Review: A Dangerous Year (Riley Collins #1) by Kes Trester
Seventeen-year-old Riley Collins has grown up in some of the world’s most dangerous cities, learning political strategies from her ambassador dad and defensive skills from his security chief. The only thing they didn’t prepare her for: life as an American teenager.
After an incident forces her to leave her Pakistani home, Riley is recruited by the State Department to attend Harrington Academy, one of the most elite boarding schools in Connecticut. The catch: she must use her tactical skills to covertly keep an eye on Hayden Frasier, the daughter of a tech billionaire whose new code-breaking spyware has the international intelligence community in an uproar.
Disturbing signs begin to appear that Riley’s assignment wasn’t the walk in the park she’d been promised. Now, Riley must fight for her life and Hayden’s, as those around her reveal themselves to be true friends or the ultimate betrayers.
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Teen--
Riley has spent her 17 years bouncing from one embassy to another, being raised by her ambassador father and Benson, the head of security. To say she has not lead a typical girl's life is an understatement. When she helps a girl get free from oppression, Riley gets a target on her back which leads to an offer from the United States government- act as an under cover body guard for a spoiled little rich girl at an elite school in the States and doors for Riley's future will open. Riley agrees to her new challenge, hoping that all the training she grew up on is enough, while at the same time doubting everything she knows.
Yes, everything about this book is a yes! I loved this book so, so much and ended up blowing through it in a single afternoon. Ok so the premise is slightly unrealistic, with a untested girl assigned such an important task, but with that little bit of reality thrown out, this was just about perfect. The story had such a nice blend of basic teen life and top secret spy stuff mixed together to create a fast paced story that kept me highly entertained and on the edge of my seat.
Riley has never experienced what being a regular girl is like- instead she has extensive martial arts training, handgun and weapon skills, mastery of multiple languages, foreign relations and customs, negotiation skills and can best most players at chess. But put her in a room with your average teenager and she is in over her head. I loved watching Riley try and conquer they dynamics that are regular relationships- be it romantic or friendship, since both are new to her. The clothing styles were also a huge shock- her full covered baggy clothes to the fashion forward, expensive and trendy tiny outfits she was forced into to fit her role. The best parts of the book were when Riley was able to be herself, be it an honest conversation with her harsh but interesting history teacher or beating the boys at a double game of chess. I liked that when Riley wasn't sure or had doubts, she sought out help instead of just bumbling through. The side characters were all really fleshed out and interesting, flaws and all, and I enjoyed meeting everyone (especially Benson and Mr. Bracken). Oh and ps, there is a sort-of love triangle (even though the focus of the book was not on romance, just a side note) and I have no idea which guy I want to root for, both were great characters.
In case you couldn't tell, I really enjoyed this story. If there is any complaint that I have, it would be that the big reveal/action scene wrapped up too quickly for my liking but that being said, it perfectly set up the next book in what I hope is a long entertaining series. This was a perfect read for anyone who likes a cute teen story with a nice blend of action and mystery to keep you guessing. I am seriously conting down the days until I can get my hands on the next book! Kes is for sure an author to watch.
I received this title for reviewing purposes.