*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
About the book:
Title: Cheating Lessons
Author: Nan Willard Cappo
Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, realistic fiction, mystery, young adult
Can honesty be the worst policy?
Bernadette Terrell has always known the right thing to do. Not the most popular girl in school, her focus has always been on academic, not social, success. When her favorite teacher names her to Wickham High School’s state championship quiz bowl team, she believes that she has reached the pinnacle of her high school academic career. However, her elation quickly fades as she begins to suspect that perhaps someone cheated to get Wickham into the contest and is cheating still.
In her search for answers, Bernadette must contend with a situation that isn’t black and white, where a community’s hope, hard work, and pride are on the line. Is a team — and a school — implicated by one person’s behavior?
Cappo’s blend of suspense and humor makes Cheating Lessons a riveting story about right and wrong — and the downside of trust.
Source: Thanks so much to Tadmar Press for providing me with an e-ARC via Netgalley!
How I Found Out About It: Netgalley
Review: This book wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t say I loved it, either. This is about a high school student named Bernadette “Bet” who is in an AP English class, where they study and explore many classic books and poems. Her class participates in a test based on some of those classics, and they end up getting the top score out of all the schools! However, Bet suspects that there is something fishy going on, and that the only way they could have gotten that mark is if someone cheated. They have a quiz bowl coming up due to that high score, and will they still be able to succeed, despite the cheater? And who cheated? This book was pretty slow at first, but it picked up at just the right time! Because of the slowness at the beginning, I was pretty bored and had thoughts of potentially not finishing it, but I’m glad I stuck it through because this book wasn’t too bad! To be honest, I’m finding it a bit hard to talk about the plot and the characters of this book without getting a tiny bit spoilery, but I will do the best I can. The premise of this story was so gripping, and even though it honestly wasn’t really a surprise who the cheater was, some of the information behind the situation was quite interesting! Bernadette wasn’t the most likeable character, but a character isn’t a character without their flaws, right? Despite that, I felt like I could relate to her. If I had sensed something suspicious in the test results, I probably would’ve gotten right onto the case, just like she did! I found her to be quite the hard worker as she kept on going and going, and did not stop investigating until she found the culprit! It also takes a lot of time and effort to study for a literature bee, and I’m glad she persevered and tried her best! Unlike most young adult books, this one does not have much romance except for a couple of side characters which didn’t really interfere with the plot, so if you’re looking for a book without much romance for a change, maybe consider picking this one up! I would also recommend this book to high schoolers interested in a gripping mystery about cheating and tests, because this will remind you that cheating is unacceptable; and the consequences of doing so!
Rating: 3/5 Stars