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Con Academy
ISBN: 9780544320208
Author: Schreiber, Joe
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published: August 2015
Retail: $17.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 84%
Binding Type: Hardcover
Annotation: Con man Will Shea may have met his match in scammer Andrea Dufresne as they make a high-stakes deal that will determine who gets to stay at Connaughton Academy, one of the most elite and privileged preparatory schools in the country, and who must leave.
Additional Information
Target Grade: 7-9
Grade level: 7-9
Physical Information: 1.00" H x 100.00" L x 6.00" W
Bargain Category: Mystery, Middle School, Math, Fantasy
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Spring)
Will Shea and Andrea Dufresne faked identities to win scholarships to New England's elite Connaughton Academy. Wary of detection, they develop a high-stakes contest: whoever cons a classmate out of ten thousand dollars stays. Enter Brandt Rush, a wheeler-dealer who practically runs Connaughton, and the trio of unlikable characters is in place. Schreiber's plot is pure fun, deliciously convoluted, and full of surprises.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2015 #4)
New England's elite Connaughton Academy sure does attract interesting students. Will Shea, for one, is on scholarship from the tiny Pacific island of Ebeye. Andrea Dufresne is a "poor scholarship student from a displaced village in the Balkans." Problem is, none of that is true. They both faked identities and forged transcripts to get into Connaughton, and now, wary of detection, they develop a high-stakes contest: whoever cons a classmate into handing over ten thousand dollars gets to stay at Connaughton. Enter Brandt Rush, a rich wheeler-dealer who practically runs Connaughton, and the trio of unlikable characters is in place. Halfway through the novel, though, just when the story fairly sags with meanness and duplicity, it turns out there's an "antidote" to the influence of such students -- a secret society called the Sigils into which a cute girl named Gatsby tries to recruit Will. ("‘We're outsiders, Will…Like you.' I just look back at her…I'm an outsider, all right. She has no idea.") Though the setting is a stereotype of any wealthy boarding school, Schreiber's plot is pure fun, deliciously convoluted and full of surprises, not the least of which is the possibility that Will might actually stay in school, stop running, and maybe even learn to play lacrosse. The lessons he learns are didactically drawn, but readers will enjoy the scams and appreciate the note of hope on which the novel concludes. dean schneide Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2015 June)

Gr 6–10—The author successfully weaves a plot that is humorous and intriguing. Shea is an active con artist who has stealthily gained admission to one of the most prestigious prepatory high schools in New England, Connaughton Academy. However, he hits a snag when a fellow student Dufrescne figures out his well-orchestrated plan. Readers are then left to follow Shea as he tries to navigate life at Connaughton. This novel successfully mirrors such films as Ocean's Eleven as well as Mission Impossible and makes the text accessible to a younger audience. The language is realistic and there is no overt graphic violence. Themes such as deception, camaraderie, and power are also present in this work. Teens who enjoy reading about strong male protagonists and intelligent, quirky titles, such as Mary Elizabeth Summers's Trust Me, I'm Lying (Delacorte, 2014) and J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, will connect with the characters in this volume. Similarly, fans of books about underdogs will find themselves rooting for Shea. Teens might have to suspend disbelief about the ease with which Shea as able to get into this prestigious prep school. This plot-driven narrative is entertaining and the characters are likable. VERDICT A worthwhile purchase for most library collections.—Katie Flynn, Williston Northampton School Library, MA

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