Cheating Lessons Review

Cheating Lessons
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Bernadette is not only an academic shining star, she is also her debating team's shining star. The 12th-grader is under a lot of pressure - financial reversals cause her to spend her secondary years in the public instead of the Catholic school she had previously attended and her college fund had been severely depleted to meet the family's financial needs. Undaunted, Bernadette has scholarships and is ruthlessly driven to remain in the top academic stratum of her school.
Her best friend, Nadine is also a high achiever, but lacks the ruthless self-discipline drive that Bernadette has. The girls become friends in 8th grade after Bernadette is snubbed by a girl from a clique.
The girls share a common romantic interest in their new English teacher, Mr. Frank Malory. Newly arrived from England, he lends a touch of the exotic to their Michigan high school; his love for classic literature and flair for expression ignite a spark of academic interest among his pupils.
His main interest is to see Wickham High School win the academic quiz. Each year, Michigan high schools vie to qualify for eligibility in the competition. Once he teaches at Wickham, the school's average jumps to an impressive 92%, thus qualifying them for the competition.
Or does it? Bernadette fears that foul play is afoot and is determined to get to the bottom of it. She applies deductive reasoning to conclude that only by some deceptive reporting could Wickham have even become eligible for the academic quiz. She, with some unlikely help works hard to unravel this possible mystery...and, at the end of it all, it is Bernadette who has earned that A+ honestly.
This is an excellent, tautly written novel that provides a hard, objective look at cliques; social dynamics; school politics; administrative politics and the unfortunate results of same. This is definitely an author to watch out for!

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