Sixteen-year-old Devon Mackintosh has always felt like an outsider at Keaton, the prestigious California boarding school perched above the Pacific. As long as she’s not fitting in, Devon figures she might as well pad her application to Stanford’s psych program. So junior year, she decides to become a peer counselor, a de facto therapist for students in crisis. At first, it seems like it will be an easy fly-on-the-wall gig, but her expectations are turned upside down when Jason Hutchins (a.k.a. “Hutch”), one of the Keaton’s most popular students, commits suicide.
Devon dives into her new role providing support for Hutch’s friends, but she’s haunted by her own attachment to him. The two shared an extraordinary night during their first week freshman year; it was the only time at Keaton when she felt like someone else really understood her. As the secrets and confessions pile up in her sessions, Devon comes to a startling conclusion: Hutch couldn't have taken his own life. Bound by her oath of confidentiality—and tortured by her unrequited love—Devon embarks on a solitary mission to get to the bottom of Hutch's death, and the stakes are higher than she ever could have imagined.
If I had to name a book that plays out like the perfect mystery it would be Escape Theory.I was totally expecting gritty teen contemporary when I started this book and I got that and a lot more, honestly I have to say that Escape Theory was a great book - I was absolutely hooked and I really couldn't put it down.
The book starts with the obituary of high school junior Hutch, who has been found dead, presumed to have taken his own life. Then we cut to our main girl Devon and we discover this bond that she has with Hutch. It's all set up very quickly and very seamlessly. The whole book is written from Devon's point of view and switches back and forth from the present day, where she is trying to unravel the mystery of Hutch's death to the past, where we learn more about the night that she and Hutch spent together. The tense switching works very well here and doesn't distract you from the story.
Also, the murder mystery aspect of the book was well-written. We have all of these characters and each one has a motivation for killing Hutch and honestly I had no clue who it could have been until the end when it's all revealed. The confrontation at the end could have been a little more thrilling as it was all pretty quick but it still had me on the edge of my seat for a while.
What I really liked about this book was that it was just as much about Devon's view of life changing as it is about figuring out Hutch's death. She starts out quite naive, but as she delves deeper into the mystery she because much more street savvy and realises that there are things going on around her that are pretty dark and that Hutch, who she had thought was a golden boy could have been involved in it.
Overall, Escape Theory was a great book. I loved reading about the mystery but I also enjoyed atching the characaters develop. Margaux Froley deals so well with the issues of grief and jealousy and I would love to read more from the author.
Overall Rating: A-
Book released 12th March 2013 by Soho TeenBook received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Edelweiss)