5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . Eric Connelly is crumbling under the weight of his dad’s expectations. He can’t seem to live up to the “Connelly Man” standards—but when he meets the mysterious, free-spirited Jordan Grant, his dad’s rules seem so much less important than they used to. Jordan and Eric—now “E”—join up with two of the most popular girls in school to combat their rich-kid boredom. But as Jordan seduces E further, the group starts to kill time in more nefarious ways. It’s Jordan who escalates the pack’s dares from mostly harmless jaunts like joyrides in boosted cars and Bling Ring–style luxury shoplifting sprees into more violent activities. Eric is intoxicated . . . swept up in the pack’s activities, even as Paige and Haley start to have reservations about what they’ve been doing. When Jordan starts talking bigger—what’s a little bomb building between friends?—E must decide if he’s just too far down the rabbit hole to back out. From the author of How to Win at High School comes a wicked, irreverent story of rich kids gone amok that will leave readers at the edge of their seats.
Eric thinks he’ll be spending his last summer before college in typical Connelly Man fashion: he has an internship that will give him necessary recommendations, he’ll pick out his college courses and get ahead on some reading for them, and he’ll avoid anything resembling typical teenage fun.
Then Eric talks to Jordan Grant, and Eric helps Jordan pass a test so that he can graduate, and then Jordan pulls Eric into his group of friends: the Suicide Pack. And then the plans that Senator Connelly has made for Eric’s whole life start to unravel as the Suicide Pack members bring Eric into their summer plans: vandalism, parties, drugs, theft, explosives… and so much more.
THE FIXES is told by an omniscient narrator with a quick, wry delivery, and the book is filled with modern day teen-speak. With chapters that come in short bursts, the story kept me on edge throughout despite being told how the story ends on page 7 of the book and almost constant foreshadowing as it unfolded. The author did a great job building tension using a style that could have easily destroyed any bit of anticipation.
Eric Connelly is a complex character, and he’s the one we get to know the best. Even though most of his choices are astonishingly bad ones, Eric still manages to have an awkward and endearing quality that made me care about him—and hope that the narrator would end up being an unreliable one. The two female members of the Suicide Pack, Paige and Haley, are given some depth as well and saved from being stereotypical rich brats as a result. Jordan Grant is not at all likeable, but he’s rich, sexy, and mesmerizing, so it’s understandable why the three others are pulled into his plan to do Fixes (targeted mayhem) throughout the city of Capilano.
THE FIXES has some content that is more appropriate for older high schoolers, and its edgy yet world-weary approach is perfect for someone who is tired of tame teenage tales. Despite being a thick tome (over 500 pages), the book is an incredibly fast read—in part because of the writing style and also because it’s very hard to put down. I definitely recommend it!
My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.