by Maggie Hall
To be published by Putnam Juvenile
on January 13, 2015
Summary from Goodreads: To fight her destiny as the missing heir to a powerful and dangerous secret society, sixteen-year-old Avery West must solve an ancient puzzle in a deadly race across Europe. Forbidden love and code-breaking, masked balls and explosions, destiny and dark secrets collide in this romantic thriller, in the vein of a YA DaVinci Code. Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada at the Champs-Elysees when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. They are part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle of Twelve, and Avery is their missing heir. If they discover who she is, some of them will want to use her as a pawn. Some will want her dead. To thwart their plans, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the landmarks of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul and through a web of ancient legends and lies. And unless she can stay one step ahead of beautiful, volatile Stellan, who knows she’s more than she seems, and can decide whether to trust mysterious, magnetic Jack, she may be doomed after all.
My take: I'm not one of those people who complained about the DaVinci Code. Not every book is literary fiction or wants to be, and the story was suspenseful and fun and I enjoyed reading it. The Conspiracy of Us had some of the same strengths and weaknesses -- it had fabulous settings (Paris!) and a breakneck pace, but that didn't allow a lot of time for explanation or character development.
As the blurb above indicates, Avery is a high school student who's checking out Jack, the cute new guy at her school. She begins to think he's following her -- and not to ask her out, but for some sinister motive. Then, by chapter six or so, she's at a school dance, in the middle of a knife fight between Jack and some other guy named Stellan. One more chapter, and she's jumped on a plane to Paris for reasons I can't really remember. To meet her real family? Who secretly run the world?
While I did find The Conspiracy of Us fun and entertaining while I was reading it, as soon as I put the book down I was unable to remember what happened or why. There's a Circle, an Order, a Mandate, and a Prophecy. There are people who are after other people. There's also, as the summary above indicates, a Triangle. (It's possible that this is a case of OTP with a decoy guy, and but that's still unclear by the end of this installment.)
Not every reader minds stories that emphasize pace and excitement over character growth, so I fully admit that this could be a case of "it's me, not the book." But I kept wishing that The Conspiracy of Us offered more of the emotion and humor of similar YA books like Heist Society by Ally Carter or Also Known As by Robin Benway. And I see that some readers on Goodreads have agreed with me while others thought it was completely amazing. So if you enjoy fast-paced stories featuring glam locations, definitely give it a try.