Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
The Insiders is the first in a brand new, page-turning romance trilogy from New York Times bestseller, Tijan!
Bailey is as normal as could be, with a genius IQ and a photographic memory. But still, normal for her. Then, things happen—a guy breaks into her house in the middle of the night to take her hostage. She finds out her father is actually billionaire tech genius Peter Francis, the same guy she’s idolized all her life. She learns all this when she meets dark, mysterious, and electrifying Kashton Colello. He’s an associate of her father’s, and he gives Bailey two choices—go with him and meet her father or survive on her own because those kidnappers are going to try again. It’s a no-brainer.
After this, three things become clear for Bailey:
1. She’s living at her father’s sprawling estate, complete with bodyguards and the best security that money can buy.
2. She’s no longer an only child. She has three siblings and has no idea what to do with them and vice versa.
3. She is being guarded by Kash himself. Personally guarded. And there is a lot of guarding going on there and some of it is going to drive her crazy.
A complete outsider in a world of wealth and decadence, Bailey has to find her way within a family that has more secrets than she could have imagined. One of these secrets could be deadly…
Have you ever been addicted to a book and had no idea why you were addicted to it? That’s how I felt with The Insiders. It was kind of a mess in some ways, but brilliant in others.
Tijan has an obvious voice in her writing. There’s something about the way that she writes that pulls me in. There is a familiarity in the rambling, redundant train of thought her characters have. In some ways it’s like coming home, in others it makes all her female main characters feel a little too much alike. Luckily, each has at least one unique quality that prevents them from being carbon copies. Bailey was an incredibly intelligent young woman with a photographic memory. She was close to her mother. She was an introvert without athletic ability. She did have daddy issues like many other Tijan characters, and that was a major part of the plot. Bailey, like the rest of Tijan’s female characters, was an underdog I couldn’t help rooting for.
Bailey’s love interest in this book was Kash, her father’s right hand man. I have to admit I had a hard time buying into the instant love thing going on between Bailey and Kash. I totally got the physical attraction by the descriptions, but the mental connection was what was missing for me. That being said, I appreciate the way the men in Tijan’s books stand up for their women, support them, and love them. There’s always a jealous female or two, but they don’t break the emotional connection the MCs have. The Insiders was entirely in Bailey’s POV so Kash felt like a complete mystery throughout most of the book. It wasn’t until almost the end that I understood his reasonings and feelings a bit more. I’m hoping in future books he’s going to get a POV. Even though I still feel like I don’t know him well enough after this book, I could feel his dedication to Bailey.
As always, Tijan’s side characters were fantastic. Bailey’s other younger siblings were sweet in their own ways. I hated and loved Matthew, the poor messed up guy that he was. I can also tell there are some female friendships for Bailey that are going to turn out to be strong connections I’ll love in future books. Bailey’s parents played a big part in this book. I liked her mom, but the jury is still out on her dad for me. Heck, even the “bad guys” were great characters who snuck up on me. I won’t say who they are, but I liked them.
Now I’m going to get down to the messiest thing about The Insiders for me. The plot. I hate to say it, but the majority of the books felt like it was lacking a plot. Everything felt surface level. Bailey was on this almost redundant road to nowhere. Nights with her man, hanging out with Matthew, connecting with the little kids, all while worrying about her relationship with her father and her possible kidnappers. It kind of felt like things were going nowhere until BAM! everything came into focus towards the end. Once revelations starting coming, they didn’t stop. It was like fast forward had been pushed and everything started happening all at once. I finally got it then, the lead up. I understood and liked this book even more. It’s weird to admit, but I didn’t mind when the book felt like there wasn’t much of a plot. I was still addicted. And that addiction paid off in big ways. Some I saw coming, some I should have seen coming, and some that truly surprised me.
So, yeah. Sorry this review is a little rambling. I just wanted to make sure I got everything across about how I felt about The Insiders. It was a hard book to rate. I couldn’t decide if it deserved 3 or 4 stars from me. It wasn’t my favorite book by Tijan (How can anything beat the FCH series?), but it I enjoyed every minute of it. It left me wanting to know more about basically everything. I’m happy this will be a three book series, so that I can get to know Kash better and find out what happens in Bailey’s life.
I buddy read this book with Kayla from Books and Blends. If you’re curious about her thoughts, you can check out her review on her blog.