Monday, August 26, 2013


Spies and Prejudice
Talia Vance

Rating: C+
Fields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy.

Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either. 

So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death. 

But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?

With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide.

My thoughts on the book:
Spies and Prejudice is a quick and light read. For those who are tired of the typical Dystopian and Paranormal novels, but are looking for something outside of the ordinary contemporary story, this teen spy novel is for you. For those of you who want a bit more depth and relationship development in your novels, you may want to skip this one. While I enjoyed this book, it definitely did not stand out. The spy content made it a bit different from the regular contemporaries, but at the end of the day, this is just another YA romance with the usual insta-love.

Berry is a strong and straight-forward heroine, both qualities that are rarely done right in YA literature, but Vance nails it. Berry never comes across as bratty or overly dramatic, and I really liked that about her. She does seem real, though, because she misses her mom. She acts like a teenager without acting like an annoying teenager. She should have stood out more to me, really, but for some reason I never fully connected to her. I can't figure out why, though. Tanner and Drew, the two love interests, form the typical and over-done YA love triangle. It's clear from the start who Berry likes, and of course, Berry makes up her mind instantly, though she doesn't act on it right away. One is good, one is bad, the roles reverse, nothing special here. I'm not going to completely spoil it and tell you which is which (there are plenty of times throughout the novel when it's not exactly clear), though. I also was a bit annoyed at the hokey naming of the characters. "Strawberry Fields" and "Mary Chris Moss," really? Some people may find the names cute, unique, and even chuckle-worthy, but I found them annoying. It looked as if the author was trying too hard to be clever, and it just fell short. 

The plot itself is reminiscent of the Heist Society books, except Vance didn't do as good of a job making it believable that teenagers would be this involved in spy work. For some reason, I just didn't buy that these characters would have access to, and actually care about, all of this confidential information. The romance, as stated previously, was lacking development, in my opinion, though Vance does throw in quite a few twists and turns with the characters (and romance). I saw them all coming, but at least things weren't exactly straight-forward. The pacing is pretty spot-on, and I didn't feel like anything was rushed or that anything dragged on endlessly. The ending ties things up nicely, but leaves room for a sequel if the author so chooses. 

Overall, I'd recommend this novel to people who enjoy spy books and to those who are looking for a light read with (sometimes cheesy) humor. This is one of those novels that will appeal to certain personality types and completely annoy others. I fell more to the annoyed side of the spectrum, but I could see what the author was trying to do. While her particular brand of humor didn't appeal to me, I can see it appealing to others. 

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