Escape Theory (Keaton School #1)
by Margaux Froley
Summary: 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.
Source: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
For some reason, Escape Theory immediately reminded me of the show The Best Years that used to be on Teen Nick (right when the channel became Teen Nick after being previously known as The N.) I think the main character, Devon, reminded me a lot of Samantha from The Best Years, despite the completely different plot of the show.
I liked Escape Theory and I admired Devon for attempting to get to the bottom of Hutch’s death and figure out what happened when no one else did. I loved the whole mystery and the way Devon (along with myself) suspected various people throughout the novel of foul play. Did Hutch kill himself? If so, why? What caused it? If not, how did he die? Was he murdered? Is someone responsible? Why isn’t anyone else suspicious? Is Devon just trying to hold onto the past? Is Devon making a big deal over nothing? All of these questions were floating around and it made for an interesting read.
I enjoyed the plot of Escape Theory and getting to know the characters. From Devon and the people involved in her life to Hutch and the people surrounding his, a lot of different types of people made an appearance in the novel and they all played a role. While the book had a mystery aspect to it, it was also a great YA coming of age novel because Devon grew into herself and learned a lot of important lessons thanks to Hutch’s influence in her life.
I only gave Escape Theory 3 stars because, as much as I enjoyed the novel, I found it lacking in execution. I wanted more from it and I needed it to be a bit more serious in some places. There were certain events and scenes I didn’t see the importance of and Devon’s relationship with her roommate was weird. While I understand certain exchanges were supposed to display their friendship, it gave the book a sort of immature feel to it and didn’t work for me as well as I’d hoped.
Overall, Escape Theory was a good read and I would recommend it to others, especially if you are looking for something a little less run of the mill in the YA genre.
Labels: Review, YA