Summary: Locked away at Pecan Place, Jessie finds her situation to be even more dangerous than she feared. While she struggles to maintain her sanity and discover answers about the group that seems less and less like any legitimate government agency, Pietr fights to keep their relationship alive. But very aware that his mother’s time is running out, Pietr makes a deal he doesn’t dare tell Jessie about. Because the deal Pietr’s made could mean the death of far more than his tenuous relationship with the girl he loves.
Review: Upon picking up my ARC I didn’t immediately recall that we had left Jessie in such a tenuous place and I wasn’t quite ready to be thrown into the fray. However, Shannon Delany backtracks a little bit in the timeline to give us a chance to get up to speed. Of course, once you’re caught up, it’s impossible to put down.
Ms. Delany has done something different with this book by switching viewpoints between Alexi and Jessie. It's as if she were giving you pages out of their journals, each one labeled so there is no confusion. It was an interesting approach and I think it worked well for this installment of the 13 to Life series. Not once did I groan that she was changing view points because each change furthered the story.
Because Jessie is so mature in some ways, it is hard to remember she’s still a teen and therefore some naïveté is to be expected; Jessie is doing her Nancy Drew style investigating while being locked up but is not cynical after all she’s been through. I admit to being frustrated with Alexi in this book for letting Pietr shoulder the burden. As their guardian it should have been his responsibility to find a solution, instead, Alexi is relieved to step aside and let Pietr handle things.
Things have heated up for the characters -on all fronts. Some fairly serious topics are broached in this book. The teens have moral dilemmas that would make a grown-ups head spin, but they don't drown in them; they learn and grow along the way. Nothing is glossed over so the seriousness of situations is not lost. I think Ms. Delany does a fantastic job giving the reader details without giving too much details.
I hoped I knew where the story was heading but I certainly wasn't sure. Nothing is a sure thing in this series, and I love that about Ms. Delany's writing. Even though Jessie and Pietr seem destined to be, maybe they won't make it. How much is too much for a relationship to endure? I'm glad, after three books, Shannon Delany can keep me on the edge of my seat.
Though the ending is far from neat and tidy, it was not the cliff hanger that Secrets and Shadows was, and for that I'm grateful. I was weeping and cheering at the end, but I won't spoil it for you by mentioning more than that. I have grown to love all of the Jessie's friends and family, and I can't wait to see where Ms. Delany takes us next. I think Bargains and Betrayals is her best book yet.