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The Deceivers

5 stars
539 (28%)
4 stars
795 (41%)
3 stars
476 (24%)
2 stars
86 (4%)
1 star
20 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 393 reviews
Profile Image for Lili  Marcus.
715 reviews406 followers
June 6, 2019
Check Out My Blog: Lili's Blissful Pages

This book is marketed as Pretty Little Liars meets Ocean’s 11 and I agree. It sets in Vale Hall, a school for con artists and this is what made me requested this book from Netgalley. I was really intrigued. And it features Brynn Hilder, a teen who wants to escape her miserable life and thinks Vale Hall is her chance with a promise from Vale Hall’s Owner/Director, Dr. David Odin of a great future. But still Brynn has to do her best to survive in a place filled with cons and aspiring cons.

This book is totally unexpected. It started mediocre but as I read, it got more and more interesting until I was totally hooked. The writing didn’t even interest me. What made me keep reading is the plot itself. I was really interested how things would go, who are the other deceivers, what really happens in a school of cons, who is David Odin (really he is the best character), and who’s telling lies or truths. I wanna know what happens in the end, I want the reveals so I kept reading. And I was not disappointed.

The reveals are fine and this book has some underlying themes I’m really fascinated at. Like Odin’s principle on why he founded Vale Hall.

I didn’t really find Brynn that interesting at first few chapters. I couldn’t even relate or give sympathy to her because I just don’t feel her. But she grew on me eventually. On the other hand, I love Caleb. He’s so sweet and thoughtful and I just wanna grab him and take him out of Vale Hall. He needs to be in a real University and be an architect someday. The other students, are okay , some of them are pretty well-rounded while others, I think, need more character arcs. But they’re found family so I’m contented. My favorite would be Odin. He got these layers of himself going on and he made me question things, of the things I believe in. He’s a bad influence. Haha.

Overall, this is a fine read but still can be more. This is my first from this author but won’t be the last.

I was provided a copy by the publisher/author thru Netgalley. Thank you.
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,107 reviews533 followers
November 29, 2021
Brynn is saving up to go to college - by pulling "Robin Hood" scams - stealing from the rich. She is recruited to Vale Hall school as a result of her larcenous gifts. There, she meets Caleb, who may not be all he seems to be. This is a twisted ride of a story, which is very well written and will keep you interested right up to the end. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Erin.
3,094 reviews484 followers
February 17, 2019
Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillian-Tor/Forge for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review

I rarely (if ever)would state this in a book review, but the whole concept of a group of teenagers at an elite con artist school would be electric on television,but failed to initiate any type of feeling during my reading experience. I am putting this at a 2 star because I felt as if I was wading through mud to reach the end of the book. However as I am way below the average rating of the book, it's possible it's "me not them" type of feeling.
Profile Image for The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori).
1,188 reviews1,338 followers
February 11, 2019
Full Review on The Candid Cover

The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons is the kind of book I knew I would enjoy the second I read the summary. For starters, the story is about a school for con artists and is filled with secrecy. I especially the unique and twisty plot and the strong main character. Fans of Ally Carter will definitely enjoy this suspenseful drama.


This book tells the story of a mysterious school of elites which is actually grounds for creating young con artists. For Brynn, acceptance into Vale Hall is a dream come true and the chance to escape her mom’s drug dealer boyfriend. I enjoyed reading about the assignments given to Brynn and the students and the plot twists throughout the book. There is so much action as secrets are uncovered and obstacles from Brynn’s old life arise. Ultimately, this is a suspenseful and complex book that raises the question of morality.


I enjoyed Brynn’s character and her strength. She is intelligent and has the sense to weigh the pros and cons of her assignments at Vale Hall. She also doesn’t back down from a challenge and commits to her tasks 100%. I enjoyed how she has some street smarts as well thanks to her mom’s boyfriend, but also how she doesn’t complain about her life before the school. The side characters and Brynn’s acquaintances at the school are also well-developed and have their own skills.


The Deceivers is a fast-paced novel filled with secrecy. I loved the original school for con artists and the clever main character. I am excited to see what other deceptions will be occur in the sequel.
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
602 reviews812 followers
February 16, 2019
4 stars

I really enjoyed The Deceivers, just as I enjoyed reading Pacifica last year! Kristen Simmons is wonderful at creating enjoyable, unputdownable YA that’s entertaining and well-plotted enough that it keeps you on your toes!

