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Brynn Hilder is living a life she never dreamed possible: She lives in a mansion, getting a top-rate education at Vale Hall. She has friends and an almost-boyfriend. Anything she wants, she can have. The only catch? To stay in this life, she has to help the director of Vale Hall take down the bad guys of Sikawa City by collecting secrets and running cons. Getting everything Brynn Hilder is living a life she never dreamed possible: She lives in a mansion, getting a top-rate education at Vale Hall. She has friends and an almost-boyfriend. Anything she wants, she can have. The only catch? To stay in this life, she has to help the director of Vale Hall take down the bad guys of Sikawa City by collecting secrets and running cons. Getting everything she wants and fighting evil doesn’t seem like such a bad deal. The thing is, she’s not so convinced anymore that Dr. Odin is really going after bad people after all. And the friends and almost-boyfriend that have made her life so different are all liars and con artists—so can she trust that any of it is real? The stakes are higher. The cons are riskier. And nothing is what you think it is.


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Brynn Hilder is living a life she never dreamed possible: She lives in a mansion, getting a top-rate education at Vale Hall. She has friends and an almost-boyfriend. Anything she wants, she can have. The only catch? To stay in this life, she has to help the director of Vale Hall take down the bad guys of Sikawa City by collecting secrets and running cons. Getting everything Brynn Hilder is living a life she never dreamed possible: She lives in a mansion, getting a top-rate education at Vale Hall. She has friends and an almost-boyfriend. Anything she wants, she can have. The only catch? To stay in this life, she has to help the director of Vale Hall take down the bad guys of Sikawa City by collecting secrets and running cons. Getting everything she wants and fighting evil doesn’t seem like such a bad deal. The thing is, she’s not so convinced anymore that Dr. Odin is really going after bad people after all. And the friends and almost-boyfriend that have made her life so different are all liars and con artists—so can she trust that any of it is real? The stakes are higher. The cons are riskier. And nothing is what you think it is.

30 review for Scammed

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karen’s Library

    4.25 stars. In this sequel to The Deceivers, believe it when the synopsis says "The stakes are higher. The cons are riskier. And nothing is what you think it is." The story continues with Brynn at Vale Hall, an elite high school which is really a school for con artists. The gang is back and I was thrilled to get more of Brynn, Charlotte, Henry, Caleb, and Sam. But Grayson is also back (not so thrilled about him, and neither is Caleb!) The twists and turns are crazy and, dang, I need book 3 right n 4.25 stars. In this sequel to The Deceivers, believe it when the synopsis says "The stakes are higher. The cons are riskier. And nothing is what you think it is." The story continues with Brynn at Vale Hall, an elite high school which is really a school for con artists. The gang is back and I was thrilled to get more of Brynn, Charlotte, Henry, Caleb, and Sam. But Grayson is also back (not so thrilled about him, and neither is Caleb!) The twists and turns are crazy and, dang, I need book 3 right now!! For much of the book, I wanted to throw something at Brynn for not seeing the truth. But... The book would have been much shorter and not as fun had that actually happened. All in all, very worth it. *Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor Teen for the advance copy!*

  2. 5 out of 5

    Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]

