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THE BOOK -Conspiracy Girl
by Sarah Alderson
This book is not part of a series
First published in 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA Mystery
Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars
EDITION I RECEIVED FOR REVIEW -Kindle ARC, 320 pages
Published in 2015 by Simon & Schuster
My Rating: 5/5 stars
THE PLOT -Everybody knows about the Cooper Killings - the Bel Air home invasion that rocked the nation. There was only one survivor - a sixteen year-old girl. And though the killers were caught they walked free.
Now eighteen, Nic Preston - the girl who survived - is trying hard to rebuild her life. She’s security conscious to the point of paranoia and her only friend is a French Mastiff bulldog, but she’s making progress. She’s started college in New York and has even begun dating.
But then one night her apartment is broken into and the life Nic’s worked so hard to create is shattered in an instant.
Finn Carter - hacker, rule breaker, player - is the last person Nic ever wants to see again. He’s the reason her mother’s killers walked free from court. But as the people hunting her close in, Nic has to accept that her best and possibly only chance of staying alive is by keeping close to Finn and learning to trust the person she’s sworn to hate.
Fleeing across a snowbound New England, frantically trying to uncover the motive behind the murders, Nic and Finn come to realize the conspiracy is bigger than they could ever have suspected. But the closer they get to the truth and the closer they get to each other, the greater the danger becomes.
To survive she has to stay close to him. To keep her safe he has to keep his distance.
Sarah Alderson is definitely one of the best when it comes to writing YA mystery, so when I came across this title on NetGalley, I didn't hesitate before hitting that request button. I first read Hunting Lila - her debut novel - a few years ago and absolutely loved it. Since then, I've read the sequel, Losing Lila, as well as one of her standalone novels, The Sound. Alderson's writing just keeps getting better and better, and Conspiracy Girl is proof of that. I found myself on the edge of my seat the whole way through and couldn't believe how invested I was in both the story and the general wellbeing of the characters.
For two years, Nic has been living in fear, terrified that the people who killed her mum and stepsister are going to track her down and finish the job. When her security system is breached and her apartment broken into, she could never have imagined where life would take her next. Maggie - an FBI agent on the scene - decides to get Nic out of there, taking her to Finn, a master hacker, and the best chance Nic has of finally nailing the people who tore apart her family. Unfortunately, Nic is not happy about staying with the man who testified for the defendants at the trial a couple of years previous. Seeing no other choice, however, she and Finn get to work on figuring out who the real murderers are and why they waited so long before tracking Nic down. Nobody could have guessed the truths that would be uncovered along the way.
I usually enjoy novels without a slew of characters, and Conspiracy Girl was no exception. Other than a few secondary characters, this story is pretty much solely focused on Nic and Finn alone. Written in alternating viewpoints, it's hard not to love these guys. Alderson definitely knows how to write relatable characters whom you can't help but adore.
Nic was a character who developed a lot throughout the course of this novel. Though the fear never truly goes away, Nic is by no means weak. She's a born survivor, and trusting people is understandably hard. Nevertheless, Finn slowly manages to break down her walls piece by piece - it is his job after all. I loved Finn more than words can describe. Funny, protective, loyal... he's just an all round good guy, despite what Nic initially believes. I loved their interactions when they first met, but their relationship at the end was definitely what I had been waiting for. Though the romance is mostly told in thoughts rather than words, I thought their relationship started and progressed perfectly.
The big twist in this novel comes right at the very end, and I'm talking within the last few pages. Just when we thought we had it all figured out, Alderson dropped a bomb. Obviously I can't go into detail because of spoilers, but I will say that it completely threw me. I can't even pretend that I expected that person to be behind everything, and I have to applaud Alderson for that. There's a reason I think she's one of the best.
Overall, Conspiracy Girl is an amazing novel that takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. Learning a small amount about the diamond mining business was interesting, though I'm not sure how much is based on fact. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this novel from cover to cover and will definitely be buying a finished copy.