Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review: Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton

Diplomatic Immunity
By Brodi Ashton
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Source: ALA
Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic’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?

I was so excited to get my hands on this book at ALA. The cover just screamed my name and when I learned it was about a journalist who finds herself earning a scholarship to a private school in DC, I knew I had to read it. 

Piper Baird dreams of going to Columbia and becoming a reporter, but she has to find a way to get there and the answer is Chiswick Academy. Piper's only way to get to college is earning a prestigious scholarship from one of the most elite private schools in DC. Piper knows she has to write the story of her career to earn the scholarship, and what better subject to write about than the privileged students she attends school with everyday? Piper decides that the Spanish Ambassador's son Rafael will be her in to the lives of the DIs (students with Diplomatic Immunity), but the more time she spends with Raf, the more there is behind his good looks and privileged life. The lines start to blur between Piper's subject and the boy she finds herself starting to fall for…

This book started out so promising. I was on my school's newspaper in high school and absolutely loved journalism, so I totally connected with Piper and her desire to be a journalist and to be always on the hunt for a story. I also loved how she was a scholarships students at an elite private school. I love the Private series by Kate Brian and I was obsessed with the TV show Gossip Girl, so I loved how Piper was thrown into the world of the elite and was like a fish out of water. It was fun seeing Piper really immerse herself into their lives, get to know them, and fall for them as the real people beneath their money and privilege. 

While I liked this book in the beginning, by the end I was not as immersed in the story. Things started going by a little to quickly with not enough explanation and the ending was wrapped up in maybe 10 pages. I wanted so much more after the big climax in the end and I feel like Piper didn't really have to work for what happened at the end. There were also other issues that were explained/resolved in only a sentence or paragraph when they should have been discussed more. Even Piper's own issues with money and college never really seemed completely resolved or dealt with fully in the story. Also, I wanted a lot more background information on our rich and privilege characters. Giselle was not as fleshed out as I wanted her to be and I would have liked more of Raf's past as well. 

While this book started off strong, I was ultimately a bit disappointed with how the characters were fleshed out and how all of the conflicts were (or were not) resolved in the end. I still really connected with Piper's character and loved her drive to becoming a successful journalist. Overall, this was a cute idea and a cute read, but I was left wanting more.

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