Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Con Academy by Joe Schreiber

Will Shea attends the exclusive Connaughton Academy. He grew up on a tiny island in the Pacific. His parents were missionaries and died tragically. Sad story really - except none of it is true. Will is from New Jersey and is the son of a con-man. True to his upbringing, Will is pulling a con on Connaughton, successfully getting a scholarship to one of the most exclusive private schools in the country.

This con has no angle. Will wants to go legit and make something of himself. That hope quickly fades when another student Andrea discovers his secret and challenges him to a con-off. The first to fleece a load of money from the king of the campus, Brandt Rush, gets to stay and finish school.

Ah, Brandt. He's obnoxious and arrogant. Half the buildings on campus are named after his family. He throws crazy huge gambling parties and gets away with everything. Brandt is just asking to be taken.

And so it begins, Will versus Andrea. Who's conning who? Will brings in his uncle for help with his first big con, but did not intend for his alcoholic dad to get involved. With such a huge payoff that his dad is depending on, the stakes are even higher.

The story has twists and turns that keep everyone guessing. The story does borrow a few things from the movie The Sting, but it is still fun and suspenseful.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's blog.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds

Atticus is short with curly hair, not really thin and wears glasses. He's not athletic enough for his father or the baseball coach (yes, he is suffering through a season of baseball even though he has no talent for the game). He is being bullied by the coach's son, Danny (who cleverly calls him Fatticus). Atticus is starting to think he is the reason his father left.

Atticus copes by playing out fantasies in his head (like the one where poet Robert Frost helps him with a class presentation and tells Danny off, too). He also dreams of his classmate Audrey, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen.

What really seems to be his saving grace is the new substitute English teacher, Mr. Looney. And he lives up to his name right away. On the his first day of class, Mr. Looney doesn't say a word to any of the students. He just stares at them. Atticus feels like Mr. Looney can really see him - maybe he's the first person who has ever seen the real Atticus.

Atticus gets bullied more by Danny. His (once non-existent) friendship with Audrey gets stronger. And Mr. Looney's 'antics' get the attention of the school board. Through it all, we pull for Atticus. We want him to see what we know to be true (and what his mom and Mr. Looney see): that Atticus is a good guy.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's blog.