Monday, July 27, 2015

Tricky Pick: Con Academy

Con Academy
by Joe Schreiber
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
236 pages
ISBN: 9780544320208

Available August 4, 2015

Once you pick up Con Academy, you won't put it down!  What a fun, conniving jaunt! This speedy read is all-out raucous, double and triple crosses abound, and readers will root for Will to come out on top.

Will Shea is a new transfer student at the  prestigious Connaughton Academy, a prep school that caters to America's ultra rich and fabulous. As a scholarship recipient, it is only natural that people want to know more about him, and Will has an extraordinary story to tell. His father and mother, missionaries on a small island in the Pacific, are  killed. After their death, Will's church collects money to send him to America to study.

Except that's not the real story. Will (Humbert) is the son of career cons. He's been a con artist since age eight. After his mother died, Will's father spirals out of control and Will runs away. In order to get into the Academy, Will fakes transcripts and breaks into computer files. His con seems to be working...until he meets Andrea. She recognizes a con when she sees one. That's because Andrea is a con herself.

Will and Andrea agree to the ultimate contest. Whoever can take dirt bag Brandt Rush  for ten thousand dollars will be the winner and the loser must leave the school. Game on!

Then...Will's real father shows up and threatens to ruin his school career and his con. Will can do nothing but let his father in on it, but he also asks his uncle Roy for help. Uncle Roy is one of the best cons in the country and all  up and coming cons look up  to him as a god. They decide to con Brandt using an online poker game--that they can fix, of course.

Andrea is another fly in the ointment. Will needs to manage the con, get rid of his useless dad, watch out for Andrea and study for classes. May the best con win.

I loved Con Academy. Teen readers will,  too! My one obstacle with this book is the cover. The stack of poker chips with devil horns and a tail does not do the book justice. This is one case that readers should NOT judge the book by its so-so cover.

Highly, highly recommended for anyone who loves a good con! Will is a loveable character with spunk and humor.  Fans of Ally Carter will love Will Shea.

Grade 7-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


  1. Sounds like a great read for my students.

    Springdale, Arkansas

  2. Sounds great!
    Dover, Arkansas

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I can't wait to red this book. Our kids will love it.
    I'm going to include this in my classroom talks this fall.
    Yorba Linda, CA.

  5. Sounds like a real fun read!

    Aberdeen, ID

  6. This sounds like a title I'll need multiple copies of!

    San Marcos, CA

  7. Thanks for the chance to win.
    Winslow, ME