The plot thickens and not everyone can be trusted... Scammed by Kristen Simmons (Review) #yalit #yathriller #valehall #scammed

(Vale Hall #2)
By Kristen Simmons
YA Contemporary Thriller
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 384 Pages
February 4, 2020 by Tor Teen


The series that began with The Deceivers continues in Scammed, the second twist-filled installment from Kristen Simmons, author of Article 5 and The Glass Arrow.

The stakes are higher. The cons are riskier. And nothing is what you think it is.

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?

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My Review

SCAMMED is a great title for this story that gets more intense as it goes, with high stakes, and cons behind cons. The characters have quite a bit of a challenge in figuring out what to do and who to trust. The characters become even more likable in this second book in the series, with some swoon-worthy romance and danger everywhere. Recommended to fans of the series and readers who enjoy stories with great characters and plenty of plot twists.

This story picks up just a few months after the first book, but things are even more complex when a certain boy crashes the con school of Vale Hall. I remember a bit about these characters from the first book, although mostly just Brynn, Caleb and Grayson. As I read the other characters became familiar again, but even more so in this book. I felt like they were fleshed out even more and I saw more sides of them. None of them are flat characters, but each have their own personalities and complexities. The were only two or three of the students that don't really play much of a role. I loved Brynn and Caleb from the first book, and I loved them even more here even when I want to shake some sense into them at certain points. The romance was sweet for the most part except a few places with a bit more heat without quite going over the line for me.

Then there's the plot. This one was quite interesting. Just like the first book, you can't take anything as it's presented. There's twists and turns and different information coming to light as the story goes up to the very end. I was never exactly sure who Brynn could trust except for a few people, although she didn't really know at all. The third book is definitely going to be intense and I'm looking forward to it!

I didn't necessarily have issues with this story. More that some parts were really dramatic and I didn't always love the direction things went. More personal preference than anything. One other note is that I really don't like it when a publisher changes covers for a series after the first book. I'm not huge on these poised models on the covers of these either. I think I prefer the original style from the first book better.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was a crazy roller-coaster ride with plenty of twists and a bit of betrayal. I enjoyed all the friendships, the romance, and the characters. It's character and plot driven, so if you're like me and want great characters but an equally intriguing plot, then this is definitely a series I'd recommend!

Content: Some mild swearing, teenage pregnancy and a gay relationship referenced, and some heavy and somewhat descriptive making out.
Source: I received a complimentary ARC from the publisher through NetGalley, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to my reviews.)

I'm on tour for the third book with a review here and there's also a giveaway for all three books in the series, so go check that out!

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