Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Blog Tour: Escape Theory by Margaux Froley (Review!)

Today, I'm happy to be part of the blog tour for Margaux Froley's Escape Theory. So without a further ado, my review...

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher:
Sixteen-year-old Devon Mackintosh has always felt like an outsider at Keaton, the prestigious California boarding school perched above the Pacific. As long as she’s not fitting in, Devon figures she might as well pad her application to Stanford’s psych program. So junior year, she decides to become a peer counselor, a de facto therapist for students in crisis. At first, it seems like it will be an easy fly-on-the- wall gig, but her expectations are turned upside down when Jason Hutchins (a.k.a. “Hutch”), one of the Keaton’s most popular students, commits suicide.

Devon dives into her new role providing support for Hutch’s friends, but she’s haunted by her own attachment to him. The two shared an extraordinary night during their first week freshman year; it was the only time at Keaton when she felt like someone else really understood her. As the secrets and confessions pile up in her sessions, Devon comes to a startling conclusion: Hutch couldn't have taken his own life. Bound by her oath of confidentiality—and tortured by her unrequited love—Devon embarks on a solitary mission to get to the bottom of Hutch's death, and the stakes are higher than she ever could have imagined.
Review:

I've been meaning to read more mysteries lately, so I thought that Margaux Froley's Escape Theory, the start to a new series by SoHo Press, would be a great place to start. I loved the sound of the plot, and it's hard for me to pass up a book that has a boarding school setting. Luckily, Escape Theory managed to be a solid debut.

Escape Theory starts the story of Devon Mackintosh, a junior at Keaton and an aspiring psychologist. Those two aspects combined are what got her landed her a job as a peer consular, her first official shot at being a psychologist. Devon thinks it will be the perfect gig. She's never felt that connected to the majority of her class at Keaton, so listening to their problems with no bias should be easy. However, there's one problem to this plan: the suicide of Jason Hutchins, one of Keaton's most liked students. Suddenly, she's initiated with requests to help students affected by Jason's death, mainly Jason's girlfriend and best friend. Should be easy, right? Nope, because Devon has a surprising connection to Hutch, one that stretches back to Freshman year. She hopes this slight problem won't hinder her professionalism, but she knows it will....What happens, though, when she finds out that Hutch's death isn't as clear cut as everyone thought? Only time and more pages can tell!

First, I have to get something off my chest: I had the hardest of times connecting with and really even liking Devon throughout this one. From the first page, I found her to be dry and unemotional, especially when it came to the incredibly important aspect of this book: her tie to Hutch. However, as the book progressed, Devon begin to loosen up, thankfully, and I started to like her a bit more, but still, I felt she was a bit of an ice queen even then. I did love some of the other characters from the get go, though. One of those characters was Hutch. He was a complicated guy to see the least, but to see him through Devon's flashbacks made me see it really was a good guy....a little broken but nice as well as deep to say the least. I also loved the addition of Raven and her brother as well as Chloe. All three had a lot to do with the mystery part of this book as well as with Devon's transformation.

The plot of this book, though, was what really saved it for me when it was going downhill with Devon. I was instantly charmed with the boarding school setting, and how Margaux used it to further plot. Plus I just love the descriptions of it....ahh boarding school just seems like it would be such an interesting experience. The mystery surrounding Hutch's suicide was what really had me hooked though. Margaux did such a great job of laying out all the clues piece by piece, and while it was a little slow going in the start, it managed to increase in intrigue and speed by the end. The addition of Devon's peer counseling was also interesting. I took a psychology class last semester, so to see the different practices in work was always fun. Plus, it explained some parts of Devon's personality. The ending, though, was what I loved the most. It was enjoyable to see all the pieces come together, and I have to admit, the little last piece of freshmen year had me tearing up a little.

In all, even with its few slight problems, Escape Theory is still a book I highly suggest to fans of mystery. I'm not going to lie: it takes a little while to get going, and sometimes you just want to through it across the room, but by the end, it ends up being worth it, in my opinion.

Grade: B 

Escape Theory (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads) is now out! 

Source: ARC provided by publisher

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About the Author:
Margaux Froley is a Southern California native and a boarding school grad. She spent the last few years working her way through the Hollywood ranks to become a television writer on CW's Privileged. She then moved to New York to become a development executive at MTV Networks. Escape Theory is her first novel.
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