When the daughter of an American Ambassador heads to her first undercover mission, she can’t imagine that what she’s getting herself into could be any worse than the war torn countries she’s lived in her entire life. After a violent attack, Riley Collins is headed to boarding school on a mission to watch over heiress Hayden Fraiser. In A Dangerous Year by Kes Trester, things aren’t always what they seem, friends aren’t always real, and sometimes life at boarding school is more dangerous than you can imagine.
The culture shock is just the first of many problems for Riley. Going from a middle eastern country, to the materialistic world of posh America for the first time, there are many things Riley has to learn, from make up to clothes, boys, and how to get in good with Hayden with out her knowing that Riley has been sent to be a sort of spy.
Luckily, on her first day, Riley meets Von, who helps her find her way around campus, and they soon strike up a friendship. He seems to have quite the crush on Riley, but her extra secret mission keeps her pushing him to arms length.
When Riley finds out there may be more than meets the eye with her assignment, things start to get deadly. Riley has to pull out the tricks she’s learned from her father’s Chief of Security, Benson, which may include a taser, in order to save her life as well as Hayden’s.
This book is like a bad ass Gossip Girl mixed with 21 Jump Street. Even though Riley is a teenaged girl, she has a lot of knowledge about the world around her, and she’s got a good head on her shoulders. She’s not one of those airy chicks you find in a lot of books about teenagers now a days. When she is sent to do a job, she doesn’t really get wrapped up in everything else that’s going on in high school, even though she didn’t really want to do the job in the first place. She is smart, capable, and knows how to blend in when needed. I loved her character, and didn’t find her to be a cliche at all.
Each chapter is labeled with advice that Benson has given her over the years. This was a fun and sneaky way to foreshadow what was to come in the chapter ahead.
All in all, this was a great book for a first in a series, and also a debut novel. I loved it, even though it is YA, it kept my attention. I didn’t see many of the tropes that you see in a lot of YA now a days, and the mystery and suspense kept me wanting more. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, what a great beginning!