Diplomatic Immunity: Diplomatic? More like Problematic | Book Review


Title: Diplomatic Immunity

Author: Brodi Ashton

Published: September 6th 2016 by Balzer + Bray

Length: 368 pages

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Goodreads Synopsis:

Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love?

My Rating: 2/5 stars


Oh, man, this book. Where to start. This book was like entering a cave filled with deadly booby-traps. You gotta make it through all these obstacles to reach the treasure. However, in this book, instead of spikes and alligators (are there alligators in caves?) and rolling boulders, there were cliches, degrading descriptions, and extreme predictability. However, if you’re willing to put your blinders on, just get tunnel-vision and sprint head-first toward the ending, the story isn’t bad. There’s definitely some charming elements, and in the end the story wraps up neatly. AKA why I didn’t give it one star.

For me, however, the negative aspects were just impossible to ignore. I was getting impaled by spikes and flattened by boulders everywhere. I tried and failed to brush it off. (Unfortunately, this review is mainly going to be negative. I’ll try not to rant, but I might. However, don’t let my opinion ruin this book for you. I’ll link some positive reviews at the end, because, really, the story isn’t bad.) Put bluntly, the two things that jumped out at me the most were the romanticism and degradation of Spanish culture, and the slut-shaming.

Let’s talk about some good things first:

  • Brodi Ashton
    • The author of this book is one of the three authors of the amazingly written book My Lady Jane. That book was whimsical and hilarious. Those elements carry through to this one. Piper’s dialogue/thought-process and the witty banter between her and Raf are some of the best parts of this book. It’s funny and it’s charming. Two of my favorite things.
  • Diversity
    • 1. The love interest is Spanish! Rafael Amador is a PoC love interest who is not american-ized, which is fantastic, and 2. his brother and the main character’s brother are both on the autistic spectrum, which was informative and actually handled very well in the story.
  • That’s it. There’s nothing else.

The bad things:

  • This book started off so well! There was a cozy moment in Piper’s house with her family and a well-written and realistic scene of Piper and her best friend in their school’s journalism club. But then, only a mere 20 pages into it, Rafael, or “Raf”, is introduced. As “exotic” and “yum”, and our snarky, independent protagonist turns into a pile of useless mush. Ughhhh.
  • SPEAKING OF, Piper had a weird way of describing and trying to understand Raf’s culture and lifestyle. Which made me kind of uncomfortable.
    • For example: 

“I’m Piper”

“Pipper?” he said as he darted around a group of students. “Nice to meet you. I’m Raf.”

“It’s not ‘Pipper’-”

“You prefer just ‘Pip’?”

I sighed. Maybe we should wait to discuss personal details until we had only the language barrier and not the wardrobe malfunction to deal with.

Which is fine, except for the fact that he speaks in perfect English and there is no “language barrier”.

“Why do you care who I date?”

Fritz looked rather impatient, but Raf was standing his ground in my kitchen.

“Because we’re friends now,” he said.

Maybe that’s how they treat friends in Spain.

I mean, I’m pretty sure this is just how friendship works in general.

Handsome. Gorgeous. With brilliant eyes. Is that how they grow eyelashes in Spain?

I don’t even know what to say about this one.

I sighed and shook my head. “You Spaniards are weird.”

“The physicist was Austrian, but that’s neither here nor there.”

At least Raf called her out on it. Jeez.

There’s honestly plenty more but I’m just going to stop here because this is probably getting annoying and excessive.

  • There’s so much slut-shaming. It’s crazy. I’m only going to limit myself to three quotes this time.

As the woman shook her head in front of the press corps, mascara tears streamed down her face, making her look even more like a prostitute.

Like, what??? What kind of logic is that? Wearing mascara and crying does not make you anything, and does not warrant you being called a prostitute.

There were several girls on the dance floor about whom one could make the argument that they were dressed like prostitutes.

Okay, 1. that is an atrociously worded sentence, and 2. who cares?

I noticed a woman dressed in barely there glittery material holding the steel door open for him. As he walked in, she put her arm around him. She was hot. She was probably college age. She’d probably never set foot in a college.

There’s a lot to unpack here. I don’t really think I want to. I’m just gonna move on.

  • The ending was, again, extremely predictable. If you read the blurb and you think you know how it’s going to go down, then you are most likely right.

tl;dr: This book has a cute story and sometimes cute dialogue, but there were just some glaring problems that weighed it down. I can definitely see how people can enjoy it, but, for me, 2/5 stars.

Don’t just take my word for it! Here’s some positive reviews:

Reading Lark’s review

Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup’s Review

Helen’s Book Blog’s Review

Did you guys read this? Do you think I’m overthinking things? Do you agree with part or all of my review? Should I give her Everneath series a try? Let me know!!


6 thoughts on “Diplomatic Immunity: Diplomatic? More like Problematic | Book Review

  1. Oh my god. So many problematic statements and quotes! The protagonist sounds like she stereotypes people a lot, and I’m not a big fan of that. Your review of this reminds me of Hello, I Love You, though in that book it was Korean culture that was being stereotyped. And ugh, the slut-shaming… Even if the plot was amazing I don’t reckon I’ll be reading this book. Thanks for your honest review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I hope those stereotypes were just the character’s ignorance and not the author’s. And thanks for the heads up on Hello, I Love You, I won’t be picking that one up either. I’m also hearing that A Darkly Beating Heart is extremely stereotypical as well, but with Japanese culture. I really hope this isn’t becoming a trend!!


      1. I hope so too! I’m usually OK with ignorant characters just as long as they get called out on it, either by the text or by other characters… did they not in this book?

        I’ll keep an eye out for A Darkly Beating Heart and make sure to avoid it! I’ve never heard of it before. 🤔


      2. No! I agree that would be fine if it was part of a character arc or something, but her opinions didn’t change at the end. And Rafael never really brought it up, which was weird when the main character was stereotyping his country to his face. And A Darkly Beating Heart just came out a few weeks ago. I’ve seen some reviews but I haven’t read it though, so I might be wrong.


      3. That’s so weird, and I think reaffirmed my decision not to pick up this book. It’s such a shame – it’s a huge missed opportunity and the author could’ve done something great with it. 🤔

        I guess we’ll see about A Darkly Beating Heart!

        Liked by 1 person

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