The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Fixer. By Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Tess is living on her grandfather’s farm in Montana, trying to hide his condition (Alzheimer’s) from the public when her sister, Ivy, swoops in from DC, puts her grandpa in a home, and enrolls Tess in Hardwicke School, a private school mainly reserved for kids of the politically elite. Tess finds out her sister is a fixer and everyone at school expects Ivy to be too. Ivy doesn’t like bullies, but she doesn’t want to be like her sister. She wants nothing to do with her sister, since her sister hasn’t even talked to her in three years. When Tess’s new friend, Vivvie, doesn’t show up to school for a few days, Tess skips school to go check on her. Vivvie eventually confides that she knows about a major political conspiracy. Did I mention that Tess got a ride from Asher, resident bad boy, and he has overheard their conversation? The teenages quickly become embroiled in a dangerous mystery that they need to solve before another person gets hurt. And Ivy is livid about this.

Tess is an authentic, angry teenager who is also courageous and has a solid sense of ethics. This fast-paced political thriller will remind you of Scandal (Kerry Washington) with its action-packed plot twists, manipulative string-pulling, and emotionally intense family dramatics. Barnes masterfully pieces together the psychological components to make all characters necessary to the plot and believable. Readers will have a different relationship with each one. The intentions behind all of the characters’ actions are backed with solid psychology where the backstory and motives are revealed slowly and at just the right moment to knock your socks off. And the hijinks that the kids pull off to try and fix the problem are believable. (Yes, a teen would try to crash a high society party and make a show out of themselves to lure a bad guy.) I hope there’s a sequel because I already binge-watched Scandal.