You know the old saying “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” That is a somewhat recurring theme in Margaux Froley’s novel Escape Theory.
Devon Mackintosh has her own fair share of “friends” one might call enemies. Only she doesn’t really know it in the beginning of her junior year.
What she does know is that Jason “Hutch” Hutchinson is dead. Suicide. A mix of oxy and beer and she will never see him again.
As a peer counselor, Devon is tasked with talking to Hutch’s closest friends and helping them to work through the emotions of losing a friend and in such a terrible way. But when questions arise about the night of the suicide and Hutch’s actions days and weeks prior, Devon becomes convinced that Hutch was murdered.
Enter all the “frienemies.”
Matt: Hutch’s best friend and acquaintance of Devon. Is he hiding something? He sure has a lot of nervous energy pent up inside him.
Isla: Hutch’s former girlfriend and friend of Devon. She seems to be slipping deeper and deeper into an abyss. Could it be that she is hiding something, too?
Presley: Devon’s best friend. Becoming more convinced each day that Devon is obsessing.
Grant: The good friend from sophomore year who wants something more this year.
Cleo: Neither friend nor acquaintance of Devon’s sophomore year, but a student assigned to her peer counseling sessions. She knows lots of gossip and secrets and is ever ready to share.
Raven and Bodhi: Sister and brother and new acquaintances of Devon’s. They have a curious connection to Hutch that Devon cannot quite understand.
As the secrets continue to come out during her counseling sessions Devon becomes more and more convinced that Hutch did not kill himself.
While Devon makes great strides in learning the truth, to be honest, sometimes she jumps way to quickly to the wrong conclusions, even though it is often so obvious that her conclusions are wrong.
While her ability to arrive at the truth is admirable and a great outcome, the scene where this plays out is somewhat of a letdown as this climax is rather brief and anticlimactic.
However, Devon is a character that is so easy to come to know and love, as is Hutch, even though he is only around in flashbacks of freshman and sophomore years.
The second installment of the series is already on the shelves and in my reading list already. A really good YA book that could shape up to be an awesome series.
Add to a great book the narration of Amanda Dolan and you have a really great of YA novel/audio combination which can be found here on www.audible.com. Dolan’s voice is comforting and thrilling at just the right moments. Her ability to distinguish characters is spot on, making it extremely clear which characters are speaking without even hearing them named. Given this work and her reading of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, she is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators.