Release Date: 3/12/2013
About the Book: (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.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Escape Theory is a boarding school mystery with an interesting setting and premise. Devon is grieving over the death of Hutch, who she has had a long unrequited crush on throughout high school after their night together freshman year. This makes her become very obsessive in figuring out what happened to Hutch and at times her obsession is a bit grating. Devon can be a bit annoying as she tries to solve the mystery and pushes constantly to figure out what is going on. She's also a bit bland at times and there were many times I wanted to yell at her for not being so stupid.
The mystery of what happened to Hutch kept me interested, even if some of the plot twists were a bit predictable. The thing that I struggled with the most was the fact that Devon was a peer counselor who had bee assigned people who were directly involved with Hutch and grieving his death. I would think that after a suicide a school would have professional help for students, especially a rich boarding school like Keaton, instead of relying on and allowing a student to counsel other students. That aspect of the plot required the biggest suspension of disbelief from me.
There is a large cast of characters and at times I found it hard to remember who all the side characters were, but the main characters are fairly engaging. The mystery was enough to keep me reading and mystery has a nice twist ending that I'm sure will surprise many readers and teens will love it.
Despite having to suspend disbelief and at times disliking Devon, it was an interesting and engaging read. Readers who enjoy boarding school stories with a touch of mystery are sure to love this one.
Book Pairings: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (for the suicide
and mystery elements), The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (for the peer counseling)
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from egalley received from publisher