Kristen Simmons, the author of the Article 5 series and Metaltown, brings her remarkable imagination to this intrigue-filled contemporary drama where good kids are needed to do some very bad things in The Deceivers.
Welcome to Vale Hall, the school for aspiring con artists.
When Brynn Hilder is recruited to Vale, it seems like the elite academy is her chance to start over, away from her mom’s loser boyfriend and her rundown neighborhood. But she soon learns that Vale chooses students not so much for their scholastic talent as for their extracurricular activities, such as her time spent conning rich North Shore kids out of their extravagant allowances.
At first, Brynn jumps at the chance to help the school in its mission to rid the city of corrupt officials—because what could be better than giving entitled jerks what they deserve? But that’s before she meets her mark—a senator’s son—and before she discovers the school’s headmaster has secrets he’ll stop at nothing to protect. As the lines between right and wrong blur, Brynn begins to realize she’s in way over head.
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Simmons (the Article 5 series) pens an action-packed thriller based in Norse mythology, starring Brynn Hilder, a high-school senior who can't wait to break out of her current life. Brynn lives in poverty with her mother and the memory of her recently murdered father in Sikawa City, a fictionalized Chicago. To save for college and her future, Brynn has a job mopping the library, but she also cons people out of their money. When she's recruited by Dr. Odin at the exclusive Vale Hall prep school, she assumes that the admissions department got hold of her scholarship application for college. The school promises "learning, growing, camaraderie, success," but there's a cost: Dr. Odin wants to capitalize on her conning skills to pursue his own secret agenda. Brynn is faced with weighing the future she's always wanted and helping her schoolmates defeat the true villains, and she endures an emotional journey, from a cinematic romance to a full-blown identity crisis. While Simmons creates a convincingly conflicted heroine and lush, memorable images, the characterization of most characters is thin, the plot cluttered, and the fast pace hectic. Ages 13 up.