Title: Escape Theory
Author: Margaux Froley
Publisher: Soho Teen
Pages: Hardcover; 288
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Content Screening: Drug use, Mild Violence
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers that enjoy a good contemporary, shrouded in mystery, and are okay with a little grit in their reading.
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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.
My first thought upon finishing Escape Theory? Whoa. This book is like a runaway train and a wonderful soap opera mixed together. Friendship, secrets, scandal, it's all here and Margaux Froley has written a book that is hard to put down once you start. Be warned my friends, this is a book you'll read straight through in one sitting.
Devon has always been an observer. The one who watches rather than participates. The one who listens rather than speaks. After the death of Hutch she decides to put it to good use by becoming a counselor. I really liked this aspect of the story. It allowed Devon to dive deeper into the people who surrounded Hutch while he was alive, and therefore allowed me to slowly unravel the mystery. Oh, and what a gorgeously written mystery it was. You won't see the ending coming at all.
I'm getting ahead of myself though. Really, what kept me reading more than anything was the relationship between Devon and Hutch. This isn't a story of a girl who is utterly distraught over the death of her boyfriend. Instead, the relationship between these two is more complicated and yet infinitely more interesting. Devon is strong, but you can still see the cracks in her facade. It makes her more human and, in my opinion, more likable. The stakes are high for Devon as she tries to figure out what really happened the night Hutch died. I felt myself really connecting with her, and it made me love this book so much more.
When I said this book is like a soap opera, I meant it. It can feel a little over the top at times, but the characters are bright and vivid, the scenery perfect for a mystery of this magnitude. This is a story that you'll eat up from start to finish and, more than likely, your mouth will be hanging open at the ending. I adored Margeaux Froley's Escape Theory and I honestly can't wait for more.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.