    This book, unfortunately, suffered very much from second-book-itis. It's nowhere near as twisty, tightly plotted, or even comprehensible as the first book. The series revolves around Brynn Hilder, a girl who's been recruited into spy academy Vale Hall under the aegis of its headmaster Dr Odin. (Yes, it's based lightly off Norse mythology, though Gallagher Girls is the one that really comes to mind). Following on from the events of the last book, she's trying to help Dr O get justice for the murde This book, unfortunately, suffered very much from second-book-itis. It's nowhere near as twisty, tightly plotted, or even comprehensible as the first book. The series revolves around Brynn Hilder, a girl who's been recruited into spy academy Vale Hall under the aegis of its headmaster Dr Odin. (Yes, it's based lightly off Norse mythology, though Gallagher Girls is the one that really comes to mind). Following on from the events of the last book, she's trying to help Dr O get justice for the murder of his sister whilst balancing her blooming romance with Caleb. Brynn was a lot less engaging in this one - she came off as ridiculously self-absorbed instead. Meanwhile, my opinion of many of the characters' intelligences fell drastically, and I found the plot insanely confusing in many places. I couldn't keep straight who knew what and if they were supposed to know it. While the book was well-written, I'm now a lot more dubious about the sequel than I was before. [Blog] - [Bookstagram]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    1) The Deceivers: 4 stars 2) Scammed: 5 stars Scammed is a deliciously twisty follow-up to The Deceivers and I read the second half of the book in one sitting! Could NOT put it down. The pacing is fantastic and in Vale Hall, you can never be sure who to trust. Set at a school for con artists, we continue to follow Brynn on her journey. Having been plucked out of the slums in book 1, she now discovers that everything may not be as it seems and she is becoming increasingly dependent on the mysteriou 1) The Deceivers: 4 stars 2) Scammed: 5 stars Scammed is a deliciously twisty follow-up to The Deceivers and I read the second half of the book in one sitting! Could NOT put it down. The pacing is fantastic and in Vale Hall, you can never be sure who to trust. Set at a school for con artists, we continue to follow Brynn on her journey. Having been plucked out of the slums in book 1, she now discovers that everything may not be as it seems and she is becoming increasingly dependent on the mysterious founder of the school. There is also a wonderfully juicy love triangle. Love is always complicated, but when you add cons and marks, it can be hard to discern truth from lies. I don't want to say too much because of spoilers, but I think this is a fun, smart YA thriller that interrogates complex moral questions and the corruption that can come with power and privilege. It kept me hooked right up to the ending and I will for sure be reading book 3. I liked that this feels like a complete story arc with some degree of resolution, but still having some big open questions for the next book. Definitely recommend! Do check content warnings below if you need them, because there are some things that may bother certain readers. This includes a queer character having a relationship that does not end well. I received a copy of this book for review via NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own. CW include references to murder, physical fighting, manipulation, deception in romantic relationships, being on a semi relationship break and kissing someone else, step-parents wanting a gay character to go to conversion therapy, a gay character being romantically manipulated, possible link between mental health and violence, teen pregnancy and consideration of an abortion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    4.5 Stars Well damn... this was a roller coaster that I did not expect. After devouring The Deceivers, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel. This was another book I devoured in one sitting, because it was just that good. There will probably be slight spoilers of the first book below, so you have been warned! At the end of the first book, Brynn watched as Grayson drove away after she basically let him go. So imagine her shock when Grayson shows back up at her school and he doesn't seem to b 4.5 Stars Well damn... this was a roller coaster that I did not expect. After devouring The Deceivers, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel. This was another book I devoured in one sitting, because it was just that good. There will probably be slight spoilers of the first book below, so you have been warned! At the end of the first book, Brynn watched as Grayson drove away after she basically let him go. So imagine her shock when Grayson shows back up at her school and he doesn't seem to be leaving anytime soon. Now all of the lies Brynn told in the first book must continue now that Grayson is in the mix. But pretty soon, the line between the lies and the truths start to blur and Brynn must figure out who to trust, because there's more on the line then she thinks. So let me tell you, I thought I had this book pegged. I knew who was lying, where this was going and how the book would end - and let me also tell you that I was wrong about most of it. Simmons has this beautiful way of making you look over here while something major is happening over there and you don't even notice until it's too late. The mystery is fantastic! This installment takes everything you thought you knew and just flips it on you. Everyone is back and the accusations are flying. While all the characters have their moments, no one even comes close to Henry. And if anything happens to him AT ALL, well, I can't be blamed for my actions. I cannot wait for the final book, but now I wait....

