Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Hello, my lovelies! You guys should know by now that I think The Fixer is amazing, because I’ve been all shouty about it on social media for weeks now. In case you missed it, here’s my review. Given how freaking impressed I was with The Fixer and how desperately I want the next book in the series, I was so excited to get to be part of the blog tour. First, I’ll give you some more information about the book. First I’ve got Jennifer Lynn Barnes here to talk about the science behind spoilers (so cool, right!??!). Then I’ll give you some more information about the book and, if you keep scrolling, there’s a giveaway because Bloomsbury is so wonderful and generous!

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Now please welcome Jennifer Lynn Barnes who is sharing her psychology professor knowledge with us. 🙂

The Science of Fiction

One of the questions I get a lot as a writer who has a double life as a psychology professor studying the science of books, movies, and television shows is whether or not my work looking at the psychology of stories affects the way I write them. And the answer is that everything I learn about the power of stories from a scientific standpoint changes the way I write. So I thought I’d take the FIXER blog tour as an opportunity to give readers a look into the way my scientist and writer selves work together when I sit down to write a new book.

Part Five: The Psychology of Spoilers

I have very strong feelings about spoilers. In particular, I have strong feelings that the back-cover copy of a book should not spoil the book. My rule of thumb is that if it doesn’t happen in the first fifty pages, it doesn’t go on the back cover of the book. And if it HAS to go on the back cover, it’s only hinted at, not specified. All of which means that I spend a lot of time obsessively re-writing the back-cover copy of my books and sending apologetic notes to my editors going, “That doesn’t happen until page 72!” This was particularly tricky for The Fixer, because when I’m talking about the book, I can say the words “political conspiracy,” but I can’t really go any further than that, because everything about the conspiracy—what it is, how it’s uncovered, the twists and turns that it takes, the connection to the rest of the book—could potentially be viewed as a surprise. I certainly don’t want to be the one to spoil it for people!

All of which is kind of surprising given the fact that: (1) I sometimes seek out spoilers myself, and (2) there’s actually a psychological study that suggests that spoilers may not really spoil stories. The study is called (drum roll please) “Story Spoilers Don’t Spoil Stories,” and it basically asked participants to rate their enjoyment of short stories. Across conditions, some participants were told the ending of the stories and some weren’t. And the people who were told the endings ahead of time actually enjoyed the stories more.

The scientist in me has a lot of questions about this study. For example, I wonder if you’d get the same results if participants read full-length books instead of short stories. I wonder if you’d get the same results if you let participants choose what to read, instead of assigning them reading material. I wonder if it’s worse to spoil someone for something that happens in book three of a series than it is to spoil them for something that happens in book one. I wonder what effects, if any, spoilers have on our ability to form emotional attachments to characters. I’m also pretty darn sure, just from being a person on the internet, that there are individual differences in attitudes toward spoilers. Some people seek them out. Some people avoid them at all costs. And some people, like me, are somewhere in between. I frequently read things (like Wikipedia and IMDB) that might well spoil me for a show or book series, but are not guaranteed to spoil me. And I read the pages with one eye closed, as if that somehow might me less likely to be spoiled.

So why is it that I avoid back-cover spoilers when the jury is still out about how much spoilers would actually spoil the reading experience for any reader? For me, I think the answer comes down to the fact that I don’t want readers to know things that my protagonist doesn’t know. When the back cover of a book tells me something as a reader that the protagonist then spends a hundred pages figuring out, the protagonist starts to seem a little slow. After all, I know what’s going on—why doesn’t she? This is, of course, a challenge for writing in the mystery/thriller genre more broadly, because the readers always know something that my protagonist doesn’t: they know that the protagonist is a character in a mystery/thriller novel! Just like a movie-goer watching a horror movie knows that a character shouldn’t wander off into the woods or go down into the dark basement, a mystery reader has some awareness of genre conventions that the protagonist lacks. All of which means as a writer, I have to be hyper-aware of both what my characters know and what readers know…

And I’m not going to spoil them in back-cover copy.

Further Reading:

Leavitt, J. D., & Christenfeld, N. J. (2011). Story spoilers don’t spoil stories. Psychological science, 22(9), 1152-1154.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes credit Kim Haynes PhotographyAuthor Bio:

Jennifer Lynn Barnes has written several acclaimed young adult novels, including the Raised by Wolves and the Naturals series. She has advanced degrees in psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive science. She received her PhD from Yale University and is now a professor in psychology.


Book Description:The Fixer - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.’s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians’ scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister’s footsteps and becomes D.C.’s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens.

Secrets pile up as each sister lives a double life. . . . until their worlds come crashing together and Tess finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy with one of her classmates and a client of Ivy’s. Suddenly, there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than Tess is willing to pay.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for more in this exciting new series.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters Indigo | Book Depository


The lovely people at Bloomsbury have offered a finished copy for one lucky US reader. Easy entry below. 🙂
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3 responses to “Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes”

  1. Hannah says:

    Ha, I adore spoilers. I spoil myself a lot when it comes to certain books, as well as tv shows/movies. For me, I’ve found it doesn’t lessen my enjoyment – in fact, I’ve found I can focus on the text more, not being in suspense about what is going to happen. But I think I’m in the minority here!
    Hannah recently posted…Review: Everything, Everything – Nicola YoonMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I’m mixed on spoilers. I hate being involuntarily spoiled, and there are some things I really don’t want spoilers for. However, sometimes I do search for spoilers, and I think there are certain things where it’s maybe better to be spoiled.

  2. Dianne says:

    You know I believe in your reviews, Christina, so this is high on my priority list. I love this guest post and how scientific it is! Being a scientist myself (although my field is molecular biology and not psychology), I wanna look into this study! I love spoilers and they make me more excited. Although I do agree that back cover blurbs need to not spoil a lot for the reader. I hate it when I already know what’s gonna happen in the book yet I’m 20% in and still, no clues to the plot hinted at the back cover. Frustrates me so much!
    Dianne recently posted…Book Spine Poetry Sunday (10)My Profile

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