Title: The Conspiracy of Us
Author: Maggie Hall
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (Penguin imprint)
Avery West's only ever had her mother, they've moved around so much. But this surprise newfound family of hers can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead. To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family--but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with.
The Conspiracy of Us is mysterious and dangerous. It's a race through foreign lands, it's a list of clues to decode, it's a treasure to discover before time runs out.
Avery is a nice girl, a lonely girl, having moved around so much because of her mother. She's isolated, not like other girls in some ways, but it's partially her own doing. She doesn't get involved because she doesn't want to set herself up for disappointment the next time they move. But there are ghosts in her past, ones she doesn't even know about, and when they finally reveal themselves her life changes. There's a sudden shift from her partially normal life to an infinitely more dangerous one as she's whisked off to Europe for reasons no one bothers to explain to her. As she should be, she's suspicious of everyone, but not always.
There are some moments where it's like she forgets she's in danger, like when she asks about sightseeing after being flown to Paris on a private jet without needing a passport. Like when she goes off clubbing with people she barely knows instead of staying with someone who cares about her safety. Those moments make her seem flighty, flaky, a bit shallow. I can only put some of the reason behind those actions as there's no one around her with any new information as to the truth of the matter and so she goes if only to stay alive.
The mystery is what drew me to this book, the secret societies and the conspiracies, the warring families and the resulting high-speed chases. These things demand that the tension be high and that everyone but Avery be suspicious, and they are. The tension is high, never knowing who could be listening around a corner, planning or plotting, and everyone is suspicious. Especially Stellan. Especially Jack. Because they never tell her the entire truth until it's almost too late.
To be honest, the mystery is more interesting, the Circle and the ancient prophecy, than the romance. I don't quite understand the appeal of one of the two guys. The one, yes, it's obvious and I'm fine with it, but I'm not sure about the other. And I think I can see where the next book is going to go in terms of the romance. Still, I am interested in reading what comes next in this series. The ways in which the author has included history into the secret society are creative and intriguing. This book will appeal to those looking for high-stakes tension, some romance, a secret society hell-bent on continuing their control over the world, and hidden mysteries set to ruin those plans.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Penguin Canada.)