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.
Read an excerpt of Escape Theory. http://bit.ly/Yi5DZf
About the Author
Margaux Froley grew up in Santa Barbara, California, and attended not one, but two boarding schools during her high school years in California and Oxford, England. She studied film at University of Southern California, and has worked for such television networks as: TLC, CMT, Travel, MTV, and the CW. She currently lives in Los Angeles and still loves Nutter Butters. Escape Theory is her first novel.
Read an Excerpt
By Margaux Froley
Soho TeenCopyright © 2013 Margaux Froley
All right reserved.
September 5, 2012
Devon’s eye caught the harsh glare of the setting sun. She blinked and looked down, realizing she was rubbing her right palm where Hutch had kissed her years before.
"Devon? Are you sure you can handle this?”
She looked up at Mr. Robins. The sunlight suffused the wooden blinds behind him, highlighting the chaos of his curly brown hair. He scrunched his flabby cheeks, pushing his thick, black-rimmed glasses further up his nose. A bushy eyebrow flickered. He wanted an answer.
“Devon? If it’s too much—”
“No, Mr. Robins. It’s fine. I can handle it,” she said.
He leaned back in his chair. “Good. You’re certain?”
“I’m certain,” she said. Her voice tightened.
“And remember from the training guide, you don’t need to have all the answers. You just need to listen. That’s the most important thing you can do for them right now.”
The backlighting found the details in Mr. Robins’s tired face: the end-of-day stubble around his chin and upper lip, the wrinkles that were beginning to make a home at the edge of his eyes. He looked as exhausted as she felt. “Your fellow students are really going to need you.”
“Whoever you think needs a session, I’m here to help,” she said.
“Whomever,” he corrected her.
“Sorry, whomever,” she said through gritted teeth.
“You don’t have to do the push-ups this time,” he offered.
“Thanks,” Devon seethed. Could he really be thinking about grammar right now? Mistaking ‘who’ and ‘whom’ in front of Mr. Robins actually resulted in push-ups. Sometimes the whole class would have to do them for one person’s mistake. But, no, even he had no interest in these Keaton-isms today. He studied his fingernails.
“Imagine if my program had been around earlier. Maybe Jason would have sought refuge in a peer instead of turning his anger inward….”
“I realize we’ve only been through a basic amount of training over the summer, but we’ll do the best we can, hmm?” He flashed Devon a tight-lipped smile. It was at once a supportive gesture combined with a hint of I’m watching you.
Devon nodded. What do you mean ‘we’? You’re not the one being thrown into the lion’s den, she wanted to say.
“Like I said, I’m here to help. So, if we’re good here….” she let the words drag out, but Mr. Robins didn’t get the hint. He was still pondering the mystery of his fingernails.
“You know, if you and Jason were close we can arrange—”
“Hutch. And no, not really. We talked a bit freshman year, but that was like once, ages ago . . . no, I’m fine. These things happen.” Devon took a deep breath to keep her rising thoughts from spilling out. These things happen. Like getting locked in an off-limits kitchen with a guy after curfew. Sure, that happens all the time. Those damn Nutter Butters. That night in the kitchen.Their night in the kitchen.
Mr. Robins started shuffling through papers on his desk. “You should get yourself some dinner.”
Devon jumped up. As she swung her worn-in backpack over a shoulder she caught a glimpse of her own haggard reflection in the window. She’d grown a few inches since freshman year. That flat chest was no longer a problem by the time she was a sophomore. She now lived in the Keaton sweats she used to loathe, and kept her hair in a messy ponytail most of the time. It was as if someone had thrown her chipper freshman RA, June, the month, into a washing machine—and Devon was what came out, her smile left behind long ago in the spin cycle.
“Thanks,” she said on autopilot.
“I’ll send Matt over to you first thing tomorrow,” Mr. Robins replied, focusing on his desk. “Classes will be cancelled, so you can take all the time you think you need. Just remember what we talked about this summer; listen, take notes, and then we’ll discuss afterwards, okay?”
The next thing she knew, Devon was standing in front of the milk machine in the dining hall. It was all the same meaningless swirl: The dull whispering voices of other students eating dinner, faculty trying to keep their toddlers quiet out of respect, and the kitchen staff yelling behind the scenes. Noise in a place that should have been dark and empty.All I wanted was some milk.
