Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review: Con Academy by Joe Schreiber


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
It's his senior year and Will Shea has conned his way into one of the country's most elite prep schools. But he soon runs into Andrea, a fellow con-artist. With the school not big enough for the both of them, they make a bet that whoever can con Brandt Rush, the richest, most privileged student in the school out of $50K, gets to stay at the school. Will starts setting up his con (an online poker scam) with his uncle who's one of the best grifters in the business, but also with the unwanted help of his father.. The plot thickens as Will starts falling for fellow student Gatsby, and some of Will's lies start to catch up with him.
In this twisty tale of scams, secrets, lies and deception, it hard to figure out who's conning who!

MY TAKE:
I found the summary for this book intriguing so I just had to see what happens next.

In Con Academy, Will Shea has conned his way into Connaughton Academy in the hopes of building a better future for himself. However, he soon finds out that the school already has a con artist and they do not believe they can coexist in the school. They then come up with a bet that will decide who gets to stay. What Will doesn't know, though, is that there's something bigger at play here, and he's not really the one in control.

First off, let me just say that I would love to have studied at Connaughton Academy. The classes look awesome and like the type of courses that will get you in high-paying jobs. The library is also spectacular, and the food at the cafeteria sounds divine.

Anyway, back to the story. I liked that while I thought the story was going one way, it was actually edging closer and closer to another outcome and I didn't even notice it or speculate on it because I was too busy hating Andrea and Will's dad. The final twists were unexpected for me, and while I didn't really agree at first with what happened to the money, the more I think about it, the more I think that Will's decision was the best way to end this story.

There are some genuinely decent characters here, particularly George, the security guard, but majority of the characters are slightly more bad than good. Will is trying to be good, but he did some pretty horrible things back in the day. His father and Andrea were just despicable to me, although they did have some moments wherein they actually seemed okay. For the most part, though, I hated Andrea. She seems manipulative and selfish. Uncle Roy, on the other hand, I really liked. He's a con man, but he's a good mentor and father figure to Will. I also liked Gatsby, although I'm not fully convinced that she's not a con artist of some sort herself. There's something about her back story that just set off alarm bells for me. I don't know if this book is part of a series, but if it is, I'm interested to learn more about Gatsby and if she really is who she appears to be in this book.

Thanks to NetGalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The twists were unexpected and perfect.
  2. The characters are a mix of good and bad so it's harder to tell who the real villains are.
  3. Connaughton Academy seems like a dream school. 

THE BAD:

  1. Andrea was so terrible to Will that I had to stop reading a few times because I was so angry. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You like heist films.
  2. You like thrillers.
  3. You like anti-heroes. 

RATING:
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