CHEATER by Michael Laser


Age Range: 14 & up
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When a student’s life is laid waste by an evil school vice-principal with a McCarthy-like penchant for hunting down cheaters, geek genius extraordinaire Karl Petrofsky steps up to the plate and conspires to aid and abet a band of Robin Hood–like rogue cheaters in his high school. Cue the wiretaps, radio signals, iPods, hidden microphones and James Bond soundtrack. Make no mistake, though, this is not another tiresome title about the stress and angst of testing. Laser’s wry, snarky narrator keeps the chuckles coming with an offstage drum roll–like pacing, and his slick action sequences fly like a spy novel, complete with enough cool gadgets and gizmos to keep Alex Rider entertained for weeks. The characters are offbeat, well-drawn and simultaneously slimy and lovable. The message isn’t all yuks, however, especially when Laser uncovers an ugly political underbelly beneath the city’s education system. The lines between right and wrong become skewed as Karl begins to question authority and his future, and what results is a full-on Animal Farm style attack on No Child Left Behind, where readers find themselves illicitly cheering for the underdogs. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-525-47826-3
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2008