Book Review: ‘The Fixer’ by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


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 first time I read a novel by Jennifer Lynn Barnes was one year ago. I picked up The Naturals from the library and took it with me to my summer internship, where I started it during my lunch break. By the time I went to bed that night, I had finished it because I was so hooked. Barnes displays her ability to craft intriguing mysteries again in her newest novel, The Fixer.

The Fixer stars Tess Kendrick. Tess has spent most of her life living on a farm with her grandfather, who has recently developed Alzheimer’s, and ignoring her estranged sister Ivy. When Ivy discovers their grandfather’s medical problems, she swoops in and scoops Tess off to Washington, DC. Tess soon learns that her sister has become a “fixer” in DC, someone who solves problems for those who can pay the price. Her sister’s reputation haunts Tess, who is immediately expected to solve everyone’s problems at her new school, which also happens to be the home to children of some of the most powerful people in DC politics. Tess quickly falls into a scandal bigger than she expected, leading to an exciting and terrifying journey with new friends Vivvie and Asher.

Tess and the entire cast of characters are fantastic. Tess is entirely her own person, strong and independent, and not afraid to speak up for what’s right. Her friend Vivvie is going through a tough time herself and yet, when her friends need cheering up, she immediately offers up her go-to method of recapping her favorite horror movie and/or romance novel for them. Asher is that annoying boy who you just can’t get rid of but who you come to love so dearly. He stands by his friends through anything and also happens to love explosions. Any time Asher is on the page, there’s a good chance I’ve got a smile on my face. Tess views Ivy as the villain, but we come to learn so much more about her and their complicated relationship.

The mystery/thriller aspect of this story is so well-developed. The reader is kept guessing up to the very end, and there are some fantastic twists that you don’t see coming. There are so many clues and layers of the mystery that you have to unravel as you read, and I really enjoyed that the ending wasn’t predictable from the get-go. And just a tip: this is probably not the best book to read right before you go to bed.

Being from DC, I love how well Barnes captured what it’s like to live in this area, where you really can be going to school with kids of some pretty powerful people and drivers do have a tendency to be aggressive. The politics aren’t overwhelming, and yet they are such an important piece of the puzzle. The stakes that these teenagers are facing are incredibly high, and if something goes wrong, the consequences will be huge. It’s the perfect high-risk, high-rewards setting for this story.

The Fixer keeps you on your toes the entire time. It’s intriguing and heartbreaking and suspenseful and one you won’t be able to put down. Jennifer Lynn Barnes truly has a talent for crafting incredible mysteries and I’m already dying to read the next book in this series. If you like mysteries, do yourself a favor and check out The Fixer.

Rating: 9.5/10

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And come back to The Young Folks tomorrow, because we’re on the blog tour with an awesome interview with Ms. Jennifer Lynn Barnes herself!

Lauren is a 20-year-old student living in Northern Virginia. She loves to read YA books and watch movies. Lauren is passionate about many things, but reading has always been a huge part of her life. Ever since she first learned to read, her parents have always had to pry books out of her hands when it’s time for other commitments. Lauren loves everything from The Hunger Games and Divergent, to Percy Jackson, mysteries like State of the Onion, and other YA books, like The Fault in Our Stars, and is always eager to try a new book, author, or series. She also loves music, public health, Harry Potter, and the Washington Capitals. Follow her on Twitter: @LWengrovitz.