Author: Sarah Alderson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 320 pages, February 12th 2015
From: the Publisher, via Netgalley
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Order a copy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, Amazon UK
Synopsis: 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.
Review: 4.5 stars - Please be aware this review will be brief, this book relies on the element of surprise and pieces falling into place to make a thrilling YA read, so I’ve tried to avoid spoilers.
Nic Preston returns home one night to discover someone has broken into her high security home. Only the burglars are still in the building and when disrupted by a concerned neighbour, shoot him and run. 2 years ago, Nic’s mother and step-sister were killed during a home invasion. It seems like history is repeating itself.
Someone has disabled Nic’s security system, her panic button and security cameras- could it be the same people who killed her family. Nic is taken to an FBI safe house. When the FBI safe house is compromised and an agent killed, Nic ends up on the run with Agent Corbell.
Finn is someone Nic never wanted to see again. He is the one that got her mum’s killers set free after he found evidence proving they were elsewhere at the time. Agent Corbell thinks he’s the safest person for Nic to be with while she investigates how the safe house was compromised and who is really after her.
It turns out failed FBI agent Finn has extreme computer hacking skills; when he unearths something, his and Nic’s lives are about to be thrown completely upside down as they end up on the run across country.
What makes this a great read is you never know what’s going to happen next. There are plenty of twists and turns and a few red herrings to throw you off the scent of what is really going on.
As with her other books Alderson’s use of pop culture references make an appearance. I feel they bring the story into the real world, with some novels you can feel detached, like they’re not really happening in our world, even though they are.
I love Nic and Finn. Nic although a strong character is vulnerable to a certain point and will always watch out for herself, trusting no one except herself (and Goz) in an effort to stay safe. Even when she starts to relax with Finn, something happens and she builds her defences back up. She’s conditioned herself to not get close to anyone, for the fear they could end up harmed because of her.
When you first meet Finn he came across as a bit of a ladies man, a good looking guy in his early 20’s with money. As you get to know him, you learn that he is more than meets the eye.
The book is written in dual person POV and this is easily read, not once did I get confused between the characters.
Conspiracy Girl is must for fans of Alderson’s previous books. Out of Control fans, look out for the mention of Liva and Jay. I know I will be reading Conspiracy Girl again and will definitely be reading it again when it’s released next year.
Also recommended if you enjoy YA thrillers such as, Kate Harrison’s Soul Beach series, or Sharon Jones’ Poppy Sinclair series.