Katharine’s Letter Essay #5: The Fixer

Recently, I finished reading The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. This book is 370 pages and mystery. I chose to read this book because many people have recommended it and it seemed like a good book.

In the novel, The Fixer a girl named Tess Kendrick is sent away to stay with her older sister, Ivy Kendrick in Washington DC. Ivy is known for being the capital’s best “fixer”. She helps important and famous people make the public forget about an event. Tess is forced to go to school at Hardwicke School, where she is following in her sister’s path, which is what she doesn’t want to happen. When she goes to school, she meets some friends that spark her curiosity about her sister’s job and what she really does. Tess makes new friends at the school, but her friends need her to solve a mystery, that is related to Ivy’s job. Tess becomes the school’s new “fixer”. Tess and her friends, Vivvie, Henry, and Asher have to solve an important death in the capitol without Tess knowing. But the mystery soon becomes dangerous as more and more secrets are revealed.

Throughout the novel, the character development is very visible. At first, in the very beginning, when Tess is taken away from her ill grandfather and forced to stay with Ivy, her sister, she does not want to be there at all, because of how her sister ditched her and her grandfather earlier. But then, later in the book Tess finds herself needing her sister’s help, and she actually starts to talk to her sister. Tess is the character in this book that develops and changes her opinions the most, mainly about her sister and what she does for a living. By the end of the book, Tess trusts and relies on Ivy. The reader can obviously see the drastic change that goes on in the book surrounding Ivy and Tess, where Tess actually considers Ivy as her family and her sister.  

I liked the way the author built more and more suspense throughout the book. For example, when Tess would finally uncover a clue to the mystery, something else would happen, making the story more suspenseful. Every time the reader thought the plot was at the climax, something would change everything. I liked how the author did this because it made me want to keep reading the book and not put it down. From the beginning to the end, there was a lot of suspense, and that made the book even better. I think if the book didn’t build suspense than it wouldn’t have been as good.

I would compare this book to another mystery/realistic fiction book called Famous Last Words by Katie Alender. This book was similar to Famous Last Words because of how, like I said above, the suspense built up throughout the novel. Also, the books are similar because in the plot, the main character had a sudden change in where they live, and they had to go to a new school. Another aspect of the two books that is similar is how they both have a mystery in the story and everything in the book is built around this mystery. In Famous Last Words, the mystery is about a killer in Hollywood, and the main character is brought into that mystery and tries to solve it. However, in The Fixer, the mystery in the book is about someone’s death and how Tess also gets pulled into that mystery and also tries to solve it.

One passage in the book, The Fixer, that particularly stood out to me was when Tess is in the headmaster’s office at the Hardwicke School and she just finished getting in trouble for Tess’ friend Asher tackling someone in school. And Tess was with Asher when this event played out so she of course got called in to.

“My eyes drifted to the photograph on the wall behind him- the same one I’d noticed the last time I was here. Six men: three in the back row, two in the front, one off to the side. I recognized William Keyes. But this time, I also recognized the man standing behind Headmaster Raleigh. Balding. Early fifties. Deep-set eyes.

Judge Pierce.

And in front of Pierce stood Vivvie’s father.” (pg 171)

In this passage I liked how the author was building the suspense, like I said before, and how the author would add more and more to the suspense.

I would rate this book a 7.5/10.


-Katharine Burris


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