Con Academy by Joe Schreiber REVIEW

Con man Will Shea may have met his match in scammer Andrea Dufresne as they make a high-stakes deal that will determine who gets to stay at Connaughton Academy, one of the most elite and privileged preparatory schools in the country, and who must leave.
Con man Will Shea may have met his match in scammer Andrea Dufresne as they make a high-stakes deal that will determine who gets to stay at Connaughton Academy, one of the most elite and privileged preparatory schools in the country, and who must leave.

Con Academy by Joe Schreiber

Available in Print.

Will Shea attends the exclusive Connaughton Academy. He grew up on a tiny island in the Pacific. His parents were missionaries and died tragically. Sad story really – except none of it is true. Will is from New Jersey and is the son of a con-man. True to his upbringing, Will is pulling a con on Connaughton, successfully getting a scholarship to one of the most exclusive private schools in the country.

This con has no angle. Will wants to go legit and make something of himself. That hope quickly fades when another student Andrea discovers his secret and challenges him to a con-off. The first to fleece a load of money from the king of the campus, Brandt Rush, gets to stay and finish school.

Ah, Brandt. He’s obnoxious and arrogant. Half the buildings on campus are named after his family. He throws crazy huge gambling parties and gets away with everything. Brandt is just asking to be taken.

And so it begins, Will versus Andrea. Who’s conning who? Will brings in his uncle for help with his first big con, but did not intend for his alcoholic dad to get involved. With such a huge payoff that his dad is depending on, the stakes are even higher.

The story has twists and turns that keep everyone guessing. The story does borrow a few things from the movie The Sting, but it is still fun and suspenseful.

~Review by Will Smither, Indy PL Librarian and Teen Services Committee. You Know You Wanna Read It Blog.


The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds REVIEW

looney experiment
Tired of being unnoticed by the girl he likes and the punching bag of the school bully, young Atticus is inspired by his imagination, and an unconventional substitute English teacher named Mr. Looney, to change his situation.

The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds

Available in Print and ebook.

Atticus is short with curly hair, not really thin and wears glasses. He’s not athletic enough for his father or the baseball coach (yes, he is suffering through a season of baseball even though he has no talent for the game). He is being bullied by the coach’s son, Danny (who cleverly calls him Fatticus). Atticus is starting to think he is the reason his father left.

Atticus copes by playing out fantasies in his head (like the one where poet Robert Frost helps him with a class presentation and tells Danny off, too). He also dreams of his classmate Audrey, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen.

What really seems to be his saving grace is the new substitute English teacher, Mr. Looney. And he lives up to his name right away. On his first day of class, Mr. Looney doesn’t say a word to any of the students. He just stares at them. Atticus feels like Mr. Looney can really see him – maybe he’s the first person who has ever seen the real Atticus.

Atticus gets bullied more by Danny. His (once non-existent) friendship with Audrey gets stronger. And Mr. Looney’s ‘antics’ get the attention of the school board. Through it all, we pull for Atticus. We want him to see what we know to be true (and what his mom and Mr. Looney see): that Atticus is a good guy.

~Review by Will Smither, Indy PL Librarian and Teen Services Committee. You Know You Wanna Read It Blog.


Review of Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

We received the following review from one of our teen library users!

Patron Name: Rose W.

ketchup clouds
Zoe, a teenager in Bath, England, writes letters to a death-row inmate in Texas, hoping to find comfort in sharing her guilty secret over the death of a friend with someone who can never tell her family.

Title: Ketchup Clouds

Author: Annabel Pitcher

Available in Print, Audiobook, and ebook.

Review: Ketchup Clouds is a book about love and loss.Its written through letter format, because the main character, “Zoe” is writing letters to a prison pen pal named Stuart Harris. The story hits home through emotional roller coasters, relatable scenarios and the story of love and loss.





Everlost REVIEW


Everlost by Neal Shusterman

Available in Print and Audiobook.

It begins with two strangers, Nick and Allie, who die in a car wreck. They end up in Everlost, which is an alternative reality of the world we live in. They can still see everything that exists in the world, although it’s changed some… and certain things that have passed over into Everlost now seem more real than the real world.

Names are very important to the story, as over time the kids would forget their names and instead their nicknames would stick… and the nicknames usually reflected their appearance (Pinhead, Speedo, Lief, Hershey).

Sometimes people forgot what they looked like and their appearance would begin to change. McGill (a villain in the story) has literally become a monster and WANTS to appear that way… he had forgotten what he looked like. It’s only when someone is shown a picture or reminded of how they look (or SHOULD look) that they alter their appearance back.

I love how creative Shusterman is with this first book in his Skinjacker Trilogy. One of my favorite parts of Everlost were the quoted readings from Mary and Allie’s books throughout the story. I also enjoyed and appreciated the variety in the story… pirate ships, the Hindenberg, the Twin Towers, Roswell, New Mexico… all were incorporated into this fast-paced story.

-Review by Michelle Frost


Check out these Urban Fiction titles

Librarian Donna Neblett from Warren Library created this list of awesome Urban Fiction Authors for you to check out.

get ready for warGet Ready for War, ebook, Print.

While attending their ultra-exclusive private school in Hollywood, London must hide her relationship with Justice from her parents, Heather cleans up her act in rehab, Spencer reveals secrets to the media, and Rich’s web of lies catches up with her.

Teen chick lit, high-drama.





tyrellTyrell, ebook, Print.

Fifteen-year-old Tyrell, who is living in a Bronx homeless shelter with his spaced-out mother and his younger brother, tries to avoid temptation so he does not end up in jail like his father.

Realistic fiction, fast-paced, atmospheric, serious, compelling conversation, dialect-filled.




1616 On the Block, Print.

When she is expected to pay back her sister’s old debt, sixteen-year-old Summer must take to the streets, learning hard, fast lessons about survival, loyalty, and love.

Realistic, urban fiction.





drama highStreet Soldiers, ebook, Print.

Starting with a murder in front of Jayd’s grandparents’ house, Mama and Daddy are convinced the police have the wrong suspect in custody and have joined forces to help organize the neighborhood and find the real killer. Mickey’s ex-boyfriend has been arrested for the gruesome act, which is more like their wicked next-door neighbor, Esmeralda, and her shape-shifting boyfriend, Rousseau’s handiwork. And, to make matters worse, Esmeralda’s influence in the community is growing stronger every day as are the powers of her top apprentices and Jayd’s best frenemies, Misty and Emilio.

two the hard wayTwo the Hard Way, ebook, Print.

Star high-school quarterback Romeo has everything on the right track until his older brother Kwamé gets out of jail, their absentee mother returns to their lives, and Romeo’s girlfriend Ngiai wants a serious relationship.

Realistic, Urban fiction.





Looking for more excellent teen urban fiction authors? Here are some more for you to check out.

Karyn Folan, Rashawn Hughes, Travis Hunter, Patrick Jones, Peggy Kern, Paul Langan, Darrien Lee, Kelli London, Booker T. Mattison, Janet McDonald, Walter Dean Myers, Ni-Ni Simone, Sparkle, and Chris L. Terry.