Series: Vale Hall #1
Published by Tor Teen (2.5.2019)
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 384 pages
Welcome to Vale Hall, the school for aspiring con artists.
When Brynn Hilder is recruited to Vale, it seems like the elite academy is her chance to start over, away from her mom's loser boyfriend and her rundown neighborhood. But she soon learns that Vale chooses students not so much for their scholastic talent as for their extracurricular activities, such as her time spent conning rich North Shore kids out of their extravagant allowances.
At first, Brynn jumps at the chance to help the school in its mission to rid the city of corrupt officials--because what could be better than giving entitled jerks what they deserve? But that's before she meets her mark--a senator's son--and before she discovers the school's headmaster has secrets he'll stop at nothing to protect. As the lines between right and wrong blur, Brynn begins to realize she's in way over head.
Vincit Omnia Veritas.
Truth conquers all.
I absolutely adore Kristen Simmons, you guys! I always enjoy everything she writes and this book was no different. Well, it was very different for Kristen, but I enjoyed it all the same! This is her first contemporary – everything else has been sci-fi. And she rocked it! I loved the idea of the book – a school for con artists! It was oh so fun and unlike any other contemp I’ve ever read.
Brynn was such a relatable character. She comes from nothing, basically, and has to scrape and steal to get by. I felt that on a cellular level (the scraping, not the stealing lol). The opportunity to be handed a full scholarship and everything you’ve ever wanted is probably a dream that all of us lower class people can relate to. How amazing would it be to have room and board paid for?! I got a bit dreamy over Brynn’s acceptance into Vale Hall. (I totally want to go to Vale Hall mwahahaha.)
Speaking of Vale Hall – I love Kristen’s inspiration from Norse mythology! She was inspired by Valhalla and the valkyries that collect souls – instead of collecting souls, the students collect secrets! Awesome, right?! The director’s name is Dr. Odin (like the Allfather!) and the main character, Brynn Hilder, is named after the famous valkyrie Brynhildr. There’s also a lot of other references in the character’s names and their roles. I thought it was awesome how Kristen hid those little easter eggs throughout the book!
I know how to play the game and get out. But I’ve never been in this deep before.
Like I said, this book is so fun! It’s full of secrets, lies, and betrayal (oh my!) and has a few nice little twists in there to keep you on your toes. You never know what will happen next, I love how unexpected this book was!
I also want to add in a little side note: I went to the launch for the book (Kristen is local so I get to go to all of her events!) and she talked a lot about her inspiration for the book and some famous con artists that inspired her and it was so fun to hear her talk about it! She gets so excited when she talks about con artists, it’s adorable!
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5