This book was just a really great book at keeping you entertained and engaged and invested, while also keeping things real. I mean, Kristen Simmons is a wonderful author for getting really great mixed race rep (and it’s not for diversity points) and she also touches on some of the socioeconomic barriers that exist, especially as the main character, Brynn, has to catch up with her school work at Vale Hall.

I was just sucked into the story–not only do I enjoy reading a good boarding-school sort of story, but the con artist part of the plot was so much fun and something I think Simmons did so well with! Some of Brynn’s cons had me holding my breath, and Brynn gets into a lot of spicy situations.

And besides what was happening in the moment, I also really enjoyed how it still had a big, overarching plot for the series. So even though this book had its plot resolved pretty well, there are still a lot of things going on with Brynn and Vale Hall that have me itching for book 2.

Plus, I loved the romance, which is really unlike me? Simmons did a great job of building the chemistry (also, the slipped in “Is this okay?” was top notch and super smooth) and I love love loved the relationship between Brynn and Caleb!

I think one of the best parts of this book was just how Simmons balanced out all of Brynn’s life–what she had going on with her mother and her past, what her assignment at Vale Hall is, dealing with new friends–and also how Simmons somehow made it all connect in a sorta mind-blowing way? The ending had me gaping, that’s for sure.

I guess the reason that this is a 4 and not higher (I’d honestly rate it 4.25 if I believed in quarter stars) is just because I was looking for just a little bit more mischief? Just a couple scenes felt wrapped up a little too neatly and when they had me holding my breath at the start of the scene, had me not holding it by the end and the excitement dropped a little bit where I think Simmons could have built up the heart-poundingness.

But overall, I definitely enjoyed reading and would not let this dissuade you from picking The Deceivers up! Seriously, it’s a lot of fun and really entertaining, yet with enough substance that it’s a book you enjoy and feel good reading, if that makes sense?

If you like boarding school novels, books about cons, and lots of fun and action, I would suggest you check The Deceivers out! It was really enjoyable to read and something I think a lot of people won’t realize is a wonderful book, but actually is.

Thank you so much to Tor Teen and Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

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Vicky Who Reads
Profile Image for Karen’s Library.
1,093 reviews168 followers
January 23, 2020
I own all of Kristen Simmons books and have read all but one. It's on my TBR and I really need to get to it sooner than later. I adore her writing.

This book was very different than Kristen's usual genre, dystopian, and I loved it. In fact I finished it in one day. I had to! And I absolutely can't wait to jump into book 2 of the Vale Hall series, Scammed.

In The Deceivers, Brynn tries to earn college money by doing cons. She lives in a horrific part of the city and her mother's boyfriend is a big time drug lord, who abuses Brynn's mom. Brynn wants to escape her life and make something of herself.

Brynn is sought after for her con skills and is invited into an elite private school where the main curriculum is learning to be a con artist.

I thought this story was intriguing and the pacing was perfect. I loved Brynn, and Caleb, and Henry, and Charlotte... I couldn't get enough, actually.

I can't wait to see what's next for the students of Yale Hall.
Profile Image for Trisha (semi-hiatus).
243 reviews127 followers
February 1, 2021
Blog Review: https://trishadoeseverythingbutstudy2...

I loved everything in this but the romance. The romance and me just did not vibe and I just don't know why, but I do not care about the romance.

The plot was amazing, the concept amazing, but I don't know, the romance was just not good. It was soo insta-love and like soooo fast. You've known each other for like half a day, how do you know what he'd like and what he'd not like? What exactly is normal for him, and what is not? Where are you getting all this info, Brynn?

This also seemed like it was veering towards a love triangle, so I'm glad it didn't end that way. It didn't right? I'm not even sure. The only reason I'm confused about this anyway is that the cover had three people, and while Brynn and Caleb were pretty obvious, the third one was Grayson? Or Henry? I just don't know.

The plot with all the double-crossing, and triple-crossing, and seducing, and points revealed at just the right moment; I just loved the writing in this. Brynn with her badass skills iwth conning was really bound to be my favourite, were it not for the romance. That being said, I do not actually have a favourite for this book, but I did love Henry! Though I didn't completely trust him. You can't completely trust anyone in this book.

I love boarding-school-cum-spy/espionage/conning-teaching-institutions whenever they're in books, so I really loved the classes in this. Though I would have liked a bit more focus on those too, we moved on pretty fast.