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erin Arkin

    Ahhh Soo good! Scammed is book two in the Vale Hall series by Kristen Simmons and if you haven’t picked this series up yet, you definitely need to change that. Simmons not only has a page turning story in this second book, but I was so invested in the characters that I couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know what was going to happen next. No spoilers here – it is a book two though so if you haven’t read The Deceivers yet, proceed with caution. Brynn is our main character but at Vale Hall t Ahhh Soo good! Scammed is book two in the Vale Hall series by Kristen Simmons and if you haven’t picked this series up yet, you definitely need to change that. Simmons not only has a page turning story in this second book, but I was so invested in the characters that I couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know what was going to happen next. No spoilers here – it is a book two though so if you haven’t read The Deceivers yet, proceed with caution. Brynn is our main character but at Vale Hall there are a number of other characters she is interacting with and each one has their own secrets. What she has to figure out is who she can trust and it’s not as easy as one would think. In this book, Brynn is still working for Dr. Odin but she questions just about everything he tells her and when what he asks her to do begins to make her question Caleb, things start to get twisty. I can’t say too much about this because it is core to the story, and I don’t want to give anything away. Just know that there is so much that we don’t know right along with Brynn so I can’t hold any of her decisions against her. Well…maybe most of them. Right along with all of that, Grayson is back in the picture which only complicates things more. This is where I wanted to elbow Brynn and tell her to think about what she is doing. So much happens with Grayson now that he is at the school and a big piece of the puzzle for Dr. Odin. I will tell you, I have always had strong feelings about Grayson and this book only solidifies my thoughts about him. I have to also mention that I loved that we had more time with the secondary characters in this book. We got more exposure to Charlotte, Henry, Sam, and Geri and I thought it provided a bit more depth to them so I could better understand their relationships with Brynn. Of course, the bits with Caleb and Brynn together are some of my favorites. I hate that I have to be super vague with this review but I really don’t want to ruin anything as there are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing around what is really going on and right along with Brynn you will be trying to figure it all out. If you take anything away from this review, please know that I loved this book and can’t wait for the next book to see what happens next. Grab this book when you can…you won’t regret it! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Rating: 4.5 Stars Brynn felt fortunate to have the opportunity to attend Vale Hall, even if it came at a cost, and she was determined to maintain her place there. When complications arose from her previous assignment, she found herself unable to determine, who she could and could not trust, when picking the wrong allies could result in some serious consequences. I have to commend Simmons on the name of this book. It was quite appropriate, as just about every character got scammed at some point. Th Rating: 4.5 Stars Brynn felt fortunate to have the opportunity to attend Vale Hall, even if it came at a cost, and she was determined to maintain her place there. When complications arose from her previous assignment, she found herself unable to determine, who she could and could not trust, when picking the wrong allies could result in some serious consequences. I have to commend Simmons on the name of this book. It was quite appropriate, as just about every character got scammed at some point. The lines between good and evil, as well as alliances, were blurred, and this really strained relations at Vale Hall. It's difficult to review sequels, and especially this book, without giving too much away, but I will say there were several things that stood out for me. • I felt like I got to know the other students at Vale Hall on a more personal level. I knew things about them from the first book, but the time I spent with them this time, seemed to reveal different layers of their lives to me, and I felt move invested in all of them because of that. • The group really seemed to grow even closer together at one point, and I had those warm and fuzzy found family vibes going on, especially when things got really complicated. • Holy twists and turns! I was caught very much off guard by a few of the reveals, and I have to say, the story took a turn, that has me chomping at the bit for the next book. I was glad that some things still carried over from the last book, The Deceivers. For instance, I still adored Caleb, I was still fascinated by the world of Vale Hall, and I was still undecided about whether Dr. O was good or bad. This book was addictive, and hard to put down. Simmons really shook the foundation of that school! I was so invested and drawn into this world, and the ending! That ending left me with all sorts of emotions, as well as a million questions. I can only sit back, and impatiently await my next thrilling ride with the denizens of Vale Hall. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  7. 5 out of 5

    Storme Reads A Lot

    Probably one of my most anticipated reads of this year. But the cover change didn’t make me happy. Brynn is still at Vale Hall, but this time the stakes and cons are higher. I loved this book just as much as the first one, I was shocked the whole time. It was awesome to see the other characters I hadn’t seen before in depth, and I liked them to be actual people instead of just fillers. I’m sad there wasn’t more with her friendship with Charlotte, I think the series would be stronger with a female Probably one of my most anticipated reads of this year. But the cover change didn’t make me happy. Brynn is still at Vale Hall, but this time the stakes and cons are higher. I loved this book just as much as the first one, I was shocked the whole time. It was awesome to see the other characters I hadn’t seen before in depth, and I liked them to be actual people instead of just fillers. I’m sad there wasn’t more with her friendship with Charlotte, I think the series would be stronger with a female friendship and not just a romance I’m not exactly invested in. Simmons just writes in a way which makes me unable to put the book down. Her characters are well written and worth the page turning. I haven’t been this into a series for awhile. I’m already ready for the third book. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys boarding school stories and shocking reveals. Thank you NetGalley and Tor Teen for the advanced review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own,

