Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: The Fixer

The Fixer #1
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Young Adult/Mystery
384 pages
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

The Fixer is a perfect blend of humor and gravity, the world of political intrigue Tess is drawn into proving to be a deadly one, but through it all we’re treated to banter between her and her new friends to make sure the weight of all that Tess faces doesn’t grow too heavy. Ms. Barnes also manages to give us teenage sleuths who play by the rules for the most part, making smart choices and sharing pertinent information with one another as well as people in a realistic position to help, thereby completely eliminating the need to suspend disbelief. Instead, we get to easily settle in with Tess as she uses all the resources at her disposal to put the pieces of an ever-expanding political conspiracy together.

Tess is easy to like from page one, her love for her ailing grandfather and her fear that someone will find out just how fast he’s declining palpable, but instead of throwing a fit when her sister intervenes and takes her away from everything she knows, she handles her anger and disappointment with maturity. It’s not to say Tess is without flaws, after all a perfect character would be a bit of a bore, but she makes–if we're being brutally honest–the same choices we can see ourselves making at every turn, even when those choices are ones that land her in hot water with family, friends or school authorities.

One of the many highlights of this tale is Ms. Barnes’s sense of humor, the witty repartee between Tess and resident troublemaker Asher making us laugh out loud as insults are hurled back and forth before bouncing harmlessly off the other person’s shield of sarcasm. While there are two boys in Tess’s orbit, there’s only the barest hint of a possible romance as the story progresses, and a love triangle doesn’t even come close to entering the picture. Tess’s journey from Montana farm girl to D.C. fixer is at the forefront the entire time, keeping us guessing as we try and sort through all the political lies along with her.

Overall, The Fixer is a hugely entertaining first installment, weaving a complex mystery and giving us a cast of characters we won’t soon forget. We’re left in a satisfying place, a few cogs in the political machine revealed and a few answers brought to light, but the larger picture still hovers just out of reach to tease us into picking up future books. I personally can’t wait to see what Ms. Barnes has in store for Tess and company moving forward.

Rating: 4/5

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This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion. 


  1. It's nice to have a good character like Tess that you can appreciate like that. Thanks for the review, I didn't know about this one.

  2. I think JLB wrote another book I read and liked, but it was paranormal. Pretty sure. This looks good too, and humor is a huge selling point for me.

  3. Yay! I loved this, in fact I love all her books so I'm exited that you liked this as every bit as much as I did. :D

  4. I've always enjoyed her books and how easily I breeze through them. This is exactly the type of thing I need during this heat wave: entertaining and not too demanding. I remember reading Ali's review and being determined to read this, but now you've pushed me straight to Audible for my copy. Ahh, beach, here I come.

  5. Fantastic review, Jenny! I am so glad you like this one. I have been really curious about it. I love a good story with political intrigue, so this one seems right up my alley. I am pleasantly surprised to hear that it has humor in it...even better! I love when books make me laugh out loud. This book also reminds me of of my favorite TV shows!

  6. Wow. Montana farm girl to DC fixer. That's a change that would be fun reading. Lots of culture shock, I'm sure.

  7. I've heard nothing but good things about this book, Jenny so I'm really happy to see so much praise coming from you as well. I'm intrigued by the concept, but I have to say the humor that you mention together with the growing friendships are what makes me want to read it sooner than later.
    Lovely review, Jenny! I'll have to push this one up my TBR!

  8. Woohoo! I haven't read anything by Ms. Barnes, but I've been hearing fabulous things about her new book. It looks like it was a success! The banter in THE FIXER seems so fun and a huge part of the story, which I don't mind at all. It's great that the story ends on a such a good note - just enough that you're curious for more. So glad you enjoyed this one, I'll have to pick it up soon! Fabulous review, Jenny!

  9. I still need to read this author. Looks like there is another series of hers I need to devour. I love the sound of humor in this book and that is what really sold me. I think I am in need of a good laugh. Yea, this sounds like a book for me!

  10. I am too sleepy to think, but still, sounds good

  11. I have read a couple of books by this author, adn she always manages to capture my attention. I think i need to try this one.

  12. I have seen this book everywhere. Absolutely, everywhere. So i'm not surprised you enjoyed it! I still haven't read anything by this author but i'm debating starting with this book, since i'm a true mystery lover fan.

  13. Hmmmm, I had mostly ignored this one so far, because for some reason neither title nor cover were appealing to be BUT after reading your review... I know I need to give it a try for sure Jenny! Romance in the background, no love triangle and a heroine that is flawed but relatable and no suspension of belief? Heck yes!!

  14. Lovely review, Jenny! This sounds like a great read with the humor and sleuthing adventure in it. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I have this on my tbr list for sure :)

  15. Great review! I've heard good things about this one, and want to read it!

  16. Jennifer does this so well! I've enjoyed a few of her work in the same vein. Great review, Jenny!

  17. I haven't read a Barnes novel in a reallyyyy long time so thanks for putting her back on my radar, Jenny! I haven't heard much about this one at all but you've already convinced me it's worth a shot. Fabulous review, dear!

  18. I haven't read anything by this author before but I've always been a huge mystery fan thanks to Nancy Drew. Mysteries have also picked up popularity in my school so I'll look to put this on my order list.

  19. I love that there is humor weaved into the mystery, and I am glad you enjoyed this one Jenny. Everyone seems to be enjoying this one!

  20. YAY! I am glad to see you enjoyed this one too, Jenny!! :)

    I think you pretty much nail Tess's character. I love how she handles things with maturity. She makes some questionable decisions but when you put them in context, they aren't as questionable and many of us would have similar reactions.

    There is so much this book has going for it and while I haven't heard anything about it being a series, I REALLY hope there are future instalments because I am really curious about where things will go.

    Fantastic review! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  21. Great review and I am so glad Tess is likeable, there are far too many books that have really obnoxious female leads! Will definitely check this out!

    Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings

  22. I REALLY liked this one. The banter was great and I loved seeing the sisters' relationship develop. Plus, how cool was the premise?