Series: Prep School Confidential # 1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on July 30, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
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.
Anne’s roommate, Isabella, is definitely not one of the cool kids. Isabella brings out Anne’s protective side, and the two girls are becoming friends when Isabella is murdered. Administrators at the school close rank, and students are strongly encouraged (or maybe threatened would be a better word) to not discuss the murder with anyone. But with Anne’s personality, if someone tries to close a door in her face, she will bulldoze right through it. As Anne fearlessly, and at times recklessly, investigates Isabella’s murder, she uncovers long-buried secrets and evidence of what may be a very dangerous conspiracy.
I loved Anne’s character from the beginning. It was clear that Kara Taylor had no interest in giving us a sparkly, unblemished heroine, and that was a big part of what made Anne such a captivating character. She could be rude and crude, but she has a great, biting sense of humor, and she’s easy to root for.
Prep School Confidential was much darker than I expected, based on the playful-looking cover. We get the answers to Isabella’s murder, and it’s not pretty, but I was so happy with the way the ending set up a brand-new mystery for Anne to tackle in the 2014 sequel, Wicked Little Secrets.
Check out my interview with Kara Taylor about Prep School Confidential here.
Note – I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Review posted at Goodreads.