Other than that, I don't really have anything to say about this. While it was really enjoyable, there was nothing that really stuck with me after this. That being said, I will definitely be reading the rest of this series, or at least the second book.

On the whole, an amazing, suspenseful book, and one I would recommend to anyone who likes the whole conning/spying thing, teenagers doing the whole conning/spying thing, doesn't mind the really insta-love romance, loves suspenseful plots, and stuff that isn't revealed till the very end, but you felt like you knew it all along.
Profile Image for Lindsi (Do You Dog-ear?).
713 reviews178 followers
November 27, 2021
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

The Deceivers makes you question what's right and what's wrong. "The starving child who steals bread to survive, is he wrong? The man who kills his wife's murderer, does he not have that right?" I know that I would do anything to keep my family safe, and if our circumstances were different, that might mean having questionable morals. There are bad people in the world, and Vale Hall promises to exploit them and discreetly make the world a better place.

I really liked the idea of a private school for teenaged con artists, although it made it hard to trust the secondary characters. I never knew if someone was playing a role or being genuine, and things are good and twisted by the end of the book. Everyone has a personal agenda, but they're also playing a larger role that could come crashing down on their heads at any moment. It was insane. One of the characters, Charlotte, says she and Sam handle their situation by remembering what's real and what's pretend, but I feel like those lines become blurred after awhile.

I'm not sure how I feel about the director and his decisions, because he's essentially using children to gather secrets from powerful and dangerous people. He claims they are never in any real danger, but the fear is real and he cannot account for everything.

The Deceivers was a fun, quick read that held my attention. I wanted to know how Brynn's assignment worked out, and whether or not her past would weigh down her future. I was also curious about the other students, especially Caleb, and what they were doing on the director's orders.

The romance was awkward, and I was happy when it didn't feel forced. They were just two people getting to know each other, which is difficult when they share more secrets than truths. It was hard for them to develop trust and feelings, because they were both guarded and working through their own problems. Their connection was subtle at first, but really grows when they begin working together.

I really enjoyed this book, although it did drag in a few places. The beginning of the story starts off with a bang, but Brynn's adjustment period is slow going. They kept saying it was about the long con, but it was hard having the patience for it. I wish we'd learned more about the secondary characters and their assignments, because I thought they were all very fascinating people. They come from various backgrounds, and they're all willing to do whatever it takes to survive and move up in the world.

There are a lot of surprises at the end of The Deceivers, but only a few that I anticipated. If you think about it, it's a place for con artists, so a few twists are to be expected! Everyone has secrets and personal agendas, and it was interesting to see how they all overlapped. I would definitely recommend this one!

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Profile Image for Jessi (Novel Heartbeat).
1,044 reviews612 followers
February 10, 2019

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!

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!

This review was originally posted on Novel Heartbeat. To see a breakdown of my assessment, please visit the full review here.
Profile Image for Amanda .
432 reviews156 followers
January 24, 2019
You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress....

I was super excited for this one. As soon as I got my hands on a review copy I had to read it. I love novels about con artists, thieves and criminals and this novel combined that with a boarding school setting. Immediately upon picking this up I was reminded of Ally Carter and Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I had such high expectations for this novel, and while it was really good, it fell short in places for me. The idea was great, but the execution could have been much better.

The pacing of this novel was a lot slower than I would have liked. I picked this up because I was starting to fall into a fantasy reading slump and I was hoping this would grab me and keep me on the edge of my seat. But instead I found it rather easy to set down. It started off really strong, so I expected it to maintain a fast and thrilling pace, in that aspect I was disappointed though.

However, the plot was pretty interesting. I love the idea of an elite private school for con artists. Some of the scenes were so much fun to read, like a field trip to practice cons. At the end of the novel there were a bunch of twists that I didn’t see coming. There could have been so much more to this story to make it better and while I did love the plot, I just expected a lot more out of this story.

I did like the characters, they are a little morally corrupt, but honestly, not as morally corrupt as I would expect a bunch of teenage con artists to be. I had some issues with the character development though. This was a case where the author told things rather than showed us them. The attempt at making these characters seem multi-layered came off as superficial. I really wanted to be more emotionally invested in these characters.

I really wanted to love this novel. It had a great idea, fun setting and even a decent plot, but it fell short of my expectations. The pacing was slow and The Deceivers took me a while to finally finish. I did like the characters, but I felt like they came across a bit superficial despite attempts by the author to give them layers. I did enjoy reading this one, but I had a lot of issues with it and thought it could have been a lot better.
Profile Image for Jenn.
1,764 reviews303 followers
February 24, 2020
Ok so this one ended up being much more fun than I thought it would be!

