Author: Mary Elizabeth Summer
Publication: Delacorte Press (October 14, 2014)
Description: Fans of Ally Carter's Heist Society novels will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.
Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.
But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.
My Thoughts: This book was pitched as being like HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter and I can see some similarities. The female narrator - Julep Dupree - is a self-described grifter who is currently running cons in her exclusive private school. She also begins the book by telling us that she doesn't have a conscience. However, we also have to remember that she is a liar who will tell whatever story she needs to in order for her con to work.
At the story's beginning Julep comes home to find a trashed apartment and a missing father. Her immediate desire is to find him and to keep his absence a secret because fifteen-year-old without adult supervision wind up in foster care. She also has to find a way to make money to afford her rent and private school tuition. The money part isn't too difficult; she begins offering false IDs for sale and quickly has more business at her school that she can handle.
Tracking down her father is considerably harder. She is being followed by a mysterious person in a tricked-out Chevelle and she is also being followed by a guy who says he was hired by her best friend Sam to keep her safe.
It wouldn't be a teenage novel these days if it didn't have a love triangle. In this case, Julep catches the attention of the Big Man on Campus - Tyler Richland. Julep can't read him; all of a sudden her grifter's skills at reading people aren't working so well. They aren't working very well with her best friend Sam either. She and Sam have been friends for years and he has been her willing partner in most of her schemes but she somehow misses that he wants to be more than friends.
The plot was complex but Julep's skills at the con made for a mostly successful operation. There was one quite surprising loss. The emotions got intense and so did the danger as Julep, Sam and Tyler try to follow the clues her father left for her and find out what is going on. Julep has to pull off her biggest con yet to save those who needed to be saved and to survive herself.
I enjoyed the story and hope that more adventures are in Julep's future.
I step back in surprise and look up, immediately recognizing Tyler Richland, the St. Aggie's demigod/senior Harper name-dropped in the bathroom. He's captain of the fill-in-any-sport-here varsity team, he's popular, and he has a hotness factor that approaches solar levels. You don't go to St. Agatha's and not know Tyler Richland. In fact, you don't live in Chicago and not know Tyler Richland. His dad's a senator.
Coincidences are like unicorns—you can believe in them all you want, but that doesn't make them real.I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.