Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Source: Publisher ARC
Publication Date: 2016
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Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Young Adult
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
REVIEW | Piper Baird has a dream. Her aspirations reach beyond her public high school which is why she pushes for a scholarship to an elite prep school. Once she’s in, she can compete for the prestigious Bennington award; an award that will open doors to college scholarships, and the best education possible. A budding journalist, Piper begins to work on a “exposé” story about her fellow classmates (most of whom are among the school’s wealthiest) who break rules just because they can. But everything changes when she begins to make friends with some of her classmates. And then there’s Raf, the cute boy who seems to take a keen interest in the new girl.
BOOK REVIEW | The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Prior to this, Ashton’s latest, I’d never read any of her novels. Her popular Everneath trilogy is now at the top of my perpetual TBR. Before getting to my likes vs. dislikes, I’ll cut to the chase: I really, really liked this novel. The story, the characters and the setting spelled fun in glaring capital letters. The further I went into the story, the faster I flipped pages and the more interested I became in everyone’s lives.
If there was one thing that stunted my interest early on, it was the character of Raf. Don’t misunderstand, just like everyone else, I’m all for the cute, mysterious boy, but I couldn’t warm to Raf in the beginning. The more page time he shared with Piper, the more I wondered why she liked him. Once I learned more about what made him tick and who he was as a person, those early insecurities were erased. The ways he cared for Piper and eventually, began showing her that, were YA (contemporary) genre magic. There’s an especially sweet scene between them and Piper’s younger brother.
Some won’t appreciate Piper’s quest for the story or her attitude of what it takes to achieve this. In the end, I felt like she made the right decision though as all stories will, this one naturally snaps the fragile thread that Piper’s protective decision is based on. This spins everything out of control, but the end is, as we expect, swoony and charming. The gang of characters are colorful and fun to hang out with not to mention the layers that are eventually peeled back on those who start out unlikable.
In the end, this was the perfect read for me. It’s a quick contemporary with an almost Veronica Mars-esque vibe. Not in the way of the humor, more that it reminded me of the cult classic with Piper’s “sleuthing.” If you like Ally Carter or any lighthearted contemporary with some mystery tied into it, check out Diplomatic Immunity. It’s a fun read perfect to enjoy while curled up in your favorite reading nook.
Synopsis: Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.
Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.
The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love? – Goodreads
Coming Next from Brodi Aston (with Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows), My Plain Jane: This book will be about “Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte being saved from their fates.” – Goodreads, 2018
Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book; my apologies to the author and publisher for the delay in publishing this review.
Review text is © Copyright 2011-2016 Rissi JC and first appeared on Finding Wonderland (Dreaming Under the Same Moon), RissiWrites.com