Anne Dowling becomes entangled in a web of secrets involving a missing student and a conspiracy at Wheatley Prep in this fast-paced, juicy follow-up to Prep School Confidential
Anne Dowling—a fresh, original, and funny new YA heroine whose knowing, irreverent voice will remind readers of Pretty Little Liars and Private—is back for her second semester at Wheatley Prep. Although things have settled (somewhat) since her roommate Isabella’s death, Anne’s still kind of obsessed with the disappearance of Wheatley student Matthew Weaver thirty years ago, since she found a picture of him and his crewmates with the words “they killed him” scrawled on the back among Isabella’s things.
When Anne learns that her boyfriend Brent’s dad is one of the now-powerful Wheatley alumni who rowed crew with Matthew, and that the crew team continues to induct new members with a creepy-sounding ritual called “The Drop,” she knows further investigation could put her relationship with Brent in danger. Determined to discover the truth, she reaches out to Anthony, Isabella’s townie brother, who helps her delve deeper into the secrets in Wheatley’s past. Secrets someone would kill to keep hidden. As the school’s Spring Formal—and its notorious afterparty—approaches, Anne sees the perfect opportunity to do some off-campus digging into the lives of Wheatley’s VIPs in this thrilling, unputdownable read—but if she’s not careful, she’ll be the next student who never comes back.
Kara Taylor one of my favourite 2013 debut authors. I loved Prep School Confidential and now I love Wicked Little Secrets,as well!
I’m going to get right into it. The book started off with a quick little reference to what happened in the first installment of this series, but it skimmed over it. While I always appreciate the lack of an in depth excessive summary, this time, it took me an extra beat to get back into the story. With a series like this, I feel like I needed to get a little longer overview of what happened a few weeks back in Anne’s world, just to re-familiarize myself with all the names.
That being said, I still found myself sucked into the book from the beginning. Sure, I sat there for a moment every now and then trying to remember Harrow and Upton, but seeing as those characters weren’t really important in this installment, remembering them would only clear up your memory of book one, not enlighten you on the clues that are dropped throughout this one.
As I mentioned previously, I really love the character development in this series. They change in such small and subtle ways, but it makes a big difference in the long run. I loved how Anne accepts her crazy, while those who once accepted it are wondering whether she might actually be crazy instead of an extremely clever teen detective. The only issue I have is the lying. I really wish book characters would just stop lying about everything. It’s really vexing. Aside from that, I can’t give away much without spoiling the book, so I’ll just leave it at this: no matter how much each character changed, I loved the way the story flowed and ran with the plot. No change was inconsequential and I appreciated that every little thing had meaning later on, if not in the moment.
The plot and mystery was extremely well done. This book had my heart pounding throughout; the suspense was killer. While there was one scene that I felt lacked some realism, the plot was, overall, believable and captivating. I really enjoy the way that Taylor can just spin readers and her characters around in circles, planting clues and making dead ends. I really like the dead ends. Though they make the book longer, I feel like every dead end helps make the whole mystery more realistic, and makes the story itself more interesting and shows Anne’s determination. And the end. THE FREAKING END. All the pieces just fell into place and it was perfect. It was dramatic, action packed, and slightly heart-breaking. The very end though clawed at my heart. I have to now wait for the third book. It’s inhumane really, leaving me with such an ending only to cut me off from the knowledge of what’s to come. Gah.
I am in love with this series and am now anticipating the finale to this trilogy, supposedly out in August. Amazing writing, great plot lines and ideas, and a fairly tolerable romance between characters. Kara Taylor is officially one of my favourite authors.
World Building: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.14/5
ARC obtained via St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.