Cheating Lessons by Nan Willard Cappo

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Publisher: Tadmar Press
Publication Date: May 10th 2016


Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Bernadette wants only one thing: to beat Pinehurst. Wickham High has never beaten them in anything. When Wickham makes it into the Classics Bowl – with the highest scores – Bernadette is thrilled. But maybe some things are too good to be true. How has Wickham suddenly improved? Did someone cheat?

A classic coming of age story. Despite being originally published over ten years ago it holds up entirely. I never felt like the book was too dated. It deals with themes that are timeless; although the moral is a little direct.

There are quite a few things that kept me from loving this book. The first is that the book is so caught up in it’s complex mystery plot that it forgets about the characters. Each character feels flat despite numerous attempts to give them depth. Bernadette most of all. As our protagonist she should be connecting us to the story but she always feels distant. Even her relationship with her best friend and the terrible last minute romance don’t feel as though they bring Bernadette any closer to the other characters. As well Bernadette is just fairly unlikeable. She’s judgmental and superior and although she SAYS she’s learned a lesson by the end of the book it’s never really shown.

Secondly we have the pacing. The book feels extremely slow. Random unrelated events are tossed in to try and spice things up, instead of using the plot gaps for character development. There’s a weird crush on the teacher which makes everything a bit unsettling. The main issue of the book is…solved but not satisfyingly. There is no justice the conflict just ends and everyone moves on.

There were certainly moments of drama and humour that were enjoyable, but it wasn’t and A+ title.


Read this if you’re a fan of: The Only Thing Worse than Me is You


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