Thursday, 2 July 2015

Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publication Date: July 7th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Length: 384 pages

Huge thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.
And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

I haven’t read a huge number of Jennifer Lynn Barnes books, but every single one I have picked up I have loved, and ‘The Fixer’ was no exception. In fact I would go so far as to say that this is the best book Barnes has written. It’s fast paced, tense, brilliantly plotted and filled with a whole host of intriguing characters.

I was complaining recently that I can’t seem to find a book where I don’t see the twists coming, so it was a breath of fresh air to be constantly kept on my toes with this story. I genuinely wasn’t sure who to trust, whose motives were pure, who could have done the terrible deeds, and actually gasped aloud at a couple of the reveals. It was deliciously sneaky and I loved the surprises and twists and being constantly kept guessing.

It also helps that the plot is brilliantly constructed. You’re given just enough time to get to know Tess, to begin to understand her and want to give her a massive hug, and then you’re thrown right in at the deep end with her, desperately trying to work out what’s happening and who you can trust. It’s relentless, giving a few lighter moments throughout, but on the whole really putting you through the wringer. I didn’t have the usual slump in the middle of the book, I burned through it, desperate to see how it would all end.

Tess is a fantastic protagonist, I really felt for her right from the first page. She’s grounded and practical and whilst she’s headstrong she isn’t an idiot – the perfect combination of a heroine who wants to get stuff done, but also realises that other people may be better equipped to deal with some situations.

She’s surrounded by a brilliant cast of characters, even those we didn’t get to spend much time with didn’t feel superfluous, they felt like real people who had lives away from Tess and her problems, but who were able to come in and help. I can’t wait to get to know some of them better and see how these relationships progress. It was refreshing though to see a plot that wasn’t hinged upon romance, in fact apart from a couple of brief glances, romance didn’t even play a tiny part in the story. So if you’re after a fast paced contemporary that isn’t bogged down in longing looks and will they won’t they moments, this is definitely a must read. Add to that the fact that the dialogue was also brilliant and the entire book was a winning combination. I am a rather huge fan of Asher and Tess and would quite happily have read a book entirely filled with their witty repartee. I frequently found myself laughing out loud, and they offered some great lighter moments in amongst the darkness of the rest of the plot.

This is by far the best book I’ve read by Barnes – fast paced, brilliantly written full of twists and turns and compelling characters, this is a great summer read, perfect for getting lost in the intrigues and politics of Washington D.C. and trying to work out who, if anyone, you can trust.


  1. YESSSSSSS. I LOVED this one. I already want to reread it. That stuff with Ivy? I would never have guessed. IT WAS BRILLIANT. (And I am very much holding out hope for Asher and Tess.) Fantastic review, Rosy!

    1. I KNOW! I was so surprised by it! And it's rare that a book surprises me with twists, so that was extra awesome! Gah ASHER AND TESS YES PLEASE. I mean I have serious worries that it's unlikely, but it would be so awesome! I would swoon, there would be fainting couches and smelling salts and FEELS.