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And Puzzles And Codes, I Imagine They Lay Down To You Like Lovers

Get swept up in The Conspiracy of Us, the action-packed debut from Maggie Hall.

And Puzzles And Codes, I Imagine They Lay Down To You Like Lovers

BOOK REPORT for The Conspiracy of Us (The Conspiracy of Us #1) by Maggie Hall

Cover Story: Go West, Young Fancy Dress
BFF Charm: Single White Female
Swoonworthy Scale: 7.5
Talky Talk: Page Turner
Bonus Factors: Da Vinci Code, Globetrotting, Being Rich
Relationship Status: Whirlwind Romance

Cover Story: Go West, Young Fancy Dress

You could argue that this is an appropriate use of Fancy Dress, given that the main character wears a ballgown at some point. (Although it's gray, not blue.) Buuuuuuut you could also argue that there are at least a hundred things in this book that would've made for a better cover--The Louvre! The Eiffel Tower! The winding streets of Istanbul! I get that the compass is a symbol in the story, but really, it's just rubbing salt in the wound by reminding me of all of the other directions this artwork could have gone.

The Deal:

Thanks to a father who ditched her and a mother whose job constantly moves them from place to place, Avery West has become the world's best builder of emotional walls. She never gets attached; she never gets her hopes up; she never cares too much. But when Jack, the hot new guy in school, asks her to prom a few days before her next move, she decides that lowering her guard for one night can't hurt.

Of course, she's completely wrong. Her walls--and her entire life--are blown to bits when Jack informs her that she's a member of one of the twelve families in the Circle, a secret community that controls the world. After being whisked away to Paris with the promise of finding her father, a member of one of the families, Avery quickly becomes entangled in the deadly politics surrounding an ancient prophecy and, together with Jack, dives into a dangerous race against time to unlock it.

BFF Charm: Single White Female

I think Avery's a good gal--she's smart and spunky, but like any real teenager, she has the occasional confidence crash. Maybe it's because her personality is a little bland, or maybe it's because I was boiling over with envy for her fabulous new life, but I found it waaaay too easy to project myself into her shoes. Sure, there's the pesky threat of imminent death, but that's a minor detail when you're jet-setting around the world with not one but two insanely attractive men. (More on them below.) And did I mention the fact that the Circle, and therefore Avery, is filthy rich? When she needs a ballgown, the entire Prada store in Paris closes just for her. Um, Avery, if you ever need help living your life, I'M HERE FOR YOU GIRL.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7.5

So, Jack is what's known as a Keeper, which is just an artsy name for the families' bodyguards. He's noble, handsome and British, so even a tree would have chemistry with him, and since Avery is a living, breathing, very pretty girl, there are immediate sparks. Stoking that fire is the fact that Keepers are forbidden from romantic relations with family members. CUE THE DELICIOUS TENSION.

I am definitely a fan of Jack, but I was also crushing hard on another Keeper, Stellan, who is ruthless, sexy and Russian. It's not clear from this book whether or not there's a love triangle in the works, but there's clearly an attraction, and Stellan has a pet Russian name for Avery SO girlfriend might have a serious problem on her hands. And by serious problem I mean hot dudes. On her hands. LUCKY DUCK.

Talky Talk: Page Turner

This book hits the ground running and doesn't waste time with flowery descriptions or reflective interludes. While Maggie Hall takes care to develop her characters and carve out some emotional depth, the main focus is on the action and the intrigue, and that's totally fine by me.

Bonus Factor: Da Vinci Code

It's easy to suspend disbelief once you've downed Hall's magic potion of history and conspiracy theories. Like one of Stefon's clubs, this book has everything: Napoleon, clues hidden in artwork, the Illuminati (a.k.a. the Circle), Alexander the Great, a hidden tomb, an enigmatic prophecy and more. And the best part? So far, it all makes sense!

Bonus Factor: Globetrotting

It only takes 40 pages for Avery to get from Minnesota to Paris, where the rest of the book takes place (with the exception of a quick jaunt to Istanbul). Seeing as how international locales are on my YA milk carton, I relished this escape to foreign places.

Bonus Factor: Being Rich

Fringe benefit to ruling the world: you get ALL THE MONEY. Like, one of the Circle families lives in the Louvre. They party with world leaders and famous actors. They buy luxury brands like they're shopping at Target. They take private jets to Turkey just to hit up a club for one night. In other news, I am OPEN FOR ADOPTION.

Casting Call:

Poppy Drayton as Avery

Douglas Booth as Jack

Austin Butler as Stellan

Relationship Status: Whirlwind Romance

From the captivating premise to the relentless pacing, I got some major thrills from this book, and I'm very thankful that I don't have too wait too long to get more action (if you know what I mean) from the sequel, which will be released on on March 8th. COME TO MAMA.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from G.P. Putnam's Sons, but got neither cocktails nor money in exchange for this review (dammit). The Conspiracy of Us is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).