Review (Plus): “The Fixer” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

TheFixer_9781619635944_71a20I am madly in love with the depth of the characters in Jennifer Lynn Barnes latest novel, The Fixer. I found I was still reading at two in the morning and laughing out loud at Asher’s sense of humor. Laughing. Out. Loud.

Now, don’t misunderstand, this is not a humorous novel; it is about a 17-year-old girl, Tess Kendrick, who is living on a ranch in Montana when we first meet her. She is maintaining some semblance of high school normalcy. Due to an altercation with one of her teachers, she is sent to the counselor. Tess has been able to manage taking care of herself as well as keeping her grades up, taking care of their horse ranch, and keeping a secret: her grandfather has Alzheimer’s. The school counselor has noticed something is off and calls in ‘The Fixer’–Ivy Kendrick. Ivy, Tess’ older sister, swoops in and instantly takes charge. Grandpa is shipped off to a treatment facility in Boston and Tess is now living in a two bedroom apartment in Washington D.C. starting at a prep school with the elite children of the bigwigs of D.C.

I was astonished to learn of the depth of political nominations and the prices paid to gain access to the top–the layers kept peeling away. The political scandal is unearthed within the first few chapters with the complexity of the crimes continuously evolving throughout the book. Your word is law in D.C. and the phrase, ‘I’ll owe you’ is one you must be willing to ante up on when your card is called. Unlike Tess, the students at Hardwicke Prep School know this as well as knowing Ivy Kendrick is called to resolve issues when a cover up is required.

To help assimilate Tess into her new life as the fixer’s sister, we meet Asher, Henry and Vivvie. Asher is a sarcastic, popular hottie whose wit is met with contempt from the ‘I don’t give a crap’ Tess. He is unfazed throughout and keeps the comments coming. Henry is his best friend and is a no-nonsense hard ass. (Complete opposite of his bf, so this keeps it entertaining!) Vivvie is the first friend Tess meets at the school and is the daughter of the man who has just murdered the Chief Supreme Justice. See what I mean about the layers?

This is a first installment of a new series; the base of these characters promises to be a series worth following.

In the store:

Bloomsbury compared this book to Veronica Mars–if you like this show, you will enjoy this book.  Invite your customers to a Veronica Mars or Scandal showing. I watched one just to see what the hype was all about and I must say it is worth it! (Of course I read the book first, but it seems fans who follow the series adored this book.) Free popcorn is always a plus.

In the classroom:

With the upcoming election, politics make an easy assignment: debate, writing assignment, math, or even research. Tess was surprised to discover one of the student’s had a parent who was a pollster. Polls play a huge part in the decision of who Americans vote for.

Math CCSS.Content. 6.RP.A.1 is to understand the concept of a ration and use ration language to describe a ration relationship between two quantities. Use the upcoming election to create ratios for the nominations. You can graph amounts of money spent. Creating these graphs allows your students the opportunity to visually see the relationship between the two comparisons. Using number theory arguments to justify the means created in small groups. You can discuss this as a class.


The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Bloomsbury | 9781619635944 | July 7, 2015)

America Grelinger

America Grelinger doesn’t mind if you call her Ms. America. It makes her head swell and she loves the title. America is a former English teacher and has a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, now retired to raise two crazy little boys who think the funniest thing on the planet is to burp and toot… which is why she reads. Because it’s cheaper than counseling. Amy and her husband live with those two crazy little boys in Floyds Knobs, Indiana.