Title: Con Academy
Author: Joe Schreiber
Summary: Will Shea has a plan. He’s managed to hack the system and get himself into the prestigious Connaughton Academy for his senior year of high school. All he has to do is impress his absurdly wealthy classmates with his invented back story about being a scholarship student from a tiny island in the Pacific, enter their social circles and leverage those connections forge this path through those connections to a life of immeasurable influence, power and privilege. Will is determined to leave his rough and tumble life on the streets of Trenton, New Jersey, and his less-than-professional con artist father, behind. But things are not going to be as easy as that, once he collides with Andrea, another Connaughton student/scammer who herself is operating under a falsified identity, aiming at the same life path Will has his eyes set on. Suddenly, the long con is on: The first person to reel in the biggest, richest fish on campus gets to stay at the Academy while the other has to try their unlawful scheming elsewhere.
This is a fun and fast-paced story with plenty of twists, turns and fake-outs with elaborate swindles running through the entire story. You’ll be rooting for Will as he finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into his caper as unexpected challenges, including the appearance of his criminal family members and the possibility of a real connection to another Connaughton student, get in the way of his perfect score. Con Academy reads like your favorite school comedy movie and it deserves to find its way on to your list of must-read books.
Who will like this book?: Readers who have ever contemplated a life of (non-violent) crime. Anyone looking for a quick, light read with plenty of action and laughter.
If you like this, try this: How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller. Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick. Tracers by J.J. Howard. For mature readers, Catch Me If You Can: The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and Most Daring Con Man in the History of Fun and Profit by Frank W. Abagnale and The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Title: I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to be your Class President
Author: Josh Lieb
Summary: Can you imagine what it must be like to be the third richest person in the world? Oliver Watson owns land in all fifty states and most of the capitalist countries in the world. He owns investment banks, baseball teams, mines, plantations, a movie studio, two television networks, and three newspaper syndicates. He is powerful enough to instigate the overthrow of a dictator of an African nation for personal reasons having nothing to do with setting the world right.
Oliver Watson is exactly what the title of this book states – an evil genius – he is also a seventh grade middle school student. He has used his intelligence to create a fortune. He’s also used that same intelligence and fortune to rig his middle school up to cater to his every desire from a secret root beer dispensing button on the water fountain and a heated bus seat to the development of a secret chemical, Lazopril. When released on a person Lazopril saps all hostility from them and gives them sudden intense flatulence. Oliver even has three secret bodyguards within the school, so secret, in fact, that even Oliver isn’t sure of their exact identities.
You may wonder the reason behind the necessity of Lazopril and bodyguards. Why would anyone tease or bully the biggest evil genius in the world? That question is best answered by looking to Oliver’s assumed alter ego, the dumbest kid in the whole school. Oliver’s act is so perfect that it is going to take some work to get him elected as the 8th grade class president. Why does the greatest evil genius in the world want to be class president? For that answer you will have to read the book.
Who will like this?: Anyone who has a bit of a wicked sense of humor and those who are ready to graduate from the Diary of the Wimpy Kid series. Oliver has the same air of superiority coupled with a dose of condescension for his peers, but unlike Greg Heffley. Oliver actually has the brains to back it up.
If you like this, try this: Evil Genius series by Catherine Jinks, N.E.R.D.S.: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society series by Michael Buckley, and H.I.V.E. : Higher Institute of Villainous Education series by Mark Walden
Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian