Thursday, April 11, 2013

Escape Theory: A Keaton School Novel

During the first week of school, tragedy struck Keaton School as golden boy Jason Hutchins committed suicide.  Now peer counselor in training, Devon, not only has to resolve her feelings about the death, but also counsel other grieving students like his best friend, Matt, and former girlfriend, Isla.  But something doesn't ring true about this suicide.  Jason, or Hutch as his friends call him, was not known for drug use, yet he overdosed on Oxy.  He was seen stealing a pregnancy test earlier that day, but why?  And what if Devon had stopped to talk to him earlier that week when he called out to her, instead of waving and walking away?  Soon, Devon is flexing her detective muscles and trying to find out who could possibly want Hutch dead.

I talked about the pre-pub buzz on this book last week and seeing as how it took me nearly a week to finish this one, you might guess that I do not feel the same way as Octavia Spencer.  As a former peer counselor myself, let me tell you, it's nothing like Devon's experience.  She was acting like an actual counselor to her classmates and peers.  Normally, peer counselors are more like big sisters to younger students-high schoolers working with junior high students, or in rare cases, seniors working with freshmen.  Also, Devon was given way too much freedom, although it seems like too much freedom was a common theme in this book.  I didn't go to boarding school so I don't know what it's like but it seems to me like these high schoolers snuck around more than I did in college.

And what is going on with the barbed pet names between Devon and her best friend Presley?  Lindsey Whore-han, Drew Barry-whore, Barrack Ho-bama.  Really?  Maybe it is supposed to add some credibility to the book, maybe that's how teen girls talk when no one's looking but that honestly just made me want to slap Devon.

Speaking of slapping Devon, if she shared one perfect, beautiful night with Hutch freshmen year, why didn't it lead to anything?  What they just escaped from the kitchen and never saw each other again?  I understand that Devon is an outsider, an observer, at this school, but you make out with a guy and just don't acknowledge him anymore?  Weird, just weird.

I feel so mean about this book, but it didn't ring true, it didn't engage, and the killer was pretty obvious to me anyway.  I officially disagree with the book blurbs and the starred review in Publisher's Weekly, they are always too nice.  If you want an engaging tale about a girl detective, check out Also Known As and leave Escape Theory (what does that even mean?) behind.

Happy Reading!

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