  8. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    This one is aptly titled because for most of the book you don't know who is being scammed. Just when you think you have a handle on things something happens and you are clueless again. By the time I got to the end my mind was a little bit blown, not sure how the "bad guy" thinks he can get away with all of this considering who these kids are. They have been taught well, they have been used in the past and won't stand for it again. The next book will be very interesting.

  9. 4 out of 5

    olivia

    4.5; i love the vale hall family 🥺 excited that the final instalment will finally have them all working together again rather than being all at odds with each other,,, honestly kind of a stressful read but a worth it ending

  10. 5 out of 5

    Completely Melanie

    So freaking good! Can't wait for the next book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda (MetalPhantasmReads)

    Well well well now THAT was a surprise! I cannot wait for book 3! I didn't know who to trust but I love how things are coming together. Review is now on the blog! https://metalphantasmreads.wordpress.... Well well well now THAT was a surprise! I cannot wait for book 3! I didn't know who to trust but I love how things are coming together. Review is now on the blog! https://metalphantasmreads.wordpress....

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jaime Arkin

    Holy crap that was quite the ride! I totally didn’t see those twists and is it too early to ask for book 3?!? I love these characters and this story and I can’t wait to see where Kristen takes us in book 3!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caryn - iam.caryn

    As I mentioned in my review for The Deceivers, Simmons’ writing style is outstanding. She sets tone and scenes in such a way that you feel like you’re right there in the book. It starts to feel like this isn’t even a book any more, it’s an experience. I do wish it was more widely known that Vale Hall is inspired by Valhalla in Norse mythology. This is definitely something that should be pushed more. Simmons is so incredibly clever in how she’s telling the story of Brynn Hilder in Vale Hall. It’s As I mentioned in my review for The Deceivers, Simmons’ writing style is outstanding. She sets tone and scenes in such a way that you feel like you’re right there in the book. It starts to feel like this isn’t even a book any more, it’s an experience. I do wish it was more widely known that Vale Hall is inspired by Valhalla in Norse mythology. This is definitely something that should be pushed more. Simmons is so incredibly clever in how she’s telling the story of Brynn Hilder in Vale Hall. It’s some of the most unique storytelling I’ve seen. The series reads a lot like a high school (or con artists school) contemporary novel with just enough mystery and twists that makes you go “wait, what?” I love reading about the relationships between the few main students a lot. The dynamic between them all has a “found family” feel, which is one of my favourite tropes. And now I’m entering the agonizing year-long wait for The Measure of Risk. I’m so excited to see how this trilogy will conclude.

  14. 5 out of 5

    CR

    So too much of this was going to be a spoiler and well I don't want to do that to you. So this book was so freaking awesome I could not put it down!! Is it to early to ask for a copy of book three!? February is so far away for this one to come out so I will have to wait for about two extra months over that year or so to read book three and that I can say with confidence that it might kill me. In this one we learn about the characters more and the story unfolds I need a finished copy of this one So too much of this was going to be a spoiler and well I don't want to do that to you. So this book was so freaking awesome I could not put it down!! Is it to early to ask for a copy of book three!? February is so far away for this one to come out so I will have to wait for about two extra months over that year or so to read book three and that I can say with confidence that it might kill me. In this one we learn about the characters more and the story unfolds I need a finished copy of this one now so I can have a reason to read it again.

