My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: February 5th, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, Drama, Romance, Manipulation, Secrets
This is the kind of mysterious book that you dive into not knowing what’s waiting for you and the kind you close in a completely different state of mind than your initial one. Even if you think you know what’s going to happen, I recommend putting everything you think you know aside because the author has plenty of twists and turns planned for you and it’s honestly pointless to try to guess any of it because you will most likely be wrong. Besides, it’s always more fun to be surprised or shocked than proven right.
What I like most about this story isn’t even the boarding school component, and I’ve mentioned multiple times that I absolutely am head over heels for boarding school environments, especially secret and mysterious ones like Vale Hall. But the thing is that the students attending this school do most of their work outside of it so they actually spend little time in classes or they do but the author’s focus is on the assignments. Regardless, let’s return to this book’s best aspect, which is its writing.
Kristen Simmons is a very eloquent writer. Some books have potential but are executed so poorly that you can’t help but feel disappointed and saddened by the result which should have been great. Kristen Simmons is an experienced writer and it shows. Every single sentence in this story has meaning and removing it may cause a hole in the chapter. I admit some scenes could have been removed, like some of the ones between Brynn and her love interest, seeing that I wanted more action instead, but the point remains that everything in this story is clear. Fascinatingly enough, although there’s nothing I didn’t understand, the author still managed to almost make me fall off my chair during at least five different occasions.
I adored the espionage vibe of this tale. If it weren’t for the exaggerated emphasis on drugs and the exaggerated amount of villains or bad guys, I would have given this book a higher rating because the heroine is one to root for and I found the whole idea of a private school that collects secrets fascinating. Perhaps the sequel will be different. Honestly, as long as there will be no more talk of drugs in every chapter or so, I’ll be very happy.
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