July 22, 2013

Prep School Confidential Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


Prep School Confidential (Prep School Confidential #1)

Author: Kara Taylor

Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Buy Link: Amazon


In this breathtaking debut that reads like Gossip Girl crossed with Twin Peaks, a Queen Bee at a blue-blooded New England prep school stumbles into a murder mystery.

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn't care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

When I wake up the next morning, I know something is seriously wrong, because I smell bacon. Mom banned bacon from our kitchen after we watched Babe one night and she had one of her mini-meltdowns about how nothing in life is fair.

The smell gets closer, then there's a knock on the door.

"Annie? Can I come in?"

"Sure, Mom." I sit up in bed, double-checking that my phone is concealed by the mass of pillows.

She opens the door all the way and then just hangs outside. She has a tray balanced on one arm, and it looks like there's fresh fruit and whole wheat toast on it as well as the bacon and eggs. "Are you hungry?"

My mother made me breakfast, even though she and Dad wouldn't talk to me last night. The last time Mom made breakfast for me was when I had chicken pox in elementary school. She made banana chocolate-chip pancakes with a smiley face drawn on them in whipped cream.

I need to know what the catch is here and whether it's worth bacon as a peace offering. Mom rests the tray on my lap, sits on the edge of the bed, and looks around my room like she's surprised I no longer have a Hello Kitty poster on my wall.

"How did you sleep?" Mom watches me with bloodshot eyes, but she's not trying to make me feel guilty. She's actually concerned.

"Okay. Do you and Daddy hate me?"

"Oh, sweetheart, stop it," she says. "We're just...very disappointed."

I don't say it, but I think that's worse, actually. I take an apprehensive bite of the bacon.

"Anne, I have to tell you something." Mom puts her hand on the comforter over my knee, but she's leaning away from me at the same time. "Daddy and I talked last night about how to handle this...and we're not sure going to another school here in the city is  the best option for you."

It's suddenly hard to swallow. "Then where am I supposed to go?"

"Your father knows someone who was able to get you into a new school." Mom looks uncomfortable. "You start in a few days. It's a boarding school."

I almost gag. "You've got to be kidding me. Boarding school?"

So my parents are dealing with their embarassment over the fire by sending me to some boarding school God knows where. What if it's in Siberia? Or even worse, New Jersey?!

"Anne, the Wheatley School is very prestigious. This will be great for you."

I perk up a bit. "Wheatley? Is that in England or something?" I see an image of myself wearing Burberry outside Buckingham Palace, just waiting for Prince William to notice me as he takes his morning walk. Some lady at Lord & Taylor did tell me once I look like Princess Kate.

Mom purses her lips. "Not that Wheatley. It's right outside of Boston."

I feel like I've hit my head.

"Boston?" I wail. "BOSTON?!"

"Oh, come on. You've been there before and like it. Boston has a lot of history."

I push the breakfast tray aside and flop back onto my back. "Do you know what they call people from Boston, Mom? "Massholes." They're assholes, but they think they're special because they're from Massachusetts."

"Don't be crass, Anne," Mom snaps. "You don't have a choice in this. Your father already mailed out the security deposit and booked you a train for Sunday."

"What?!" My nose gets all prickly and stuffy like I'm about to cry. "You're just sending me away without letting me make this right?"

Mom's gray eyes are a little glassy now. "Honey, you'll thank us later. And I know you'll love Wheatley."

I sit up and bury my face on the shoulder of my mother's cardigan. "All my friends are here. Please don't make me go."

Mom decides to deal with my whining and pleading by pointing out Boston's best features, which, as far as I can tell, are limited to old men dressed in Revolutionary War uniforms roaming the streets and fewer people peeing in the middle of the subway. I want to shrink into a ball and hide in my nightstand drawer.

Mom leaves me with the now-cold eggs. I know my begging is futile for now; my parents are so embarassed about the fire that they're sending me somewhere where people will forget about me. I really have no choice but to go to Massachusetts.

Staying there is another story.
Prep School Confidential is the first book in a fun and exciting new young adult contemporary series that follows main character Anne Dowling as she is sent away to a boarding school outside of Boston  after she accidentally sets her private school in New York on fire. Her parents believe that the Wheatley School will be a good thing for Anne and that she will finally learn to behave herself. Meanwhile, Anne is dead set on making things even worse at the school so she won't have to stay. Things go from bad to worse when Anne's roommate Isabella's body is discovered in the woods surrounding the school. While everyone else is turning the other way, Anne makes it her duty to discover what really happened to Isabella - no matter what it takes or how many rules she has to break to do so. With the help of Isabella's twin brother and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne sets off to figure out the truth behind Isabella's death and learns a lot more about her roommate - and herself - than she bargained for.

This was a thrilling YA contemporary novel that involves a twisting murder mystery along with a coming of age story. The main character, Anne, was an interesting choice for a lead. I found her to be really rude, snotty, and downright bratty most of the time. She does experience some character growth in the novel as she discovers that her roommate wasn't who she thought she was - all while Anne begins to view herself and others in a different light as well. The story wasn't completely original, but I really liked the twists and turns mixed into the mystery of Isabella's death. It kept me guessing what really happened and I definitely liked the mystery part of the novel. The setting was a great place for the book to take place - even though it seems a bit overdone to have a death at a boarding school. The author kept things fun and original by mixing in some adventure, romance, and self discovery into the plot. I'm hoping that the next book in the series will expand on the characters and their histories, and that we will see more original content and character growth to help set it apart from the others in the genre. Overall, this was a fun and interesting first book in a series that has the potential to be great. Recommended for fans of YA contemporary fiction and mystery novels.
Kara has a BA in English/Secondary Education from Stony Brook University. She loves New Girl, sushi, and puppets that say rude things. It’s her dream to own a bakery someday.
Kara was inspired to start writing in part by her grandmother giving her Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and in part by her father’s bizarre antics, such as blow-drying his car. Her father looked like Borat in the 80′s.
Kara lives on Long Island with a Chihuahua named Izzy and a kitten named Felix. Her favorite authors are Gillian Flynn, Maureen Johnson, and Nelson Demille. She writes full-time, both on the PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL series and on an untitled television pilot for Warner Brothers Studios.

www.karamtaylor.com | twitter.com/@karataylor_

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  1. Good review & nice excerpt. Thanks for participating.

  2. Anne sounds like a fun and interesting character. This is sure to be a fun series. I am looking fowar to reading more

  3. Sounds like a great read. I'm excited.