Book Review: The Deceivers (The Valhalla Academy #1) by Kristen Simmons

The Deceivers (Vale Hall, #1)Title: The Deceivers (The Valhalla Academy #1)
Author: Kristen Simmons
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Pages: 384
Format: ARC Paperback
Publisher: Tor Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary/Suspense

          
Pretty Little Liars meets Ocean's 11 in this intrigue-filled contemporary drama from acclaimed author Kristen Simmons. Welcome to Vale Hall, the school for aspiring con artists. When Brynn Hilder is recruited to Vale, it seems like the elite academy is her chance to start over, away from her mom's loser boyfriend and her rundown neighborhood. But she soon learns that Vale chooses students not so much for their scholastic talent as for their extracurricular activities, such as her time spent conning rich North Shore kids out of their extravagant allowances. At first, Brynn jumps at the chance to help the school in its mission to rid the city of corrupt officials--because what could be better than giving entitled jerks what they deserve? But that's before she meets her mark--a senator's son--and before she discovers the school's headmaster has secrets he'll stop at nothing to protect. As the lines between right and wrong blur, Brynn begins to realize she's in way over head.

I loved this story! And I've never read a Kristen Simmons story before so I immediately researched her other books and found out that The Deceivers was a departure from her usual genre - which is great because I have her others to look forward to AND the rest of the books that follow in this series.

This was such a fun and exciting story. From the very beginning, I was sucked in because we are introduced to Brynn, who is deceiving from the beginning to fulfill her dreams, who doesn't live in the best neighborhood, nor under the best circumstances. It evoked so many emotions in me because you could just tell that she's a survivor, a person who has learned not to trust or to take grief from anyone - so very much unlike my childhood. I wanted to immediately give her a hug (and you know a character is perfectly depicted in a story that you know that even if you tried to hug her, she would push you away).

Enter Caleb. Oh, how I loved Caleb. From the moment he steps on the page, you know that he may very well be the love interest, but you also, like Brynn, have to take the time to trust him too. Because Brynn, without her knowledge, is being recruited by an elite squad, one intent on utilizing her ummm...skills - ones that she's had to hone as a "street smarts" type of kid. It's hard to write too much about what happens without ruining the story but there are twists and turns and man, I wanted to live inside this story! I CANNOT wait for the second book. Although this will be a series, the ending was satisfying and does not leave you hanging.

Obviously, I highly recommend this one. I hope you get a chance to read it. As always, happy reading!

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