The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons: A School for Cons, Mixed Raced Protagonists, and Entertaining Stories

4 stars

Welcome to Vale Hall, the school for aspiring con artists.

When Brynn Hilder is recruited to Vale, it seems like a new start for her. But she soon learns that Vale chooses students not so much for their scholastic talent as for their extracurricular activities, such as her time spent conning rich North Shore kids out of their extravagant allowances.

At first, Brynn jumps at the chance to help the school in its mission to rid the city of corrupt officials. But that’s before she meets her mark and discovers the school’s headmaster has secrets he’ll stop at nothing to protect. As the lines between right and wrong blur, Brynn begins to realize she’s in way over head.

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I really enjoyed The Deceivers, just as I enjoyed reading Pacifica last year! Kristen Simmons is wonderful at creating enjoyable, unputdownable YA that’s entertaining and well-plotted enough that it keeps you on your toes!

This book was just a really great book at keeping you entertained and engaged and invested, while also keeping things real. I mean, Kristen Simmons is a wonderful author for getting really great mixed race rep (and it’s not for diversity points) and she also touches on some of the socioeconomic barriers that exist, especially as the main character, Brynn, has to catch up with her school work at Vale Hall.

I was just sucked into the story–not only do I enjoy reading a good boarding-school sort of story, but the con artist part of the plot was so much fun and something I think Simmons did so well with! Some of Brynn’s cons had me holding my breath, and Brynn gets into a lot of spicy situations.

And besides what was happening in the moment, I also really enjoyed how it still had a big, overarching plot for the series. So even though this book had its plot resolved pretty well, there are still a lot of things going on with Brynn and Vale Hall that have me itching for book 2.

Plus, I loved the romance, which is really unlike me? Simmons did a great job of building the chemistry (also, the slipped in “Is this okay?” was top notch and super smooth) and I love love loved the relationship between Brynn and Caleb!

I think one of the best parts of this book was just how Simmons balanced out all of Brynn’s life–what she had going on with her mother and her past, what her assignment at Vale Hall is, dealing with new friends–and also how Simmons somehow made it all connect in a sorta mind-blowing way? The ending had me gaping, that’s for sure.

I guess the reason that this is a 4 and not higher (I’d honestly rate it 4.25 if I believed in quarter stars) is just because I was looking for just a little bit more mischief? Just a couple scenes felt wrapped up a little too neatly and when they had me holding my breath at the start of the scene, had me not holding it by the end and the excitement dropped a little bit where I think Simmons could have built up the heart-poundingness.

But overall, I definitely enjoyed reading and would not let this dissuade you from picking The Deceivers up! Seriously, it’s a lot of fun and really entertaining, yet with enough substance that it’s a book you enjoy and feel good reading, if that makes sense?

If you like boarding school novels, books about cons, and lots of fun and action, I would suggest you check The Deceivers out! It was really enjoyable to read and something I think a lot of people won’t realize is a wonderful book, but actually is.

Thank you so much to Tor Teen and Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Have you read any of Simmons’ works? Which ones did you love?

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2 thoughts on “The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons: A School for Cons, Mixed Raced Protagonists, and Entertaining Stories

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