The Deceivers is a book about the long con. Brynn Hilder hasn't always had it easy, so when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a private boarding school with a straight shot to college, she jumps on. Life gets even more complicated when she realizes it's a school for up and coming con artists.

I was pretty much hooked from the beginning. I mean, I finished this in one day. Simmons created this fun, twisted group of teenagers who, while they were conning people for school credit, were also just the sweetest and funniest group to read about. There was a sense of camaraderie among them that you felt their friendship.

Also, I adored Henry and he must be protected at all costs. And yes, Caleb was swoony.

I also really liked the way Simmons let the cons play out. There were so many and they all overlapped that by the end I was like whattttt? I cannot wait to get my hands on the second one!
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,949 reviews306 followers
January 13, 2019
She has brought to the Modern world this contemporary version of the Valhalla story. We have Brynn Hilder who is surviving as well as she can grow up in the rugged Devon Estates. She has learned to become a good con artist to raise money to go to college as her job cleaning the libraries won't get her there as fast as she planned. Her mother's current boyfriend Pete is the local drug dealer, and when he steals her savings, Brynn needs a new plan quickly. This leads her to follow a boy who has been casing her the last few days, and she stumbles upon a private game where the prize is the prestige entry to Vale Hill Estate. If she gets in, she will be set for life and have her pick of any college. With nothing to lose, she enters and has a fun night out. Not thinking much of it, since she gave a fake name and all she heads to bed. Only for the next morning, she is awoken and told she has an interview at the mysterious Vale Hill. Brynn arrives, and it's like a dream come true, the thing is that this isn't any ordinary school but a school where they teach you to become con artists, spies, and thieves. A school where collecting secrets is their currency. Brynn has been given a choice - gather all she can on Grayson Sterling and be part of the school or turn it down and go back to her life as she knew it. Brynn agrees, and her life is changed as she is thrown into a world of secrets, lies and not knowing who she can trust? Is Brynn as she digs deeper and falls into the world of Valhalla Academy cut out for this lifestyle? Knowing the truth of who Dr. Odin is and why he picked Brynn at the end of the book - will she continue to study at Vale or will she take the knowledge she has and her existence wiped as Margot's - the girl before hers was?
Find out in the first book of The Valhalla Academy - Deceivers by Kristen Simmons. This series fans of Gallagher Girls and Heist Society by Ally Carter will enjoy.
Profile Image for Stay Fetters.
2,113 reviews134 followers
February 3, 2019
"But careful isn’t an option. Careful is a luxury you have when your baseline isn’t chaos. When every decision isn’t determined by a calculated risk. In lives like ours, you grasp onto those who understand you, or you face every obstacle alone."

This is the first book by Kristen Simmons that I’ve ever read and it won’t be the last. I own books by her but I’m not sure why I haven’t read them. This book is going to make me bump those up my tbr list.

Ocean's Eleven meets Pretty Little Liars in this fun and mysterious school for Con Artists.

Brynn hasn't ever had it easy. Her Dad passed away suddenly when he was shot at work and her Mom decided to strike up a love interest in someone who disrespects them both and does some underhanded things to make money. To say that Brynn's life sucks would be quite the understatement. One day as she's pulling her con on some unsuspecting people, a boy with a raven crest on his shirt starts to follow Brynn. She thinks it's a coincidence at first but then becomes freaked as he starts showing up where she works.

She does the next best thing and starts to follow him. He lures her into a secluded spot where other teenagers are hanging out and then the games start to begin. The newbies are put through a test. They have to go to the Senator's mansion and get the son to agree to a date with them and then they'll get an invite to one of the most prestigious private schools. Brynn needed an out and this is her chance and she's not going to blow this.

Brynn blows the competition out of the water and she now has her foot in the door, but at what costs? Secrets start to pile up and Brynn starts to feel the pressure of overwhelming proportions. Pulling Cons on people she's starting to care about is harder than she thought. Can she figure out her home life and her life at school before they both come crashing down around her?

This book had a lot of shocking twists and none of them were suspected. It was a very clever read with characters that you wanted to pull cons with. I will say that there was more romance than I was expecting but I think it was a great addition to the story. Kristen knows what she's doing and she's a pro at it.

