When Politics Becomes Deadly And Teenagers Are On The Case - The Fixer (ARC review)

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Title: The Fixer (The Fixer #1)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: July 7th, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
“When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.'s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians' scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister's footsteps and becomes D.C.'s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens.

Secrets pile up as each sister lives a double life. . . . until their worlds come crashing together and Tess finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy with one of her classmates and a client of Ivy's. Suddenly, there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than Tess is willing to pay.”

RELATED: The Naturals // Nobody // The Squad // The Long Game

My Review

I say this all the time: I do not do contemporary novels. 

And yet, I find myself reading them more and more. 

I have read (and loved) nearly everything that Jennifer Lynn Barnes has written. Even when things happened in the books that left me utterly heartbroken and I knew there was no way to fix it, I still had faith in her writing. 

So when I saw The Fixer on NetGalley I couldn't click the request button fast enough. 

(Thank you Bloomsbury for approving me!)

I love snark. I love smart ass comments. I love sarcasm. (Unless it's directed at me, then we are going off to verbal war.) So I knew right from the start I was going to love this book.

After spending the last bit of her life trying to live without drawing outside attention to her family situation at home, Tess messed up big. Now her long lost sister Ivy was back, and taking control of her life. Tess was whisked away from the only parent she has even known, her grandfather, who was suffering from Alzheimer's and dropped into an unfamiliar world full of politics and power connections.
"I'd tell you that you can't stay mad forever, but I'm pretty sure you'd take that as a challenge." (Ivy to Tess, 5%)

Tess was a fun character.

I've never been in a situation like hers, but I know how it feels to be the adult in the situation where you should have just been able to be a kid. I also know how it feels to have a family member walk out on you and never looks back. Right away we were kin.

Tess was a strong character. She had so much in her life that was out of her control she could have easily just caved and let someone else be in charge. Even when she wanted to be left alone, even when she wanted nothing to do with her new situation, she came in threats a flying to the rescue of some nameless crying girl in the bathroom. 

At her new school for the children of the rich and powerful, she met many wonderful characters. 

"I know. This whole 'hey, new girl, go with the total stranger' thing is kind of cliche, but don't think of me as your school assigned buddy. Think of me as your travel guide to a strange and bewildering country, where the locals are always restless and the bathrooms are impossible to find." (Vivvie 9%)
Vivvie was one of those characters that just called attention to herself right from the start. She may have mentioned the go-with-a-stranger-cliche, but I knew right away she was going to take the best friend role. Cliche or not, you knew it was going to happen. But I wasn't expecting just how much I ended up loving their friendship. Because by the end of the book, you felt their relationship was real, and not a plot point.

If Vivvie just called attention to herself, then Asher just steamrolled over everyone.
"Go away, Asher." (Tess)
"You say go away, I hear be my bosom buddy." (Asher, 28%)
I loved him. 

Tess first met Asher while he was standing on the edge of a roof for whatever reason that basically boiled down to he was bored. But there was no way he was letting the exciting and fresh Tess walk out of his life, and there was no way I was going to let him walk out of mine. I was having way too much fun laughing to allow that to happen.

Asher's twin Emilia rolls into the Tess's life like a stereotypical mean girl with her two dutiful side kicks in toe. My first thought was "oh no." But Jennifer Lynn Barnes does a good job beating stereotypes because Emilia was awesome. She wasn't as great as her twin (I am sorry!) but even she made a comment that she wasn't the twin everyone turned to. 

Henry rounded out Tess's little squad, and he was fascinating in that mysterious what do you really want sort of way. I really liked getting to know him and watching him and Tess struggle to find out where they stood with each other.

From there we have Adam and Brodie who through various means, work with Ivy.  This trio was awesome. 

Adam was a soldier who had a long secretive history with Ivy. There was an even greater mystery with WHY Ivy no longer got along with Adam's father. And why, if there was a disagreement between the two, would Adam side against his own blood? I needed to know. 

Brodie was Ivy's driver. Her muscled driver, with sharp eyes, and a smart mouth. Her driver. Yeah, I believed that one too. 

Ivy walked out of her sister's life, and straight into her career. But when Tess needed her, she swept back into her life and set about fixing the problem. Just like how she might fix a senator's mishap or a lawyer's PR nightmare. Ivy did not really know how to play this role, and it showed sometimes. But Ivy tried and you really had to love her for that.

There may be a lot of big things going on in this story, but at it's heart it is about the characters. 

One of the biggest character driven issue was Tess and Ivy's relationship. Every time the two of them got together on the page I wanted them to talk. Whether is was about why Ivy left or how Tess felt then/feels now, it didn't matter as long as the story moved along and I got my answers.

They may have had a fragile relationship, but they were blood, and no one was going to come between them

There was no romance in this book. Oh, there was the start of a possible something, but kissy-kissy romance was not the focus of this book. And really, when people were running around with their lives at risk and no one was being one hundred percent truthful to anyone, romance should not be the first thing on any of their minds. 

Words To Live By

"Some memories were like scars. This one had never healed right. Just hearing Ivy talk about it ripped off the scab." (Tess 7%)

"Maybe I believed that, and maybe I didn't. With Ivy, it was always the maybes that hurt me most." (Tess 34%)

"Having your entire life rewritten in a heartbeat was an impossible thing." (Tess 77%)


I do not usually get a lot of ARCs, whether physical books or ebooks like The Fixer. Even less often do I find an ARC where I feel the need to run out and buy the book right away. The Fixer was one such book for me. I need to own this book.

If you are looking for a character driven book, with a fun plot full of danger and mystery, then I highly recommend this story. There was wonderful amounts of humor and snark to satisfy my craving. We blew through stereotypes and it kept me guessing, just who was behind the murders. There was even a plot twist that I did not see coming. (Even though looking back I made a sort of related to it comment to myself that should have clued me in on this twist's possibility.)

I highly recommend this book if you like contemporary YA stories. 


  1. Great review :) I had never heard of this book, but now I'm intrigued. (I don't do a lot of contemporary either). It sounds like a fun, well-executed book with an interesting premise.

    1. It had a lot going on which helped keep my mind from complaining that there were no dragons in it. XD If you pick it up, I hope you enjoy the book.

      Thank you for stopping by.


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