The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes [ARC]

Tess has been trying to hide her grandfather’s Alzheimer’s from her sister, Ivy. Unfortunately, Ivy has found out anyway. Tess is yanked from the ranch where she used to live with her grandfather to her sister’s house in DC. Now she goes to a swanky new school populated by the children of the political elite. Everyone seems to be afraid of her sister, but Tess has no clue why until she’s told about her sister’s job. Apparently, Ivy is a fixer. Someone who will make any problem (situation or person) disappear.

I liked The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes pretty good so 22929578when I saw The Fixer on NetGalley, it was a no-brainer request. The premise was super intriguing to me. I thought it was going to be all about Tess following in her sister’s shoes (but not like…doing illegal things or anything). I was really excited to read about Tess “fixing” things for her high school classmates. Unfortunately, that isn’t really what this book is about. I was pretty disappointed that we really only see two instances of Tess doing any fixing. The book is mostly centered around another plot point–the possible murder of and conspiracy behind a chief justice’s death. This plot point was interesting too…but it almost seemed less realistic to me. Like, okay, that only ever happens in movies. Maybe it just felt a little far-fetched.

One thing I really liked about his book was no romance! There’s definitely something brewing between her and Henry, but we really haven’t seen anything come from it yet (maybe in the next book?) Honestly, when they introduced Asher, I was sure that he was going to be the love interest (and I was kind of rooting for it a little bit). But seriously, it was just so refreshing to have a book with no romance in it. A lot of times a good romance can contribute to a story, but sometimes it just feels like it gets thrown in there just because. No, thank you.

Another thing I liked was that the book got going right away. We meet Tess and then we’re off and running. Tess is a pretty likable character. The reader is definitely rooting for her and Ivy to work through their issues and become sisters again. I liked that both Tess and Ivy were independent, strong people. They definitely did not need men to save them–they could save themselves! Another thing I really liked was Tess’ vendetta against bullying. Preach it sister! I also thought Barnes did a good job of not making Tess too angsty. I feel that the level of angst present suited what was going on in Tess’ life. I’ve found that a lot of time authors make their female leads too angsty and it just makes them seem not confident and weak.

I did have a couple other issues with this book besides what I mentioned earlier…just as far as some realism goes. First, it seemed like Tess, Henry, and Asher were able to manipulate the adults in their lives far too easily. Teachers and the principal (or was it a headmaster or dean?) would try to crack down on them only to be foiled by some clever wording. No. That doesn’t happen. Secondly, it seemed like Tess was REALLY good at reading people through observation. How did she come to possess this talent? I think early on in the book it talked about her being able to read horse body language? Maybe that carried over into her being able to read human body language? Maybe, but we never really know because it’s not explained.

Overall, this book was pretty good and I did NOT see that twist coming. I liked it and will be reading any sequels that may come out. I enjoy reading books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes because they feel a little different from the YA books that I typically read. She writes mysteries and political thrillers and I find myself greatly enjoying them.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Moderate. A little gore.
Sexual Content: None
Smoking/Drinking: Mild

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.