CHEATING LESSONS by Nan Willard Cappo


Age Range: 14 & up
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Bernadette Terrell, school debater and all-around scholar and cynic, finds herself captain of the Wickham Wizards, who will challenge that snobby private school, Pinehurst, in the state’ s National Computing Systems Classics Bowl, a competition that boasts a $10,000 scholarship to each winning team member. She can believe that the team scored high enough to enter the competition, but how did they score the highest in the state with a team that includes a class clown and a pompom queen? School sponsor Mr. Malory, their dreamy literature teacher with the English accent, quells Bernadette’s suspicions that someone might have cheated and boosts the team’s confidence. But just as Bernadette begins to accept her team as champions, she discovers that, in fact, someone did tamper with their entry tests and is now feeding them competition questions before the event. While the cheater is obvious from the start, what is not clear is how Bernadette will handle this ethical issue. In addition to studying all the classics, the girl also learns that doing the right thing is not a black-and-white decision and that even doing the right thing has its own consequences. Being on a team also forces Bernadette to see beyond the superficial qualities of her team members. Although Cappo’s first novel is a satisfying read with interesting characters and a moral dilemma, its content, which is heavy-handed in classics bowl and debate skills, will appeal only to readers with similar interests. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-84378-X
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2001