Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Varian Johnson
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine
Jackson Greene is an ex-conman. However, with the school election coming up, Jackson may just have to come out of retirement. The two candidates are Gaby de la Cruz, Jackson’s crush, and Keith Sinclair, a rich kid suspected of buying off the principal to ensure his place as student body president. If he wins, he plans to cut off funding to many school clubs and put that money towards his own Gamer Club. Somehow Jackson must develop a plan to unveil Keith’s bribery and ensure Gaby’s win, all without getting caught. After assembling an all-star team, he manages to pull off the biggest con the school will ever hear of, exposing Keith and Principal Kelsey in the process.
This is a fun, fast-moving book that keeps the reader wanting to know what happens next. The plotline is interesting and engaging with lots of surprises. The characters are likable; however, it is easy to forget that they are in middle school because they act more like high schoolers. Some of the characters are also pretty unrealistic, which makes it harder to relate to them. What the characters lack, however, is made up for in an exciting plot. The pacing of the plot makes clear the urgency of the situation and delivers the plotline in satisfying pieces. This is a great book for older elementary readers who like secret missions and adventure.