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Book Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: The Fixer

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: The Fixer #1

Genre: Teen Fiction

Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

The Overview: 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. -Goodreads

The Review:

I can’t get enough of Jennifer Lynn Barnes! Her books are smart, engaging, and so well constructed that she’ll always have your brain reeling. I read The Fixer (The Fixer series #1) with the hope that it would help hold me over for when Bad Blood (The Naturals series #4) comes out November 1st. And you know what? The Fixer completely satisfied my crime novel craving!

While The Naturals series is a YA version of the show Criminal Minds, The Fixer series is very reminiscent of Scandal (which I love). Tess, the main character, is thrust into a world of intrigue when she’s forced to move in with her “fixer” sister in Washington DC. Her involvement starts out minimal, but soon grows into something of epic proportions. The book has excellent momentum and pacing, and I found it super difficult to put down!

Part of that addictiveness comes from how well it’s written. Barnes is one smart cookie. With advanced degrees in psychology from Yale University, her smarts really translate to her stories – they are written brilliantly! She weaves such a compelling mystery that I spend the entire book analyzing every character to try to figure out whodunit. Barnes is so good at misdirection that I haven’t been right yet, but the beauty is that in hindsight all the clues were there to figure it out. I’ve never casually read a Barnes book and am always totally engaged/engrossed/enamored the whole way through.

The mystery was the funnest element of The Fixer, but I also loved the characters. If I’m honest, they were slightly more animated than real people, but that only made me like them more. One character in particular, Asher, had me busting a gut left and right.

Overall Jennifer Lynn Barnes is one of my top authors and current favorite to recommend. The Fixer is just one more example why I think she’s so brilliant.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

all inTitle: All In

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: The Naturals #2

Genre: Teen Fiction

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: Three casinos. Three bodies. Three days. After a string of brutal murders in Las Vegas, Cassie Hobbes and the Naturals are called in to investigate. But even with the team’s unique profiling talents, these murders seem baffling: unlike many serial killers, this one uses different methods every time. All of the victims were killed in public, yet the killer does not show up on any tape. And each victim has a string of numbers tattooed on their wrist. Hidden in the numbers is a code—and the closer the Naturals come to unraveling the mystery, the more perilous the case becomes. Meanwhile, Cassie is dealing with an equally dangerous and much more painful mystery. For the first time in years, there’s been a break in her mother’s case. As personal issues and tensions between the team mount, Cassie and the Naturals will be faced with impossible odds—and impossible choices. -Goodreads

The Review:

The Naturals Series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes might be my favorite YA series of all time. I devour each new book with a passion I don’t experience often with books, having read so many. Here are just a couple of the many reasons why I LOVE it:

The concept!! The series revolves around teens who are ridiculously talented in certain areas useful to crime solving (emotion-gadgers, statistical-analysists, lie-detectors, and so on). What I love is that these talents are totally feasible (albeit rare), so it feels like reading about real-world superheroes. It fascinated me to no end to see their analytical skills put to the test. My favorite was probably Sloane – the statistician. She’s really quirky and endearing, but also incredibly smart, using numbers and statistics to predict where the killer would strike next, deciphering commonalities for whom the killer might target, and analyzing things like security camera footage to pinpoint criminals based on trajectory and all sorts of other complicated math that I only half pretend understand (;P). All In gave Sloane more of a spotlight and it was awesome to get to know her even better.

Basically, take these cool characters with cool talents and add to that a complex mystery, and I’m in love.

As if it wasn’t fun enough reading about these super talents, the mystery within each novel is what I think really draws me in. It’s nothing like those old Nancy Drew novels where the criminal is always the nicest persona in the book. In the Naturals series, the killer could literally be anyone, and Barnes does a masterful job of incorporating a lot of plausible misdirection to keep you guessing. When I read these novels, I always have SO MANY THEORIES about who the killer could be. And each new chapter gets me that much closer to figuring it out. It’s seriously the most engaged I’ve ever been in a book, making it also one of the funnest books I’ve ever read. Additionally, each book gets more complex without also getting more convoluted. There’s a different mystery in each novel, but they are all tied together by one big story arc (that’s also a complex mystery) which has gained so much momentum that I’m absolutely DYING to read Bad Blood (the final book in the series) which comes out November 1, 2016.

In fact, I think the reason I loved All In in particular was that it did an excellent job advancing the overall story arc while still giving me a killer mystery to help solve (I say “help” ironically… I didn’t do shit). All In also delved into a bit more background of The Naturals (the characters, as that’s how they refer to themselves) and you start to see even more how they ended up with such honed talents. Ugh, I really can’t say much more than that without dipping into spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that.

Overall, for any of you Criminal Minds fans out there, this is the series for you! This is one of my favorite books to recommend because 1) I love geeking out about it 2) it’s one of the most engaging books I’ve ever read and 3) I think it appeals to a wide range of readers. I call a lot of things my favorite, but I really, really mean it this time, haha. :)

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by Niki Hawkes