Barnes, Jennifer Lynn. The Long Game (The Fixer #2)
June 7th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
E ARC from Netgalley.com
After the events of The Fixer, Tess Kendrick (now also Keyes) is back at Hardwicke. Her friend Asher's sister, Emilia, asks Tess to help her run for study body president against John Thomas. Tess finally agrees, especially since the boy in question is the one who tried to ruin a freshman girl's life by taking compromising pictures of her and threatening to share them. When he repeats this with Emilia, making her look wasted on drugs or alcohol, the administration Strongly suggests that Emilia drops out. Tess is livid, and unearths information about John Thomas and also starts a social media campaign supporting Emilia. There are bigger problems, however-- a terrorist attempts to blow up a hospital but is thwarted. Unfortunately, the terrorist is a young woman who works as a doctor... and may be carrying the president's son's child. Shortly after, the president is shot. So is a student at Tess's school, and she is the one to find him. Asher is a prime suspect in the death, so Tess investigates. When she gets close to the truth, she endangers everyone at Hardwicke because the terrorist organization, Senza Nome, realizes that Hardwicke has students who are attached to people in power at every level of Washington politics. Even the most benign Hardwicke staff seem to be involved, and some surprising students as well. Can Tess use her skills to "fix" a horrific situation?
Strengths: This was an exceptionally well crafted political thriller, and the use of an exclusive school in D.C. is really rather brilliant. Tess is adept at solving problems, but the writing makes her skills seem plausible. Even her family allegiances are interesting. This is definitely a page turner. I liked how the terrorist organization was not tied to any country or ethnic group, but was only vaguely described.
Weaknesses: There are a lot of people who are killed suddenly and without remorse. A little too much human-on-human violence for my taste. It's not graphic, but it is merciless.
What I really think: The first book has done really well in my library among students who enjoyed The Gallagher Girls and A Girl Named Digit. Barnes usually sticks to trilogies, which is always a relief. I definitely won't buy her The Naturals series, because that had a truly adult level of violence and ...ick, but I may buy this one. Might wait to see how YA the third book is.