Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Joe Schreiber
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Will Shea is attending an elite boarding school, but what no one else knows is that he conned his way in. At least, not until he meets Andrea who discovers his secret because she is a con herself. They think that the school is too small for both of them to be in, so they make a bet. The first one to con the rich Brandt Rush out of fifty thousand dollars gets to stay at the school. The other has to leave. Will sets up a poker scam with his uncle, but while he’s at school he discovers a secret society that might finally give him a place that he belongs. One scam after another follows until it is difficult to see who is conning whom.
Con Academy is full of twists, cons, and revenge. Will’s motives for going to this school are interesting (everyone who goes to school there becomes a millionaire), but there is a question about ethics in scamming to get to the good life. Will is a believable teenager with occasional bad, impulsive decisions, but he is still likable. His slow relationship with Gatsby is a nice change from many YA novels where the romance can become more important than the plot. This is a fast-paced book that many readers will enjoy.