"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

09 May 2016

Con Academy

Schreiber, Joe. Con Academy. Houghton Mifflin, 2015.

Will is the newest student at Connaughton Academy, an elite private school for the extremely wealthy. Will, however, is on a scholarship: his church raised money for him to be there after his parents, missionaries to an island in the Pacific, were killed. At least, that's what Will wants you to believe. In truth, he's from New Jersey, his dad's a con artist, and Will is following in his footsteps. But what if a con artist tries to con a fellow con artist? Will they be successful?

This book is on YALSA's Teens Top Ten shortlist for this year, and has also been fairly popular at my library, so I thought I'd check it out. I did manage to finish the book, and although it wasn't my favorite, I can see how it is popular with teens.

What I liked: The book is funny. It's a page-turner. Will is a fairly likeable character in spite of himself. I also like the boarding-school setting because there's a part of me that's still waiting to receive my Hogwarts letter.

What I didn't like: The plot twists, if they can be properly called twists, were too predictable. I don't understand what it's like to be so rich that $50,000 can sound like a "rounding error," as the main antagonist calls it. And Will's family members have few, if any, redeeming qualities.

Overall, the book was entertaining, if not surprising, and would make a good, light beach read.

Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: underage drinking and gambling; Will's father is an alcoholic; Will drugs a fellow student at one point; one girl is kidnapped; a boy is duct-taped naked to a statue and photos of this stunt are posted online
Overall Rating: 3/5 stars

Read-Alikes: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, Etiquette & Espionage, Beauty Queens, The Mockingbirds

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