The Deceivers

11 CDs. 12:45 hrs. Recorded Bks. Feb. 2019. ISBN 9781501977527. $108.75.
Gr 8 UP—Scamming rich kids, worrying about grades, and avoiding her mother's abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend are just another day in the life of high school senior Brynn Hilder. College is an unlikely dream until her talent for reading people helps her get admitted to Vale Hall. Housed with a handful of duplicitous classmates, and given a new computer, cell phone, and wardrobe, Brynn is amazed to find classes cover the long con and the pigeon drop, with occasional tests on the French Revolution thrown in. No one is what they seem: not sexy classmate Caleb, not mean girl Geri, not her assigned mark Grayson Sterling, the senator's son. The cons move from loss of cash to possible loss of life, occasionally moving towards melodrama, as plot twists pile up. Soneela Nankani voices Brynn's first-person narration with appropriate tremors and snark. She pitches voices slightly up or down, rather than using accents to differentiate speakers.
VERDICT A middle-of-the-pack choice, heavy on romantic tension and descriptions that demonstrate money doesn't buy happiness. Consider where budget is available.

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