  15. 5 out of 5

    McKenzi

    This book was certainly interesting from the first page. There was so many twists and turns in this book with plots that I didn’t even see coming. I love being back with this group and my love for Moore just grew so much in this book. Who knew that security guard would grow to care for Brynn and be such a badass.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cecily Wolfe

    I had a really hard time putting this one down! I loved book one, but wow, this one went more in depth so we get to know the characters even better, and by doing that, the author has sucked me in even more. Fast-paced and so very rewarding - I can't wait for book three!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bickering Book Reviews

    For a more in-depth review watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a88an... A great sequel that was just as fast-paced as the first book. Brynn and her classmates are smart and fun to read about and their actions, while they try to complete their assignments, was a delight to read. For a more in-depth review watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a88an... A great sequel that was just as fast-paced as the first book. Brynn and her classmates are smart and fun to read about and their actions, while they try to complete their assignments, was a delight to read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lindsey

    Smart and beautifully paced. I love this series and cannot wait for the release of book 3. (Hurry, Kristen!)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Molly Lavenza

    I need the next book now!!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Bennett

    Thank you to the publisher for sending me an arc. All opinions are my own. I was excited to get approved for this sequel but also a bit hesitant. For some reason this year has been the worst when it comes to a continuation of a series as they have been really letting me down. I’m so glad that this wasn’t the case for this one! This book follows the same characters as the first. Brynn, Caleb, and the rest of the students are back but this time there is more at stake for them. There isn’t much chara Thank you to the publisher for sending me an arc. All opinions are my own. I was excited to get approved for this sequel but also a bit hesitant. For some reason this year has been the worst when it comes to a continuation of a series as they have been really letting me down. I’m so glad that this wasn’t the case for this one! This book follows the same characters as the first. Brynn, Caleb, and the rest of the students are back but this time there is more at stake for them. There isn’t much character development besides for a couple characters who add a few twists to the plot. Brynn does have a bit and it goes along with trusting others. Honestly, I could see why she would be confused at times and not sure where to turn because the people around her didn’t make it easy. She also is a great friend and I love the friendship between Charlotte and her. There was a start to a relationship in book one and book two adds on to that. Although it is very rocky, it’s one that I was rooting for to work out. Just like with most relationships, the rockiness comes from not communicating. Why is this always a thing?! Honestly, for all the times I’ve wanted to strangle book characters for this problem I’d be known as the serial strangler. It’s really frustrating, haha. I will say that the plot and twists really took me by surprise. I wasn’t sure what to expect but this definitely wasn’t it but I’m so glad that it blew me away. I am now even more excited to see what book three has in store because the last bit of the book was amazing! Overall, I really enjoyed the sequel. It was perfect and the friendships in this book are here to last. I hope the relationships do too.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Disclaimer: I received an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Further disclaimer: This review will continue some spoilers for the first book (The Deceivers) but no spoilers for Scammed. Brynn Hilder had her life turned upside down when she was taken into Vale Hall, a boarding school for con artists. For the first time in her life, her skills that she learned in Devon Park, a poor neighborhood, had great value. She made friends that became almost like family, and she became rea Disclaimer: I received an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Further disclaimer: This review will continue some spoilers for the first book (The Deceivers) but no spoilers for Scammed. Brynn Hilder had her life turned upside down when she was taken into Vale Hall, a boarding school for con artists. For the first time in her life, her skills that she learned in Devon Park, a poor neighborhood, had great value. She made friends that became almost like family, and she became really close with Caleb, a fellow student. But things become a bit complicated in Scammed as Grayson, a person she used previously to find out who killed the sister of the Vale Hall director, has found safe harbor at Vale Hall until the director can gather enough dirt to put Grayson’s father, a U.S. Senator. As Brynn goes undercover to find out about the disappearance of an intern who worked for Grayson’s father, she finds her found-family thrown into turmoil and finds that things are not as they seem. Scammed is a thrilling sequel to The Deceivers. It’s an amazing read, and I absolutely loved it. The whole series is one that is a fantastic read. The end of book 2 sets up for an amazing concept for book 3.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shawna Oakes

