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Cheater Hardcover – February 14, 2008

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—What could induce Karl, a certified genius on track to be his high school valedictorian, to cheat? How about an unlikely stew of half-truths and deceptions cooked up by a confederacy of the school's cool crowd, heated to a low boil by the attentions of the beautiful Cara, and spiced by a taste for putting the morally bankrupt assistant principal Klimchock in his place? After Karl notices that Blaine, whom he heretofore thought of as Mr. Clean, is using his phone's text capability to cheat, Karl is recruited to join Blaine's disparate group of fellow cheaters who claim they just want to screw the system. The slimy Klimchock, having caught wind of the plan, throws down his own high-tech gauntlet, using hidden video cameras to ensnare Karl, to whom he offers an unlikely deal: he'll fake records for the teen's college applications if Karl will rat out his "friends." Meanwhile, the rotten stink gets worse—a local realtor/mayoral candidate is scheming to encourage more cheating because high SAT scores translate into high real-estate prices. Hopefully readers, perhaps attracted by the eye-catching cover, will persist past the stereotypes to enjoy Laser's heartwarming ending, as despite some loose ends and fuzzy logic, there are some funny, interesting characters to enjoy in this contemporary satire.—Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Straight-A-student Karl Petrofsky finds himself in over his head after an underground cheating ring, known as The Confederacy, recruits him. Initially lured by the popularity of The Confederacy’s members, Karl dumps his nerdy friends and rationalizes that his cheating contributions are really a strike against a tyrannical assistant principal, Mr. Klimchock, who secretly uses security cameras to catch deceitful students. Then Klimchock nails Karl on tape and threatens to blacken his transcripts unless he coughs up the names of his coconspirators. Caught between The Confederacy and Klimchock, Karl tries to hatch a plan that will save his SAT scores and win back his best friend, Lizette. Laser’s breezy prose and humorous dialogue balance his serious message about the perils of cheating and will hold the attention of reluctant readers. A well-developed cast of secondary characters, some intriguing high-tech cheating tools, and a late-breaking plot twist round out this entertaining debut that will go over well with fans of David Lubar and Gordon Korman. Grades 7-10. --Jennifer Hubert

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1 edition (February 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525478264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525478263
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,567,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Karl Petrofsky keeps a low profile as the brightest guy in his class. He has a group of misfit friends that are definitely NOT part of the popular crowd. But one day in class, he thinks he catches Blaine Shore, one of the "It" kids, cheating on a test.

Later, Blaine approaches Karl, and invites him to the local hang out for lunch with fellow "It" kids. There, Blaine presents Karl with the option of joining their little "Confederacy" of cheaters. Blaine explains to him that, unlike Karl who is blessed with being smart, the rest of them are simply lazy. They have at their disposal the latest gadgets to assist them in all manners of cheating. Karl is dumbstruck at their proposal, but is adamant in his refusal to help.

But the next day, the assistant principal is on a crusade to ferret out cheaters, and has made an example of a student. Anyone caught cheating will from then on have a permanent mark placed in their record for all future colleges to see. Karl is disgruntled and, lured by the gorgeous Cara, agrees to join Blaine and his band of cheaters.

It doesn't take long for Karl to regret his decision. Cara is caught and is expelled from school. Karl wants out, but is being blackmailed from many sides and the walls are slowly closing in. Karl is alone and unable to go to his parents for help. His former friends have deserted him, ashamed that he's joined the cheaters. The cheaters don't want to let him go, needing his smarts to keep their grades up.

Mr. Laser writes a fast-paced story that is fascinating to read. The technology that is used to create new ways to cheat just boggles the mind -- though is probably a reality. This is a convincing story of a boy caught up in the thrill of being popular, for even a small moment in time. The consequences make for an intriguing story of how Karl deals with all the twists and turns that come from cheating and how he tries to come out on top.

Reviewed by: Jaglvr
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Format: Hardcover
Karl Petrofsky, a high school student, has the blessing and curse of being smart. The only places he thought it would get him are the top-notch colleges his parents are expecting him to get into, but one thing's for sure- his smartness would NEVER land him a spot with the "it" crowd of Lincoln High. That is, until Blaine Shore, the smoothest dude in school, comes to Karl with a rather preposterous proposal: he wants Karl to help him cheat.

At first, Karl refuses. But with a little help from Cara, a provocative girl that's pushing Karl to help Blaine, and a nagging voice in the back of his head, he hesitantly accepts. Shortly thereafter, he meets the Confederacy; a secret group of cheaters functioning below the school's surface. Karl's job is to be the brain, and provide the rest of the group with correct answers. The Confederacy uses a surprising multitude of tools to aid them in the art of skillful cheating- that is, without getting caught.

But when the rather maniacal assistant principal, Mr. Klimchock, makes an example of a student outside the group that was caught cheating, the stakes get higher. Klimchock enforces the anti-cheating policy to a terrifying extreme, which makes it all-the-more crucial to cheat without getting caught. After a few close brushes with authority, Karl decides he wants out- cheating has just become too risky.

But when things start spiraling out of control, Karl wonders if it's even more dangerous to back out. But then again, if he gets caught, the whole Confederacy could get a major stain on their permanent records- therefore crushing Mr. & Mrs. Petrofsky's hopes of sending Karl to an Ivy League school. The odds are piled against him, but Karl makes a decision that could change his life- and will. Will he come out on top?
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