Thursday, April 25, 2019

The deceivers by Kristen Simmons

Life in Devon Park is hard, especially when your mother's partner is a paranoid drug dealer who thinks you owe him.  Brynn has been walking the knife's edge for years, quietly working small (and not so small) cons to save money for college so that she can leave Devon Park behind for good.  Everything seems to be going well, even if some boy seems to be popping up wherever she is, until Pete discovers her stash of college money and assumes that she either a) stole pills from his supply and sold them or b) stole the money directly from him.  

Her only hope to raise the money she needs in the short time she has is to sell pills for Pete, a dangerous prospect when there is a very territorial gang in the neighbourhood who doesn't take kindly to people who try and sell on their turf.  It seems like all her hard work has been for nothing, until she accepts a wild proposition that sees her accepted as a student at the mysterious Vale Hall.  Vale Hall has only a handful of students and a very special curriculum and field trips - including learning how to run cons on people in real world situations.

For the first time Brynn has something to focus on other than Pete and his drugs, or earning enough money to get out of Devon Park.   Vale Hall is a great opportunity, a chance for a great education and a college fund, but it also means follow the rules and doing what Dr. Odin wants her to do.  Letting go of the past is tricky though, especially when the little contact she does have proves that her mother is not safe.  The more time Brynn spends at Vale Hall the more she learns about her fellow classmates, and the more she learns that no one is what they seem - including her.

The deceivers was a brilliant and addictive read that hooked me from the start with a complex and interesting main character walking a tough line between being a good girl and getting out of town, and being a bad girl who can actually afford to get out of town.  Her somewhat wonky moral compass makes her more interesting, and her complex relationships make her more relatable and realistic.   Her family life is complicated, and when her 'lucky break' appears it is not a clean break - nor is her new 'family' as golden as it might seem at first.

The deceivers was one of my favourite books this year, and it has had some rather stiff competition.  This is a cleverly crafted book that has twists and turns, both subtle and extreme, and Kristen Simmons did an amazing job of keeping it interesting without being too clever.  A great take on the myths of Odin, and hopefully at some point we get to see Brynn and her world again.

If you like this book then try:

  • I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
  • Little white lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • The Christopher killer by Alane Ferguson
  • Burning blue by Paul Griffin
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Such a pretty girl by Laura Wiess
  • Living dead girl by Elizabeth Scott
  • Court of fives by Kate Elliott
  • NEED by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick
  • Grave mercy by Robin LaFevers
  • The girl of fire and thorns by Rae Carson
  • The mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
  • Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher
  • I swear by Lane Davis

Reviewed by Brilla

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