CON ACADEMY by Joe Schreiber


Age Range: 14 - 18
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A boy from a con-artist family cheats his way into an exclusive private school only to find a rival grifter at work there.

Will isn’t trying to take anyone’s money this time. He only wants to get away from his drunk dad to get a good start in life among the billionaire class at the uber-elite Connaughton Academy. However, he soon meets Andrea, who instantly sees through the sob story that earned him a scholarship because she has a similar one herself. She’s also a small-time con artist, and she bets Will that she can bilk $50,000 from Brandt, the school’s resident billionaire jerk, before he does. Whoever gets the money first stays at the school, and the other leaves. Complications emerge in the form of Will’s dad, who wants to get in on the con, and Gatsby (really), a student library aide who might spell both trouble and romance. Schreiber keeps the narrative moving along briskly as he gets Will into and out of trouble, and he doesn’t let him off the hook without an examination of ethics. Will comes across as a crafty but essentially good kid with whom readers can identify. While a few too many con artists appear to be congregating in one spot for credibility, and Brandt approaches the cartoonish, nevertheless the twists and turns keep the fun skipping along.

Quick and entertaining, this comic romp fulfills its promising setup. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-544-32020-8
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: HMH Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2015


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