Con Academy – Joe Schreiber

Synopsis

Meet Will Shea, a con artist who has bluffed his way into one of the nation’s most exclusive private schools. But Will isn’t the only scammer at Connaughton Academy—Andrea Dufresne is there too, and the ivy-covered campus isn’t big enough for the both of them.

So they make a bet—and the winner gets more than just a high school diploma. In this twisty tale of secrets, lies, and deception—it’s hard to figure out who’s double-crossing who. May the best con win!

Review

This book was cool, but I couldn’t help but think of Khan Academy (like, the online tutoring site) the whole time.

The plot and the twists were fun. There was one primary con throughout the story, which was relatively simple. I didn’t expect some of the twists involved, thankfully! However, I wish we got to see more day-to-day genius and swindling. From the beginning, I had expectations for some super suave one-liners, à la James Bond. I wanted to see more banter between our con artists, and not necessarily in the form of super-huge public displays of blatant lies. Come on, other people had to catch on to some of this stuff! Did they just not care? Or like, open their eyes? There was one scene in particular (hint: ninjas, administration, and onlookers) that seemed particularly far-fetched. Other things came a little too easily, like the Kant-driven situation. Really now, that’s all it takes to win you over? Also, Andrea could’ve been a bit less one-dimensional. Oh well.

I don’t know if Brandt deserved that much punishment. There are more covert ways to knock people down a peg or two. Plus, money is not what matters most to people like that. He may be greedy, but he can earn a ton from trading in a day or two. That’s how the markets work.

Gatsby was a nice touch (and also, a great name! Don’t knock such a beautiful trainwreck!). I also liked the church scene, but what was the point of those neighbours? I hoped they had been involved in the shady business somehow. It’s nice to believe that Will is starting to redeem himself, but I also felt like what he did with the money was such a waste. Some of the little people probably don’t have much lying around, and I doubt anyone would take those kinds of roles on by choice. And call me horrible, but I think Will would’ve realistically made use of even a little bit of that (e.g. to get to university without having to swindle his way through later on??).

Related Reading

  • How to Lead a Life of Crime – Kirsten Miller
  • Lexicon – Max Barry
  • Boy Nobody – Allen Zadoff
  • Heist Society – Ally Carter

Rating: 3/5

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