Oct 13, 2016

Review: Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton

TitleDiplomatic Immunity
Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: September 6, 2016
Pages/Format: 368, eARC
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Aspiring reporter Piper Baird decides to write a scathing exposé on the overprivileged students at an elite Washington, DC, school, only for her life to change when she begins to fall for the story's main subject, in this new realistic contemporary romance from Brodi Ashton, the author of the Everneath trilogy.

Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic immunity...it’s all part of student life on Embassy Row.

Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love?

Book in One Word: Enjoyable!

I picked up Diplomatic Immunity looking for a thriller that wasn't exactly a thriller. But a novel about a girl who goes undercover at her own school to create an expose on the rich and privileged kids and ends up falling for one of them? That sounded interesting and right up my alley. (And okay, so it isn't a thriller at all. But it seemed like a lighter, fluffier version of the thriller/mystery/suspense-esque The Fixer.) What I got what was just that: a lighter novel with a bit of something else to it...plus some messiness.

You know, I liked Diplomatic Immunity, and I enjoyed reading it, but I can't help critiquing some of its issues, mainly that the focus was muddled. If you're going to give me a book about a girl going undercover, give me a book about a girl going undercover, but don't hold back and go big or go home. And I guess that did happen; Piper has, like, no regrets, and she'll do things in order to get her story that give me--the reader--secondhand embarrassment. She makes you want to scream because why would you do that why? I mean, I get that reporting takes guts, but, girl, you are in high school, you're at the bottom of the food chain (she's the new girl on a scholarship at a fancy dancy school), and also, where are your morals? Where do you draw the line? Piper can be super outgoing and no nonsense, which is great, but dang. It's like watching a train before it hits the hole in the tracks, because you just know a train wreck is going to happen.

But the underlying issue within it all is, I think, the romance. Now, I'm a sucker for romance, but I'm not a fan of romance that isn't fully fleshed out and developed and then becomes the main point of the story and is the main resolution at the end. I want to feel the romance, feel the burn and the tension and ship the ever loving hell out of it. I did ship it--because, hey, romance--and I really liked Rafael and I think he and Piper could be great together, but I need all that to be really seriously shown and played out and for it to feel real and believable. Everything combined prevented Diplomatic Immunity from hitting the level that makes a book good. It's okay and it's likable, but when plot points are glossed over and things aren't detailed, the book can suffer.

All that said, Diplomatic Immunity had a lot of potential--it was just missed. Utilizing that potential would've brought this book from a nice, quick, enjoyable read to something really, really good. As Piper's feelings for Rafael's progressed the rest of the story digressed, and that was disappointing because I was really looking forward to the sort of "investigating" aspect I thought would be present, that thrillerish feeling that I just adore. But it was still likable, thanks to Piper, who has no problem embarrassing herself in the name of reporting, and Rafael, who's like the perfect guy wrapped in a shiny, expensive bow. (He looks good on the outside and the inside.) They're opposites in the sense that he's rich and she's lower class, but there's something about them that just clicks. And the fact that he's the subject of her diplomatic immunity expose--people using their diplomacy to get what they want and get away with murder--is the perfect excuse for her to spend time with him. (It also makes for a nice element to the romance, weeeee.)

How do I say this nicely and in a way that I don't mean to be offensive? Diplomatic Immunity is the sort of easy breezy you pick up when you're looking for something enjoyable but essentially meaningless. It's a bit of a page turner with a compelling plot line, characters that are so totally meant to be (Piper and Rafael are actually perfect together, and there's the added bonus of banter), and that contemporary voice that just about hits the spot. You'll probably want more from the book and wish for it to go a bit further, but it's still a quick, sweet, and fun read. (And I swear I liked it more than this nit picky review suggests.)

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? No.
Would I reread it? Eh.
Would I purchase it? I'm good.
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of contemporaries with investigative work (like, if Nancy Drew was a wannabe reporter in high school wanting to make it big), romance, and that are enjoyable to read.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reviewing, the cover looked intriguing, still might give it a shot as a weekend read.


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