Even though I was sick while reading this, I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what was going to happen. This book took more priority than me taking care of my illness. It was that damn good.

Vincit Omnia Veritas
Profile Image for Completely Melanie.
579 reviews380 followers
January 2, 2021
This was such a good fun read! I cannot wait to read Scammed which is the sequel. The Deceivers is about an elite boarding school for con artists/vigilantes. They gather secrets in order to bring down bad guys. Brynn's assignment is to date the governor's son to collect dirt on the governor. What could possibly go wrong?

Review of my reread in my Merry Bookmas Week 1 Vlog
Profile Image for Aly.
2,726 reviews
December 23, 2020
I'm up to read any book where characters attend a secret school and learn cool skills, so a con school is right up my alley! I love watching the cons unfold and people fall right into traps, it's so much fun. The main character Brynn is caught in a hard place, but she's strong and fierce. She deserves better than the life her mom has made for them and I was so happy when she got the chance to get out.

The plot was interesting and there were a lot of twists that I didn't see coming. A couple times I felt bad for Brynn when she was played by others, but she rose up and overcame her challenges. I liked that she made friends with most of the kids at the school, especially Caleb who is super cute. They danced around each other quite a bit, but I think they play off each other well and are good together.

After some of the reveals at the ending, I'm excited to see what new adventures are coming in book two!
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,541 reviews234 followers
February 6, 2019
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 provided in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Ashton Reed.
166 reviews22 followers
March 21, 2021
Catch-up Review :)

This is a wild joyride and I loved every second of it.

Brynn Hilder grew up in the outskirts of the city, attempting the best grades, conning innocent citizens, and planning for the day she can escape her mother’s abusive boyfriend. When she is unwittingly recruited for Vale Hall, an elite boarding school, she believes it to be an accident; however, she quickly learns Vale Hall isn’t a typical high school - it’s a school for con artists, working to right the wrongs of the city one undercover mission at a time. But soon enough, she learns her own mission runs even deeper, and as she races to escape her past life and succeed in her mission, she must also determine her role in the school - the con artist or the pawn.

As you may know, I am an absolute sucker for books with spies, assassins, hackers, and - you guessed it - con artists. What you may not know is that I LOVE Kristen Simmons’s work. Well, I’ve only read Pacifica, but it absolutely blew me away; her writing style is beautiful, and every aspect of the plot was so well-executed. So of course I had to read this book!!

And it did not disappoint. I couldn’t stop reading, not for anything. If I did, my mind was consumed! The plot was engaging, mysterious, and I couldn’t help rooting for the characters to come together and succeed!

I loved all of the characters, but especially Brynn. She is a great protagonist with a good head on her shoulders. Kristen Simmons did a great job at building a unique backstory for Brynn; she is upfront about the drug trade (which plays a huge part in the entire book), the state of the neighborhood she lived in, the various relationships her mother has been in. Brynn is a fantastic protagonist, especially for the role of head con artist ;) I also enjoyed the touch of romance; the two characters are a team, and they fit together perfectly - it added the perfect touch of side plot and light to the novel.

I do wish there was more simple “conning.” I know that sounds crazy, but the plot gets real big real fast, too fast, and there’s not enough simple build-up towards the beginning. I would have loved to see more of Brynn in her element, because it sure did get complicated!!

Despite that, though, this was a rollercoaster of a book, and I enjoyed it soooo much. I can only guess at what craziness the second one has in store!

If you enjoyed this review, feel free to follow me here on Goodreads and on my Instagram/Twitter @ashton_reads! Love ya!
Profile Image for Darla.
3,514 reviews618 followers
January 22, 2019
My mother always told me you don't get something for nothing. Brynn learns the truth of this adage in this thrilling read new read by Kristen Simmons. While living with the have nots, Brynn has learned the art of the con to take from those that have. She starts to notice the same young man popping up in her day -- on the same train, in the same elevator, etc. When she follows him she believes she stumbles into an opportunity to win a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school. She sees it as her ticket out of Nowheresville and throws all her resources into the challenge. What will life be like at Vale Hall? Can it be as good as it looks? My mother also liked to remind me that things that look too good be true, probably aren't what they seem. Readers will be thrilled by Brynn as a strong female lead and fascinated by her creative tricks. Approriate for younger teens.

