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Mini Reviews: Wicked Little Secrets and Deadly Little Sins by Kara Taylor

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Wicked Little Secrets
Prep School Confidential #2, by Kara Taylor

Genre: Mystery, Crime   Paperback: 304 Pages
Publication: March 16, 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin

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.

While I loved Anne's over-the-top personality in Prep School Confidential, it didn't quite work for me in this one. I like to think that I just wasn't in the mood for it because I really loved it in book one. The bigger reason why Wicked Little Secrets didn't work for me is that I don't see good motivation for Anne to dig into the mystery surround Matthew Weaver's disappearance. For an YA mystery/crime novel, I understand that you have to be willing to suspend disbelief; however, there's only so much that I can suspend, and lack of sufficient character motivation doesn't help. Furthermore, Anne seems pretty wrapped up in her own mind much of the time, so even when other characters are around it's like they aren't really there. The lack of development of secondary characters was my primary source of frustration in the first book, and it's more present than ever. After reading the first several chapters, I ended up skimming the book to the end.

Deadly Little Sins
Prep School Confidential #3, by Kara Taylor

Genre: YA Mystery, Crime   Paperback: 288 Pages
Publication: August 5, 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin

It’s August and Anne is back in New York City for the summer, but she can’t escape the memories of the terrible things that happened at the Wheatley School last spring— and the possibility of being expelled looming over her. When an unexpected— and suspicious— turn of events gets Anne sent back to Wheatley, she’s determined to figure out what happened to her favorite teacher and only adult ally at the school: Ms. Cross.

After a shocking, gruesome murder with connections to the Wheatley School occurs, Anne is convinced there’s more to Ms. Cross’s sudden disappearance, and that her favorite teacher is in danger. But after an ugly breakup with Brent and a new, inexplicable distance between her and Anthony, Anne isn’t sure who she can trust. And even worse, someone at Wheatley knows the truth about what happened to Ms. Cross— someone who will stop at nothing to keep Anne from learning the truth in this engrossing, unputdownable read.

With each Prep School Confidential book, it's become increasingly difficult to suspend disbelief and accept a lot of Anne's actions. While her over-the-top personality was endearing in book one, in the later books her inability to keep from digging into things that pique her curiosity has become infuriating. It isn't until after the fact that she really seems to realize the consequences of her actions and how the people around her can suffer for them. For the most part, I found myself skimming this book.

While I didn't really like a lot of things in this book, I was curious to find out if Anne and Brent would make up or if they would part ways for good, and I was curious about what happened to Anne's favorite teacher. I do like how Anne realizes some of the things she's done and who she ends up choosing in the end (I never really like the sort of love triangle that spouted in the books). However, I find the ending questionable, and I'm also disappointed that Anne would pick that past. You'd think after all the harm she's caused to those she's cared about through her actions, she'd turn down the offer in order to spend more time with them and make up for lost time.

Additional Information
  1. Prep School Confidential
  2. Wicked Little Secrets
  3. Deadly Little Sins
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8 comments on "Mini Reviews: Wicked Little Secrets and Deadly Little Sins by Kara Taylor"
  1. Sometimes an over-the-top personality works better in a secondary character, as it can get overwhelming in the main character, especially in a series like this. Cute premise, though!

    1. Yeah. I loved the first book. It's a really cute read, but Anne's over-the-top personality wore off on me in the next books.

  2. I just finished a book with a character with a very strong personality and I agree -- as a reader you either click with that character or they drive you crazy!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. So true!! Anne's personality is either a hit or a miss.

  3. Over the top personalities are ones I struggle with too Kris. I am sorry these didn't work for you.

    1. Yeah, it's something that either has me adoring the character (like with Rose from the VA series) or wanting to pull my hair out, lol.

  4. It's too bad they get worse with each one. I think it's hard to balance a fun personality and not have it over the top. :(

    1. I agree, it requires a delicate balance between the two. I'd also add a connection with the reader. It seems like people either really love Anne or they get frustrated with her!


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