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To Catch a Cheat

by Varian Johnson

Published by Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic, 2016
241 pages
ISBN: 978-0-545-72239-1

Ages 9-13

Jackson Greene has sworn off con games since successfully thwarting an attempt to rig the 8th grade presidential election. Then he’s sent a video that implicates members of Gang Greene, the team he put together, in school vandalism. The anonymous sender gives him a choice: Steal the answers to an upcoming social studies test or the video will be sent to the principal. African American Jackson knows the video was doctored but it was a skillful job; proving it won’t be easy. Jackson, Charlie (struggling with jealousy over all the attention Jackson got for the election scam heist), Gaby, and the other members of Gang Greene agree to the job, but part of Jackson’s plan is a double-cross: He’s determined to catch the blackmailers, expose the real vandals, and foil the cheating attempt. In this welcome follow-up to The Great Greene Heist, the characters are still interesting, the diversity is still effortless, and the fun of a con job in a middle school setting, to serve the greater good, no less, still delights. (Ages 9–13)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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