Summary from Goodreads:
“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.”
My Thoughts & Review:
Escape Theory. I hate an extremely large love/hate relationship with this book throughout reading it. I did come out liking it and it seems like it may be a series(correct me if I’m wrong, I’m honestly not even sure!) so I will most likely continue reading at least one more of the following books.
Escape Theory takes place in a ritzy boarding school in California. Devon, the main character, is a scholarship student and one of the only students that has not come from money and a rich lifestyle. I loved the setting, that’s one thing that I totally enjoyed. The boarding school is set on a hill overlooking a small surfing/tourist town, next to a vineyard. I loved the small town aspect, so different parts of the story took place in the town. Quite a few boarding school books take place solely in the school and they are usually secluded so this was a nice mix up from that type of setting.
I absolutely could not connect with the main character. I didn’t like or dislike Devon, I just found her bland and uninteresting so it was very hard for me to connect with her. The character I enjoyed most, ironically was Hutch, the student that dies at the start of the novel. I loved his sweet personality and that he was so focused on being the opposite of what everyone expected him to be. I did really like Raven and Cleo. I immediately took a liking to Raven, she was interesting and went “against the grain” of the typical boarding school student. Granted she was a day student, but she was free spirited and different and I loved that. I didn’t like Cleo straight away. The more she came to Devon’s sessions, the more I started to like her and by the end of the book I adored her. I thought she was witty, unique and her brutal honestly was awesome. One of the main reasons why I didn’t get along fully with Escape Theory was due to the characters, I just didn’t care about a lot of them. They were going through tough situations and some were barely hanging on to reality but I just didn’t care what happened to them.
Another thing I loved wholeheartedly was the flashbacks to a night that Devon and Hutch had shared. The first flashback, I thought that was it, that there wouldn’t be another one but throughout the story parts of that night are shown that relate to the current situation/events. I really enjoyed that part, it twisted up the plot a little bit and really made you think. If it wasn’t for those flashbacks I wouldn’t have fallen in love with Hutch as I would have only experienced him from other people talking about him.
The plot and pacing was the downside for me. The plot was great, that Hutch didn’t really kill himself but was actually murdered and Devon was trying to piece together the puzzle. The pacing was slow… sooooo slow. At times I actually thought that I would put this down for good. I can’t say I really go into the novel until halfway through. About halfway the mystery does pick up and it’s rather addicting. I was suspicious of so many people in the second half of the novel so I could not put it down.
Escape Theory is a really great contemporary mystery. I know a lot of people are going to love this one but for me the pacing was too slow to completely love it. I would still recommend it however because the book really does pick up in the second half. I believe based on the ending that this is going to be a continuation series… if that’s the case I will be giving the second book a try!