Title: Deadly Little Sins
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
In Kara Taylor’s Deadly Little Sins, Anne Dowling investigates a mysterious disappearance in this fast-paced, twisty conclusion to the Prep School Confidential series.
It’s August and Anne is back in New York City for the summer, but she can’t escape the memories of the terrible things that happened at the Wheatley School last spring— and the possibility of being expelled looming over her. When an unexpected— and suspicious— turn of events gets Anne sent back to Wheatley, she’s determined to figure out what happened to her favorite teacher and only adult ally at the school: Ms. Cross.
After a shocking, gruesome murder with connections to the Wheatley School occurs, Anne is convinced there’s more to Ms. Cross’s sudden disappearance, and that her favorite teacher is in danger. But after an ugly breakup with Brent and a new, inexplicable distance between her and Anthony, Anne isn’t sure who she can trust. And even worse, someone at Wheatley knows the truth about what happened to Ms. Cross— someone who will stop at nothing to keep Anne from learning the truth in this engrossing, unputdownable read.
Final books in a series are always a bit bittersweet (a term that I use all the time even though my friends have been sick of it ever since we gradated high school and heard the term all the time), but this concluding chapter in the Prep School Confidential trilogy is just as fun and mysterious as the rest of the series, so I kept reading it as quickly as possible even though I knew I was nearing the end.
I read the second book earlier this year, so I didn’t quite remember everything from that book, but it wasn’t too difficult to jump back in. Anne begins the book back in New York City, unsure whether she’s going to be allowed back in school – but you just know she is because otherwise there wouldn’t be a story! And things get started quickly, kicking in a final mystery to put Anne’s life in danger.
The mystery is obviously a big part of the plot, but I loved the fact that Kara Taylor acknowledged that running around trying to solve mysteries might put a strain on other parts of Anne’s life. Her schoolwork is suffering, she just barely got back into school for her senior year, and her relationships with others, especially her two exes, are difficult and extremely strained. She has to deal with real life, including even just beginning to think about life post-high school, and she has to juggle it all with the main mystery, which is interesting to read about.
Anne continues to be an entertaining and pretty kickass protagonist, and there are plenty of other characters to root for, like her best friend Remy. I wish there had been more of a focus on all of these secondary characters, but when there’s a big, dangerous mystery to be solved, it’s not too surprising that the secondary cast can sometimes fall by the wayside.
The mystery is definitely the crown jewel of the whole book. I was a bit worried when the second book solved the seemingly-overarching mystery that had been set up in the first book – after all, how interesting could the disappearance of Anne’s favorite teacher, which happened at the end of the second book, really keep me that interested? Well, things got interesting regardless, and I was racing through the pages trying to discover more and figure out the mystery. I was shocked by the ending, but not in a “how the hell would that even happen, there were no signs and clues!” way.
The Adult Situation
A consequence of Anne’s past dealings with all the shady and not-always-willing-to-help teachers are her school is that she doesn’t rely on them very much, even when things are going horribly wrong. It never seems like all of the adults are completely useless, though – it seems like a flaw on Anne’s part, and the fact that she’s had bad experiences, that account for the lack of adult supervision and help going on in this book.
There was a love triangle in this trilogy, but I never got that invested in it – I tended to like whoever she was with at the time and not care too much otherwise. Things kind of get wrapped up easily in this book simply because the romance isn’t at the forefront – the mystery is. It kind of seems clear who she’s going to end up with at the end of the book early on, but not in a frustrating way – although that could simply be because I didn’t care that much about it. It wasn’t the focus of the book, and that was one of my favorite things about it, although I don’t know if that says more about me or the romance.
If you’re like me, by the end of the book you’re flying through the pages to see who did it and whether Anne is going to make it out alive. I don’t know if the book ever raised to the stakes to the point that you truly through Anne could die, but after the end of the second book, you definitely knew that other’s lives could and would be in danger, and that helped raise the stakes enough for me.
This concluding book sometimes had too much drama, especially of the romantic variety, for my taste, but I think the fact that the rest of my review is quite glowing shows that I really enjoyed this series, despite any small faults. I look forward to whatever Taylor comes up with next, but I’m definitely crossing my fingers for more mysteries from her.