This is another one of those novels that I seem to have a love / hate relationship with, primarily because it had potential to be alarmingly accurate, but sadly ended in a typical ‘all is well’ sort of way.
I’ll start with what I enjoyed.
The whole idea of a cheating ring- very mafioso for highshool students. The references to pimping out the client work to their employees was also funny. Cherry did a great job at bringing adult situations and jobs to a younger audience. It was interesting to see how the whole cheating ring evolved from just Maya and Camden, to having over forty clients and six employees. It was an education in proper business growth! Learn something new every day, right?
Sarah… she was perfect. Normally the best friend in these sorts of scenarios is meant to break down halfway through the issue/fight and decide to help after all. But Sarah sticks to her morals. Even after Maya explains why she started the cheating ring, claiming that her reasons were good, Darah still refuses to help her because she doesn’t feel like it’s the right thing to do (and not only on a moral level, but also because she would be feeding into Maya’s scheme; her friend may never give up the cheating ring if Sarah supported it.) I also can’t fault Sarah for stating a selfish reason as well because I would have done the same thing- if they got caught, Sarah may lose her Stanford acceptance. In a situation like this, I think it’s safe to say that she’s allowed to be selfish.
I LOVE the fact that Camden was expelled. I know that sounds horrible, but I’m all for people getting what they deserve. Usually when you read a YA novel about people misbehaving, their punishment is nothing more than a slap on the wrist, detention, being grounded, or possibly doing community service out of moral obligation (though it’s usually forced on them by a parent or principal, so do they really learn their lesson?). FOR ONCE the character actually gets what they deserve. In high school, I always hated it when kids got away with cheating. It’s really unfair, but they barely got punished. For Camden to get expelled?! Thank goodness….
That being said, here come the things I disliked about this novel…
As I mentioned before, this book had potential to be alarmingly accurate. After Camden getting expelled, I waited in anticipation for Maya to suffer the same fate. No such luck. SHE DESERVED TO BE EXPELLED! She started the cheating ring for her own gain, and she expanded when it suited her current situation. She did everyhing that Camden did (distribute work, take payment, organize the ring ), plus she was technically the one actually doing the work that would later be used to cheat! SHE CREATED ALL THE CHEATERS! No one would have been able to cheat (even Camden ) if Maya hadn’t done their work for them. She was the problem… Camden only supplied the solution (aka the clients). When she confessed to the principle, I was so excited to finally see a main character getting what they deserved despite the fact that it wouldn’t be a sunshine, happy ending. But then all her friends show up and go all breakfast club on the principle’s ass, sticking together by taking the blame so the principle will have no choice but to simply suspend them each for three days. THATS BASICALLY JUST A LONG WEEKEND!!! And sure, Maya can no longer go to Stanford, but the punishment and aftermath still seems week in comparison to what it should be, and in comparison to Camden’s punishment. Ughhhhhhhh it’s just not right!
I also didn’t fully understand why the health inspection fine was so much. I mean, 10 000$?! A little steep and hard to believe- making that much money in a month by doing other people’s homework? Just seems a bit ridiculous. And then it’s topped off with a 5 000$ blackmail?! That’s 15 000$ in four weeks! !!!!!!! How am I supposed to believe that large of a number is doable? It should have been a 5 000$ fine at the most, and then a 2 500$ blackmail. I can get behind that.
I also don’t understand how Maya could fall for Camden. Sarah was right – he’s a douche! He was mean to her and disgusting in conversation; a real man whore. And then suddenly he kisses her quickly, and she suddenly has a crush on him. He had NO redeeming qualities… nothing that made me think he was just misunderstood or damaged. NO. HE. WAS. JUST. A. DICK. And she fell for him… I couldn’t understand the appeal, which made it hard to support the relationship. Even though he helped her with some assignments in the last two weeks, and he said he faked the kiss with Dani for Maya’s own good, it all just seemed forced to give the reader a last ditch moment to approve of this relationship. If anything, it just made me hate it more. Kissing another girl is never for a girlfriend’s ‘own good’. There is always another way, but of course the womanizing ass would resort to the shit he knows best…
Anyway, maybe you’ll enjoy this book more more than I did. Perhaps you’ll connect with their relationship where I couldn’t, or you’ll prefer the I learned my lesson without expulsion lesson. Give it a chance Book Babies, and then shoot me some comments! My opinion is obviously not the only opinion! haha