    There's less than two weeks before this book gets released, so it's time for my review. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me review this book. Scammed is the second book in the Vale Hall series that centers around a school for con artists. This book has even more twists, shocks, and romantic scenes than the first book, which left me wanting more. Kristen Simmons has a way with words that makes me completely immersed in the world and unable to put the book down. All the character There's less than two weeks before this book gets released, so it's time for my review. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me review this book. Scammed is the second book in the Vale Hall series that centers around a school for con artists. This book has even more twists, shocks, and romantic scenes than the first book, which left me wanting more. Kristen Simmons has a way with words that makes me completely immersed in the world and unable to put the book down. All the characters in this book were just as amazing as what they were in the first book and the plot was so much fun. Henry and Charlotte are definitely my favorite characters and I loved getting to spend more time with them in this book. I highly recommend that everyone reads this series because it will blow your mind and you will not be able to stop reading it once you start.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    I received a copy of Upright Women Wanted through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Scammed is the second novel in Kristen Simmon’s Vale Hall series. This is a school that teaches – and expects – students to be the ideal con artists. All the principal asks in return, is that the students target the marks he picks. Brynn Hilder is the newest student at Vale Hall, and her journey has already been a complex one. Her first mission was a major one – and one she mostly did right, wi I received a copy of Upright Women Wanted through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Scammed is the second novel in Kristen Simmon’s Vale Hall series. This is a school that teaches – and expects – students to be the ideal con artists. All the principal asks in return, is that the students target the marks he picks. Brynn Hilder is the newest student at Vale Hall, and her journey has already been a complex one. Her first mission was a major one – and one she mostly did right, with a few notable exceptions. Like letting the mark run away. Now that moment is back to haunt her, as her old mark – and the job itself – come back into the forefront in the most surprising of ways. As it turns out, this investigation of Brynn’s is far from over. She’s going to have to choice sides and fight some hard battles in order to keep a spot for herself at Vale Hall. “I glance to the stone tablet to my right, near the door. Etched in it are three words: Vincit Omnia Veritas. Truth conquers all.” Warnings: Scammed touches upon some heavier moments, being that these are people digging into the worst parts of a person’s past. There are going to be mentions and references to sexual assault, beatings, murder, and attempted murder. Scammed was an amazing follow up to The Deceivers. It was everything I could have hoped for, and more. So much more. This novel upped the ante in every way possible, from the physical danger to the emotional toll taken on the characters. Brynn is one stubborn and sassy character, and I adore her. Even if she is exceptionally talented at getting herself into the worst kinds of trouble. That just makes her story all the more interesting, right? I was so surprised by some of the twists taken in this novel. Especially considering all of the revelations towards the end. They were not smoothing I could have predicted – and yet, looking back at the whole book, you can very clearly see the groundwork that was laid down. It was a nice (and carefully thought out) touch. One other noteworthy surprise; how much Simmons was able to make me feel while reading this. I’m not just talking about Brynn’s story and struggles (though there is that), but the secondary characters as well. They just felt so human here. I loved it. I’m really looking forward to the next novel in this series. I feel like that’s going to be the one that breaks the mold, as the story progresses and matures. I’m making that assumption based on some of the changes made during Scammed, but I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I’ll be curious to see how far this goes – and how hard it will be on Brynn and everyone else. For more reviews check out Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Ross

    Young adult novels are not my usual preference, but the Vale Hall series has me beguiled. Scammed is the second novel in the Vale Hall series by Kristen Simmons. True to its name, the story tricked me into believing one thing and carried me in an entirely different direction. I was tricked! I was bamboozled! I was enthralled. Brynn Hilder is a con artist, and so are her fellow Vale Hall students. Just when Brynn started to settle in her new life with her new boyfriend Caleb and all her new friend Young adult novels are not my usual preference, but the Vale Hall series has me beguiled. Scammed is the second novel in the Vale Hall series by Kristen Simmons. True to its name, the story tricked me into believing one thing and carried me in an entirely different direction. I was tricked! I was bamboozled! I was enthralled. Brynn Hilder is a con artist, and so are her fellow Vale Hall students. Just when Brynn started to settle in her new life with her new boyfriend Caleb and all her new friends, Dr. Odin tells everyone that her previous mark (Grayson Sterling) will be staying with them. Brynn must reaffirm her friendship with Grayson in a way that means Caleb has to step aside. She and Caleb hate it, but the consequences of not following Dr. Odin’s rules are dire. Grayson, however, doesn’t follow the rules. Brynn has another assignment. She must take a job as a server and find out what happened to the senator’s former aid. Somehow, she must ingratiate herself with the senator’s staff (without running into the senator himself) and coax evidence from them that will hopefully lead to the senator’s downfall. It’s a story where no one is who they say they are, where enemies hide behind friendship and unsuspecting allies come to light. Brynn is pretty good at running a con and is usually good at determining when others are conning her. But not this time. As I turned the pages, my head turned this way and that wondering what was coming next. And the moment after I was sure I had things figured out, an unexpected twist sent me spinning. Simmons is good at smoothly weaving diverse characters with a thorny plot and tangled subplots. The intricacies of the story unraveled in a believable and exciting way. Like Brynn, I should have seen what was coming. Simmons left enough clues. But she was so clever about it that I didn’t notice. Most of the characters you saw in the first book are present again. This time they have a larger part to play, complicating Brynn’s life—and not always in a bad way. Simmons has a talent for breathing life into her characters. Even the rarely present and non-vocal security guard named Moore seems more real. The two things I did not care for in this novel had more to do with my age than with the quality of the story itself. I’m too old for teenage drama and teenage angst. But Simmons did a great job of reminding me of how I was back in those days. Brynn’s constant second-guessing of herself is annoying but believable. And the teenage character interactions are spot-on. Nothing is what it seems, except Scammed truly is a great read. It’s everything you’d expect from a story about teenagers and con artists. Being scammed has never been so fun!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emma