What would she do if she could go back to that night? Would she have done it differently? She wanted to experience that newness again. She thought of that apple juice dribbling down his chin. What if he hadn’t been there in the dark? She would have just gone back to her dorm without the milk. She would have shared that bag of cookies with the girls in her dorm and watched Bring it On. She wouldn’t know him like she did. And she wouldn’t be feeling this . . . whatever feeling the gnawing pit in her stomach was called. She wouldn’t be feeling that.
But Hutch was there in the dark. And despite what had happened over the last two years, however less frequent their conversations became, however much his secret glances at her across the classroom dwindled, she did know him.
A plate clattered to the floor somewhere in the back of the dining hall. She heard applause for the klutz at fault. A few people laughed. How is anyone laughing right now?
Hutch was right; he’d always been right. They were just a bunch of organ donors. Drones cycling through the prep school system and getting spit out on the other end with their fancy college acceptance letters in hand. They were moving parts in the machine. Replaceable parts.
But Hutch wasn’t replaceable.
Devon hated them. Hated that she was one of them. She had become a part of their machine. The same machine that Hutch had tried so hard not to be a piece of.
The words escaped her lips before she could stop herself.
“ . . . bunch of organ donors.”
The metal milk machine blurred in front of her, morphing into a rippling molten bubble. She reached for a glass, but her hand looked fuzzy. Only then did she realize she’d been crying.
Excerpted from Escape Theory by Margaux Froley Copyright © 2013 by Margaux Froley. Excerpted by permission of Soho Teen, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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What People are Saying About This
"Escape Theory is a riveting psychological journeyMargaux Froley truly nails it. The characters sing on the pages, the mystery leaves you breathless, and the world is spooky but recognizableyou feel like you're in the thick of things with Devon every step of the way. I will never think of Nutter Butters the same again, and I can't wait for the next Keaton School installment!"
—Sara Shepard New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars
“A sexy, smart, page turner, a must read!”
—Octavia Spencer, Academy Award winning star of The Help
“Escape Theory kept me up way past curfew, with no regrets.”
—Cecily von Ziegesar, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gossip Girl
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My Thoughts: 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. My Rating: Very Good
This was a wonderful book with a wonderful story. It shows how you can see your flaws through others and make changes for the better. I highly recommend it.
Wow...who knew boarding school was so exciting and fraught with mystery and peril? Well, I guess everyone who read the books or saw the movies of Harry Potter. Bt this school has no magic or wizards, just the usual high school angst cranked up to 11 because when you live with your peers, there's no getting away from your unrequited crushes, your mistakes...or the realization that comes too late that you JUST SHOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING! During the first week of her first year at boarding school, Devon felt like an outsider until one night's secret adventure had her spending stolen time with "Hutch," the guy who would soon become Mr. Popularity and move out of her orbit. But that was 2 years ago...and now Hutch, the golden boy of campus is dead of an apparent suicide. It didn't matter that Hutch would never OD on oxy, at least according to the people who new him best...that was the verdict that the school and his family, as much as they tried to hush up the news, was pushing. But Devon, even though they had never really kept up, knew that the connection she had forged with Hutch those years ago was a true one, and she was not buying the story. So, using her position as a Peer Counselor - a pilot program which would help her get in to Stanford - Devon commences her talks with anyone close to Hutch who needs assistance with their grief in order to find out the truth of what really happened that horrible evening when a wonderful guy lost his life too young. But who will help Devon with her secret grief? A wonderful story that contains mystery, scarily casual misuse of prescription drugs, and a romance that might have bloomed make Margaux Froley's first book in the Keaton School series a must read.
Devon has always been on the outside at the boarding school she attends. She decides to sign up as a peer counselor to add some extra padding to her college application. She thinks it will be an easy job but a student called Hutch commits suicide and Devon soon learns many secrets from the kids she is counselling. She does know Hutch as she had a fun night with him years ago when she first came to the school. What she knows from that night and what she hears leads her to believe Hutch would never kill himself and she believes he was murdered. Now she tries to track down who did it and why. I really enjoyed this book as it really is a mystery. Most people believe Hutch did it to himself and doubt Devon cause after all she really wasn't one of his friends. She tries her best to track down his history these last few years at school and she really finds out more than she ever would have known about him. She also knows the Hutch that noone else knew the one who told her things he didn't anyone else. I like seeing the moments between Devon and Hutch in flashbacks. You get to see a different side of her and a different side to Hutch. Devon does manage to get a few friends from her counselling job even if some of them don't believe her about Hutch and want her to mind her own business. She never backs down from her belief and often gets into bad situations. This story does draw you in cause with all you hear about teens it is quite believable and you never really know what is going to happen to the end.