasons so I understand Anne's indecisiveness but it was still very frustrating! Urgh! Love triangles are so frustrating! There was no clear "winner" by the end of this book but I really hope the love triangle and Anne's whole I-can't-make-a-decision-because-they're-both-so-cute isn't dragged out through the entire series.

Overall, Prep School Confidential was a very entertaining read. I flew through the pages and stayed way past my bedtime because I couldn't stop reading. I loved working through the very tangled mystery along with Anne and, with the exception of her wishy-washy-ness when it came to the boys, I loved Anne's character. I highly recommend this book to fans of Nancy Drew mysteries, the Liar Society series (Roecker), Deadly Cool series (Halliday) and to those who like reading YA mysteries in general. I am really looking forward to reading book two, Wicked Little Secrets.


***Read my interview with Prep School Confidential author Kara Taylor here, in which she shares about her inspiration for Wheatley School, who she'd personally choose between Brent and Anthony and hints of what's to come in book 2.***

1 comment

  1. Glad to hear this isn't really like Gossip Girl as I hated myself even as I read every single book. I'm really looking forward to picking this up!


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