Desert Dark

Desert Dark by Sonja Stone

Deep, funny, and action-packed. Desert Dark by Sonja Stone was a compelling read, with many wonderful characters.

Nadia Riley would do anything to avoid school, ever since her boyfriend cheated on her with her best friend. The answer to her prayers present themselves when a man invites her to go to Desert Mountain Academy, a government-funded school for qualifying students because of her exceptional talent at solving codes. Nadia readily agrees.

At her new school, Nadia soon finds out that she hasn’t been accepted to a normal school. In fact, Desert Mountain Academy is a training camp for future CIA agents! She also realizes that she was chosen as a replacement for a student that died in a car accident, and is behind everyone else because of her late start. Some of her teammates don’t hesitate to point out that she’s dragging them down with her. Worst of all? There is a traitor at Desert Mountain Academy, and everyone thinks it is her. After discovering a few pieces of incriminating evidence in her room, Nadia realizes someone is trying to frame her, and she has to find out who before it’s too late.

I adored this book. I’m a big fan of anything spy-ish/mystery/thriller related and this book was everything I needed. Nadia is an amazing character that, despite some of her extraordinary abilities, is very easy to relate to. The other characters (her teammates) are also well-developed and rounded out, with each their own backstory and subplot. The story advances by being told in each their point of views. This book made me laugh more than it probably meant to, and I devoured it satisfyingly fast.

Desert Dark gets a 9/10. The missing 1/10? Some of the scenes were entirely predictable (her inevitable relationship with the rule-following team leader, Jack, and their misunderstandings because of the whole traitor thing, wink wink). The story ended with most of the loose ends tied, but there still was a sequel written which I HAD to read (obviously); Dark Divide by Sonja Stone. I have to warn you, though, the sequel might even be better than the first book. Anyway, if you like mysteries, Desert Dark is the book you’re searching for.