Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer, #1
Tess Kendrick has been hiding the fact that her grandfather has Alzheimer’s, but taking care of the farm and keeping his debilitating health a secret is getting harder and harder. When Tess’ sister, Ivy, shows up, her secret is exposed and despite her objections, she’s forced to move across the country to D.C. Tess’ new school, Hardwicke, is home to children of politicians and other Washington elite. Her sister, Ivy is a ‘fixer’, the one bureaucrats call when they want to sweep a scandal under the rug. When her fellow classmates begin looking to her to solve their problems, Tess is suddenly pulled into Ivy’s world. She discovers a political conspiracy that leaves a high-ranking member of the government dead and no one, not even her sister, is above suspicion.
“Emilia had tried to hire me to keep her brother out of trouble for a few days. I wondered if she’d figured out yet that I was the last person anyone should think was qualified for that job.
Trouble always had a way of finding me.”
Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Fixer is at its heart a story about the protagonist’s relationship with her sister, a relationship plagued by feelings of abandonment, mistrust, and regret. Tess struggles to let Ivy in after years of disappointment and Ivy wishes she could turn back time and thus overcompensates when it comes to her sister. Regardless of their issues, they are more alike than they realize. Both are self-sufficient, diligent, and extremely insightful. People look to them to help solve their problems because they know they can get results. Although exactly how Ivy got into the business of being Washington’s number one problem solver isn’t addressed, Tess ends up becoming a “fixer” herself because she firmly believes in defending others against bullies and the like. In the end, the sisters’ issues aren’t all resolved, but they do learn to see their relationship in a different light and I very much would like to see how their bond evolves in the next book.
I really enjoyed the minor characters in The Fixer. Vivvie, Tess’ first friend at her new school, has a sunny personality, but she also has moments of meekness and bravery. I loved seeing Tess and her form a stronger connection as the story progressed. Asher, who is all too eager to help Tess in her investigation especially if it involves breaking a few rules, is far too charming for his own good. Though it isn’t explored, there are some private struggles in his life that Tess isn’t made privy too, but I’m hoping will be touched upon later in the series. Henry, grandson of a Supreme Court justice, felt like Tess’ equal in terms of intelligence and resolve. They were never quite on the same page because both were under the impression that they knew what was best. Both are unwavering in their beliefs, and I think their stubbornness has the potential to pave the way for a challenging relationship.
The Fixer is full of smart characters, an intriguing conspiracy, and powerful players who will do anything to keep the truth a secret. I stayed up reading way past my bedtime because I loved reading about such well-developed characters and the plot had a very whodunit vibe that required me to read to the end in order to resolve the mystery.