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  26. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I have really been enjoying the Vale Hall series by Kristen Simmons. I read The Deceivers last year and was so intrigued by the setup and the characters, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. And when it finally became available, I jumped on it! The idea of students running con jobs for the director in exchange for a place to live and a chance at a new life is a really great set up. So much has happened over the first two books, I really cannot wait to see what’s going to happen in the I have really been enjoying the Vale Hall series by Kristen Simmons. I read The Deceivers last year and was so intrigued by the setup and the characters, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. And when it finally became available, I jumped on it! The idea of students running con jobs for the director in exchange for a place to live and a chance at a new life is a really great set up. So much has happened over the first two books, I really cannot wait to see what’s going to happen in the last one! I really hope View Spoiler » gets what’s coming to him! If you’re a fan of mysteries or thrillers and boarding school books, you’ll want to pick up this series. For me, it has a really similar feel to The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The group of kids really seemed to shine in the second book, with friendships and relationships being more of a focus than the first one where we meet Brynn and follow her on her assignment. This one has intrigue and twists and assignments and cons and deceptions and drama as well. But I really enjoyed getting to know Henry and Charlotte and Sam and even Geri better in this one. There were a few times where I thought I knew what was going to happen but mostly I was surprised by the turns this book took. I always enjoy books that do a good job making me wonder who I can trust and who I can’t. I also really liked how this one ended. It really set up the next one nicely without having a cliffhanger to make us all go crazy! If you like books with great characters and lots of twists and turns, boarding schools, drama, high stakes, lots of action, and never really knowing who to trust, don’t miss these books!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Insert Name Here

    Brynn and her friends find things getting even more complicated in the second of this series. They're all con artists. That's what Vale Hall is, after all; a school for cons and tricks. But Brynn thought they were honest with each other. All that changes, though, when her former mark shows up at the school. Dr O is keeping him close as leverage against his father. Unable to take anyone's words at face value, Brynn struggles to find the right path. I'm always a bit worried about the second book in Brynn and her friends find things getting even more complicated in the second of this series. They're all con artists. That's what Vale Hall is, after all; a school for cons and tricks. But Brynn thought they were honest with each other. All that changes, though, when her former mark shows up at the school. Dr O is keeping him close as leverage against his father. Unable to take anyone's words at face value, Brynn struggles to find the right path. I'm always a bit worried about the second book in a series. If it's been a while since the first book, I may not remember a lot about it, and most books aren't great about getting you back up to speed. This one does its best, but it's a little lopsided. For instance, I was absolutely aware that Geri had planted drugs on Brynn to get her in trouble. It's mentioned five or six times. But I wasn't sure who some of the characters were until quite late in the book. It's a very tricky balance to get right, and kudos to Kristen for making it seem very natural. On its own it's an exciting story, with lots of twists and bends. A couple of reveals took me by surprise. I'm looking forward to reading the third one and seeing what happens in the end. A good read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    RE Reader

