Synopsis ~ Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s Montana ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power, 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.
The Fixer has been described as a mashup of Scandal and Veronica Mars and after reading it I have to agree. Tess has lost both her parents so she’s been raised by her grandfather. When it’s discovered he’s suffering from Alzheimer’s, her older sister Ivy swoops in and brings her to live in D.C. The sisters have never been close and there’s a lot of emotional baggage between them. On her very first day of school, Tess unintentionally becomes a Fixer. It’s not something she wants. Indeed, she does everything she can to stay away from other people’s problems, but somehow trouble finds her anyway. When the grandfather of a classmate dies unexpectedly, Tess is reluctantly talked into investigating, and to her surprise, she discovers that there is something sinister going on which involves some highly placed people in the government.
I know I mention plot twists quite frequently, but there’s nothing like them when they’re done well. This book is basically one enormous plot twist! Just when I thought I had the villain, motive, etc. figured out, the story would go in a completely different direction. Jennifer Lynn Barnes does a fantastic job piling on the surprises. And the peek into politics and all the attached power plays, backstabbing, and hidden secrets is delicious.
Tess is a fantastic heroine. She’s smart, loyal, and passionate about what she believes in. She also has a sassy sense of humor which is quite enjoyable. That’s not to say she doesn’t make mistakes, especially when it comes to her sister Ivy. After their parents died, Tess wanted nothing more than to be with her sister, but despite promising they’d be together, Ivy mysteriously changes her mind. Because of this there’s a layer of suspicion and distrust between the two sisters that winds up putting both their lives in danger.
The secondary characters are equally important. Tess wouldn’t be successful in her endeavours without her Scooby gang of Vivvie, Henry and Asher. They all have their strengths which compliment Tess’s and the solving of this mystery takes all of them working together. Despite the book’s description, there is no love triangle, at least none that involve Tess. There’s actually no romance at all, which with everything going on in the story, I think was a wise decision on the part of the author. I honestly think it would have been a distraction.
The ending neatly ties everything up, yet makes it apparent that this is going to be a series. Because of the way the characters are written, I definitely want to read more about them. No, The Fixer doesn’t feature the most realistic plot or characters, but it’s so much fun you just have to leave your scepticism at the door.