This is the second book in the intriguing and addictive Arthur Academy series. I was so hooked by the first book, Broken Wing, and the amazing and complex characters who stole my heart, and have been eagerly awaiting this sequel ever since. And it sure did not disappoint! On the contrary, if anything this second book was even more intense and addictive than the first one. I read it all in one sitting with a beating heart, too nervous about all scheming and the potential hurt for my beloved Hendrix and Paxton.
This series is told in alternating POVs from two of the students at the elite college Arthur Academy – new scholarship girl Hendrix with a dark background being abused by her violent father and the school king and elite leader Paxton, who has never cared for anyone until Hendrix somehow manages to get under his skin. So much that he’s willing to stand up against his father and risk not only losing all his privileges but his father’s rage.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers by going too much into details of all things happening in this book, but just let me tell you that there is a lot going on! Reading this story was like riding a rollercoaster... I cared so much for Hendrix and Paxton, but also their friends Lucy and Austin, and desperately wanted things to be alright for them.
On the surface, this series might look like a glamorous story about privileged high school brats and their shallow problems, like Gossip Girl taking place at an elite boarding school instead of the Upper West, but there is so much more going on beneath. There is abuse and scheming, there is toxic loyalty and the feeling of being caged by a life you were born into but do not want, and there are complex fleshed-out characters with flaws and secrets and hidden sorrows that make you root completely for them. There is also fake dating, which is one of my favorite tropes.
Kathleen Mareé has done an excellent job wrapping this story up, while keeping the suspense all the way through, and for not shying away from any heavy and dark topics. I read the whole story with a beating heart, so afraid of any of the plans misfiring or any of the main characters getting their heart broken or being caught in the crossfire of other people’s cruel scheming. Honestly, I was a wreck when I reached the last page after all unexpected twists and turns… But I’m so happy with the ending, and especially the note from Kathleen Mareé that there might be a companion story coming, which I desperately want to read now!
Thank you to the author Kathleen Mareé for the possibility to read this fabulous book in advance! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
4.5 stars rounding up to 5
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This was such an addictive, intense, fast-paced and highly enjoyable read with so much more going on below the surface than I first expected! The story was like a mix of Gossip Girl, The Cruel Prince (without the fairy setting) and Paper Princess, and the characters were amazing, complex and relatable and with so many flaws, secrets and hidden sorrows and problems behind their glamourous appearances that you couldn’t help rooting for them all!
The story follows two of the students at the elite college Arthur Academy - new scholarship girl Hendrix and school king Paxton - and is told from their different POVs. Hendrix has survived a childhood full of abuse and daily beatings by her father and is now ready to finally start building a life for herself. Paxton on the other hand is part of the Arthur Elite and on the surface has everything you could ever want - wealth, friends, girls swooning over him - but is loathing his life as his father’s pawn and the threats his father makes against his mother if Paxton does not do exactly what his father wants.
At a quick glance, this might seem like an ordinary high school bully romance, but just as Paxton keeps saying to Hendrix about his life, “not everything is as it seems”, and this book very cleverly evolved into so much more. It was such a swooning slow-burn bad-rich-boy-good-poor-girl-can’t-help-falling-for-each-other story - almost a Romeo and Juliet kind of romance - and with characters that completely stole my heart. I really loved the alternating POVs and how it made it possible to get a glimpse into each of Hendrix’s and Paxton’s heads and really understand what they were thinking and how they were affected by each other. No matter how cliché it might be, I do have a soft spot for missunderstood bad boys with hidden good hearts, so after a rough start Paxton really won me over... There were also so many other wonderful and complex characters that I rooted for, like Hendrix’s new friend Luce, and Paxton’s best friend Austin, who were both so loyal and supportive. I loved getting to know more about their backgrounds and secrets and struggles.
All in all, this was an addictive, fast-paced and highly entertaining story with a swoon-worthy romance, unexpected twists and turns, wonderful friendships and complex characters to love and hate, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to find out what happens next!
Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for the ARC and blog tour invitation for this fabulous book! All opinions are my own and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abby Kaitz Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alice Winn Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira Amanda Woody A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Ban Gilmartin Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cait Nary Cale Dietrich Cara Dee Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare Cat Sebastian C.F. White C.G. Drews Charlie Adhara Charli Meadows Chasten Buttigieg Chris Bedell Christina Lauren Christina Lee Ciara Smyth Claerie Kavanaugh Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Courtney Kae Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Dallas Smith Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton D.N. Bryn Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E.L. Massey E. Lockhart Emery Lee Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens F.T. Lukens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hannah Grace Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving H.S. Valley Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacob Gelman Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kathy Anderson K.A. Tucker KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Lauren Shippen Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Lex Croucher Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr M.A. Wardell Melanie Munton Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nathaniel Shea Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Nyla K. Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rachel Reid Racquel Marie Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Taylor Jenkins Reid Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Tucker Shaw Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez