Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Blog Tour: The Deceivers

The Deceivers
Kristen Simmons
Series: Vale Hall, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Tor Teen
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Pretty Little Liars meets Ocean's 11 in this intrigue-filled contemporary drama from acclaimed author Kristen Simmons.

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.

On the surface, this does not appear to be my usual cup of tea, but Simmons incorporated several elements, that had me chomping at the bit to read this one.
  1. Based on Norse mythology
  2. Shades of Ocean's 11
  3. An elite, top-secret boarding school
And let me tell you, these elements were combined in such a way, that I could NOT stop flipping the pages. 

When I first met Brynn, she was living in a rundown part of town, Devon Park, with her mother's drug dealer boyfriend. All she wanted was a way out of this dead end life, and she thought she could run cons in order to accomplish the task. Little did she know, her skills as a con artist would earn her way into an elite school, Vale Hall, which promised a top-notch education and a colligate future. The catch? She would have to complete missions and collect secrets, but this was a price Brynn was willing to pay to ensure her future. 

There were so many things that kept me engrossed in this story.
  • Brynn was a very complex character. She appears to have a take-no-prisoners attitude, when it came to getting what she wanted, but her actions more than contradicted that assumption. She surprised me quite a few times over the course of this story, and these were good surprises. 
  • All the Vale Hall operatives had very interesting backstories. The circumstances that brought them to Dr. Odin's attention, as well as their skillsets, were all worth exploring further, and made me more invested in each and every one of them. 
  • All the major players were so intertwined. It was amazing watching all the pieces fall into place, as bit by bit, we learned more and more about what happened to who and why. 
  • I went back and forth with Dr. O on many occasions. The whole concept of Vale Hall puts us in some serious morally grey areas, but his actions would often make me feel like he was one of the good guys. He would do so many incredible things for people, and turn around and do something completely questionable. He's one of the characters I hope to get to know better in future books. 
  • Caleb, sigh, I am all about Caleb. He was a little light in a story, that leaned towards the darker side of things. I am shipping him and Brynn, so let's make that a permanent thing. 
  • Just when I thought I knew exactly what was going on, the story would take a turn I didn't see coming. That's what happens when readers get smug. 
  • They may have been teen cons, but they formed a family at Vale Hall, and I really enjoyed sharing some of those lighter moments with them. 
This story was gritty and twisty and the characters and story had me glued to the pages. I am looking forwarded to seeing what new deceptions the students of Vale Hall will be pulling in the near future.

* ARC received in exchange for an honest review.


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Kristen Simmons is the critically acclaimed author of the ARTICLE 5 series, THE GLASS ARROW, METALTOWN, and PACIFICA. She has worked with survivors of abuse and trauma as a mental health therapist, taught Jazzercise in five states, and is forever in search of the next best cupcake. Currently she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, where she spends her days supporting the caffeine industry and chasing her rambunctious son.

Do you have a favorite Norse myth?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I'm glad this ended up being a good read for you. The Ocean's 11 vibe and the boarding school setting have me really excited to read this one.

    1. It's a little dark, but there was enough "light" to make me happy, andI definitely want to know more.

  2. I was just reading Lindsi's review last night and was saying that while I usually enjoy morally characters, I'm not sure how I would do with a morally gray plot. Ha! I mean, if you're doing something wrong but it's for a good reason... is it still wrong? That's tricky and I'm not sure how on-board with it I would be. I didn't know about the Norse mythology aspect and that's pretty cool!

    1. The book is based on the legend of Valhalla. I wouldn't say I knew a bunch about it prior to reading, but it inspired me to read more about it.

  3. I do like a book that raises questions.

    sherry @ fundinmental

  4. It's been the longest time since I've read a book by Simmons, I would have thought that this book wouldn't be my sort of book, but I think you've convinced me otherwise to give this book a go! Also Caleb sounds fantastic! Great review :)

    1. With each new thing I learned about Caleb, I liked him more and more. The characters weren't that lovable at first glance, but when I got into their backstories and learned more about their struggles, I just couldn't help but want them to succeed.

  5. This was such an interesting book! I loved that boarding school setting. I am so happy that you enjoyed it as well. :)

  6. This sounds fun! The Norse mythology part intrigues me!

    1. I had to go and read more about Valhalla so I could make more connections. Very interesting spin on the legend.

  7. I really enjoyed Simmons book The Glass Arrow and would actually like to read more of her books. This one sounds like such a good one to me! The three points you mentioned about it being compared to Oceans 11, Norse Mythology based and also set at a boarding school are all things that would intrigue me as well. So going to read this!

    1. It was a little different kind of read for me, but I really enjoyed Simmons storytelling. I will definitely continue this series.

  8. I have most of the Article 5 series - my oldest loved it. I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet but hoping too! I also want to read this one!


    1. This is my first Simmons book, and I am really happy with it. I am super picky about committing to new series, but I am glad I took a chance on this one.