Author: Margaux Froley
Published: March 12th 2013
Genre: YA Mystery
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Caution: May contain spoilers
Sixteen-year-old Devon Mackintosh has always felt like an outsider at Keaton, the prestigious California boarding school perched above the Pacific. As long as she’s not fitting in, Devon figures she might as well pad her application to Stanford’s psych program. So junior year, she decides to become a peer counselor, a de facto therapist for students in crisis. At first, it seems like it will be an easy fly-on-the-wall gig, but her expectations are turned upside down when Jason Hutchins (a.k.a. “Hutch”), one of the Keaton’s most popular students, commits suicide.
Devon dives into her new role providing support for Hutch’s friends, but she’s haunted by her own attachment to him. The two shared an extraordinary night during their first week freshman year; it was the only time at Keaton when she felt like someone else really understood her. As the secrets and confessions pile up in her sessions, Devon comes to a startling conclusion: Hutch couldn't have taken his own life. Bound by her oath of confidentiality—and tortured by her unrequited love—Devon embarks on a solitary mission to get to the bottom of Hutch's death, and the stakes are higher than she ever could have imagined.
I originally got this book via NetGalley but was unable to finish it. However, the first chapters alone had me HOOKED so once I was able to buy it, I was excited to get back to it. There was something incredibly intense about Devon and Hutch, I had to know what really happened to him.
The story starts with the moment they shared together in Freshman year. This moment, involving Nutter Butters and pancakes, is so beyond incredible. In between what is going on at present, we hear bits and pieces of that day. This is what attached me to Devin and Hutch. Especially Hutch. Why? Because the things he said to her that day resonated with me big time. Like these:
“Because I figure there's two kinds of people in the world. The ones who do everything that's laid out for them, the supposed-tos, and then there's the people that look above it and do what they want to do. I prefer the latter, but maybe that's just me. A not-supposed to.”
“I just like the idea of looking back at my life and feeling like I made different choices than everyone else, you know? Most people are inherently boring if you really dig deep. They don't want much, they don't veer from their chosen path, and they're generally scared of change. I don't know, at least that's how my grandfather tells it. I don't want to be like fifty and realize that I was one of those people who didn't bother to think outside the box.”
And that's not all. There was something infinitely amazing about their connection that day. It was like this perfect moment in time. Inescapable in its perfection. I get chills thinking about it.
Back to the present... As she conducts the therapy sessions with her peers, she begins to put pieces together. Based on what she learned of him that one day, and what she's gathering now, she just knows that Hutch couldn't possibly kill himself. She knows it's up to her to find out the truth because everyone else seems convinced that it was suicide. Throughout this ordeal in the aftermath of his death, she deals with a lot--having to console Hutch's friends and attempting to come to terms with it herself. And in the end, she does find out the truth.
Escape Theory was a stunning novel. It delves deep into the way people are and what they become when they are placed in certain situations. The romance between Devon and Hutch... simply beautiful. Margaux Froley kept me entranced by their story, from their moment to their last moment. It tore me up and sewed me back together again. Very impressive and a must read.