    I'd give this 3.5 rounded up. What I liked: ~ the overall plot -- it was interesting and engaging ~ the characters -- they're complex and sympathetic ~ the tension -- I felt like the pacing was solid, and the tension rose and fell nicely What wasn't as strong: ~ (view spoiler)[how we're kept in the dark -- I just don't really enjoy books where I find out at the very end (or close to it) that everyone that has happened didn't really happen as we thought; it's frustrating to me, and it almost made me fe I'd give this 3.5 rounded up. What I liked: ~ the overall plot -- it was interesting and engaging ~ the characters -- they're complex and sympathetic ~ the tension -- I felt like the pacing was solid, and the tension rose and fell nicely What wasn't as strong: ~ (view spoiler)[how we're kept in the dark -- I just don't really enjoy books where I find out at the very end (or close to it) that everyone that has happened didn't really happen as we thought; it's frustrating to me, and it almost made me feel like Brynn was being overly obtuse (though I don't think she was) (hide spoiler)] ~ the writing style, in places -- I think I'm getting old (LOL), as the style that's often used these days for YA is starting to get on my nerves. An example of what I didn't like: "I'm Brynn of Devon Park" repeated over and over, like a war cry. I never did that kind of thing as a teen, and the first time I came across it (I *think* it was in The Conspiracy of Us or one of Ally Carter's books), I just kind of took it in stride. But I've seen it sooooo often now that it's starting to annoy me. ;) All in all, I will definitely finish the trilogy, and I like Simmons' ideas and characterizations, but this wasn't my favorite.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Addison :)

    The book was flawlessly executed, with deceit and betrayal to both the protagonist and the reader. Having read the first book, you would have been introduced to the two main love interests and my heart tended to sway with a choice that differed from the author's. Due to this discrepancy and the fact that I felt betrayed while reading the book has lead me to give it four stars. Per usual, Kristen has written an intricate plot where everything matters down to the minuscule details; however, in this The book was flawlessly executed, with deceit and betrayal to both the protagonist and the reader. Having read the first book, you would have been introduced to the two main love interests and my heart tended to sway with a choice that differed from the author's. Due to this discrepancy and the fact that I felt betrayed while reading the book has lead me to give it four stars. Per usual, Kristen has written an intricate plot where everything matters down to the minuscule details; however, in this complex plot, I found myself torn over the actions of some of the main characters (particularly the main love interest). Though she leads up to some of the big twists in this book with ties to the first I partially wished I, as a reader, had the ability to piece things together before they were necessary for the scene. There were certain parts of the book where I had hunches but remained unaware of somethings until they were revealed a paragraph or two before Brynn had the astonishing reader herself. As someone who is an aspiring book detective, I wish I could have been yelling at the book, telling Brynn to put the pieces together; nevertheless, it was an enjoyable book and I am desperate to pick up the following one and see where the Vale Hall students take us next. :)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I enjoyed the first book, but this book? LOVED. The writing is great and the twists and turns? Did not see a lot of it coming! I’ve been conned! I LOVED that we got to see more of the secondary characters (Henry and especially Charlotte who I love x3 now) and I hope even more of the other students get some screen time in the third book. Beyond Charlotte, I was surprised to see how attached I got to Moore! More Moore! Lol Some of my only problems with Scammed were that a lot of the events that hap I enjoyed the first book, but this book? LOVED. The writing is great and the twists and turns? Did not see a lot of it coming! I’ve been conned! I LOVED that we got to see more of the secondary characters (Henry and especially Charlotte who I love x3 now) and I hope even more of the other students get some screen time in the third book. Beyond Charlotte, I was surprised to see how attached I got to Moore! More Moore! Lol Some of my only problems with Scammed were that a lot of the events that happened could have easily been solved with honesty (but then...no drama!) and that Brynn—our main character—was an easy pawn. For someone who’s good at what she does, she sure got played. I’m still spinning at all the twists that happened, trying to piece things from the first book. Seeing if maybe I missed clues, suspecting everyone, questioning who the real villains are and their true motives. That makes for a good book. @ Kristen Simmons/ Tor Teen, please send me the third book today, I am ready for third book, today. I will eagerly be waiting the third book, which I am ready for today. 4 out of 5 stars!

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