A story of twists and turns with the best con yet... Payback by Kristen Simmons (Review & #Giveaway) #yalit #yathriller #valehall #mustread @jeanbooknerd @torteen @kris10writes

Welcome to my tour stop! I really loved reading the first book in this series and enjoyed
the second and this third book as well. Read my review and enter the tour giveaway below...

(Vale Hall #3)
By Kristen Simmons
YA Contemporary Thriller
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 352 Pages
February 2, 2021 by Tor Teen


The unpredictable truth will be revealed in Payback, the stunning conclusion to Kristen Simmons’ Edgar-nominated thriller series that started with The Deceivers...

Brynn Hilder has conned a lot of people. From the spoiled rich kids of Sikawa City to her mom's loser ex-boyfriend, from a motorcycle gang to a senator's son. If there was money to be gained, or a secret to uncover, she figured out how to get it done. And thanks to Vale Hall and its director, Dr. David Odin, she's found a family of hustlers just like her.

Together, Brynn and her friends have overcome doubt, deceit, and betrayal to unearth the truth--a truth even a group of professional scammers couldn't have predicted.

And now they must tackle the biggest con artist of them all: the man who brought them all together. 


"Brilliantly plotted, tightly paced, and intensely smart. The Deceivers is the perfect con, full of clever characters, untrustworthy romance, and lie after lie after lie, with just enough truth tossed in to make you question everything. Kristen Simmons is a deceptive genius. I could not devour this book fast enough." —Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

“Beneath its quick and clever dialogue, The Deceivers examines the moral grey area between good and evil. Lying has never seemed so much fun." —Katharine McGee, New York Times bestselling author of the Thousandth Floor Trilogy

"Masterful, suspenseful, and brilliantly executed, The Deceivers is the perfect con. Kristen Simmons is an outstanding storyteller, and this is her best yet." —Amie Kaufman, New York Times bestselling author of Illuminae and These Broken Stars

"Addictive and delicious, The Deceivers will keep you turning the pages well into the night!" —Katie McGarry, critically acclaimed author of Pushing the Limits

"Brynn is a sharp, analytical thinker with a soft heart - the exact kind of protagonist I love rooting for, especially as villains and heroes creep out from places I don't expect...Even the prerequisite romance was a pleasant surprise as Brynn and her love interest show complete respect for one another, giving enthusiastic consent the front seat it absolutely deserves and yet feels underrepresented in young adult literature. I devoured this book in one big gulp because I couldn't wait to see what twists and turns were ahead." —Kelly Morton, Joseph-Beth Booksellers

“The Deceivers is a perfectly paced, high stakes read that is honestly super fun for the reader. Don't plan on putting it down in the middle to do other things, you'll want to keep reading. Simmons has outdone herself with this incredible new story about con artists and a girl trying to find her own path.” —Rachel Strolle, Teen Librarian, Glenside Public Library District

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

PAYBACK is a story about friendship, trust, love, and figuring out how far you'll go to save yourself and the ones you love. The story is full of surprises and twists that keep things interesting. Fans of the series should be happily content with this conclusion.

These characters have grown on me through this series. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Their own vulnerabilities and concerns for each other and their families. They finally know who the villain is and they must come up with a plan to win their freedom. One last con that will end it all. It isn't easy. Their opponent has resources and all the power and will do whatever it takes to win. The story has an underlying feel of suspense from beginning to end with the intensity growing to the climatic end.

I did have some disappointments with this last book. I felt like some of the planning was too easy or simple for it to work. I thought by now these characters would implement a better con from the start. Things do change though. I'm also not big on characters sleeping together in YA novels and that was a bit more in the forefront as was some more blatant innuendo.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was definitely a thrilling ride with some twists. Great characters, some romance, strong friendships, and a climatic ending made for an entertaining read.

Content: Some violence, mild swearing, teenage pregnancy and a gay relationship referenced, some heavy and somewhat descriptive making out, suggestive content and a fade-to-black love scene.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through JeanBookNerd Tours, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to my reviews.)

About the Author

Critically-acclaimed young adult author Kristen Simmons has worked with survivors of abuse and trauma as a mental health therapist, taught Jazzercise in five states, and is forever in search of the next best cupcake. Currently she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, where she spends her days supporting the caffeine industry and chasing her son.


Tour Schedule

Follow the tour here.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

- 3 Winners will receive the Vale Hall Series (all three books in the series) by Kristen Simmons.
- Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter | Ends February 21, 2021

Are you a fan of this author or this series? Do you like books with this that have intricate plots where there is a heist or a scam that unveils as the story goes?

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