Thank you TorTeen for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Sarah {The Clever Reader}.
568 reviews75 followers
February 10, 2019
OMG! Where do I sign up for Vale Hall! I’m ready to start my conning classes!

This book was so good! It was a perfect mix of intense situations and family/friendship dynamics! You spend most of the time not trusting anyone and when everything comes together in the end you are left speechless! I hope there are more books because I am not ready to leave these characters!
Profile Image for Sian.
201 reviews117 followers
February 14, 2020
look, this is not a masterpiece BUT it was thoroughly enjoyable. There was great female friendships, good character development and it was honestly a lot of fun. So... it gets a 3.5
Profile Image for Lurva.
256 reviews90 followers
September 19, 2020
The first part about the character settings and the exposition of the new school was pretty great - totally drawn me in the way they recruit new con students. But it kinda fizzed out after the thrill. The actions and the big reveal feels eh.
AND it's published fairly recent so totally inexcusable for all the male torso ogling which is just so 2008
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,217 reviews462 followers
February 5, 2019
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult, Thriller, Suspense
*Rating* 3.5


The Deceivers is the first installment in author Kirsten Simmons Vale Hall trilogy. 16-year old Brynn Hilder has always had to be quick on her feet, to keep her safe for her mother’s drug dealing loser boyfriend Pete. However, he isn’t completely useless, he did teach her all about conning, both the long and short one. Brynn has been performing short cons in the ritzy neighborhoods to earn enough money to move away from home and go to college.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*
Profile Image for Shalini .
325 reviews103 followers
January 25, 2019
This was such an entertaining read! This is the first time I've read a Kristen Simmons and I wasn't disappointed in the least.

The Deceivers is about Brynn Hilder who lives a hard life but her luck soon changes when a boy begins following after her. Soon, Brynn stumbles upon a private party which is actually a game organized by a couple of teenagers. These teenagers go to a private school for con artists in the Vale Hill Estate and they have organized this game to recruit a new student. Brynn is told that if she wins the game, she will be set for life and will get a full scholarship to any college.

Brynn has nothing to lose so she participates in the game not knowing if she has won the coveted position until the next day. Vale Hall must be a dream comes true for Brynn but she soon realizes that to make her dreams come too, she'll have to con a senator's son for it. Is she cut out for this lifestyle or will she be wiped out of existence as another girl before her?

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC.
Profile Image for mith.
758 reviews265 followers
February 26, 2019

Listen, this book was yet another excuse to not read KING OF SCARS because I am weak and can’t handle emotions or pain, so if I am honest, I was not. Really. Planning to read this. I mean it was supposed to be a distraction but BOY did that change.

To be Frank: this book was okay. Out of Simmons’ other books that I’ve read, THE DECEIVERS was not my favourite but it wasn’t bad either. For one, it’s got a cool and sorta morally ambiguous main character, and two, a school for con artists, which is like. A dream come true. It was fun and a little angsty at times and I LOVED the romance, but.

But I was not really all that in love with the book.

Part of it was the narration. This is the first time I can remember where I wasn’t a fan of first person POV. Simmons wrote THE GLASS ARROW and PACIFICA in third person and it fit the books super well. So when I found out this was first person, I was both excited and surprised. Definitely different for me but since first person is my favourite, I thought I wouldn’t mind.

But it’s just that. Brynn’s narration was not my favourite part. The writing, I think, in addition to the narration, was my least favourite thing about this book. While engaging at times, the way Brynn’s thoughts were formatted felt choppy and completely unlike what I enjoyed. C’est la vie and all that, can’t like em all.

What I did enjoy was the fun cast of side characters. I adored Caleb and Henry and the other people whose names I cannot remember because I am like That. But they added so much fun to the book! And considering they were all con artists of some sort made it all the better. Simmons really does a great job at layering her characters and side characters are no exception.

I should mention that THE DECEIVERS has a lot going on. From Brynn’s background and her trying to escape her life, to this new school, and finally to her first job—which adds a whole new level of problems for her. It’s exciting in that way you can’t really predict what’s going to happen and also are afraid of what could happen if and when things go wrong.

I adored the romance and yes there is one!! Caleb was a total sweetheart and he and Brynn have some great chemistry. It was sorta lowkey steamy too which I was not expecting!

Overall, I’m... kinda torn? It’s not really a solid 4 but not really a 3.5 and do I really wanna be THAT extra and say 3.75? This is why I hate ratings.
Profile Image for Ruthsic.
1,763 reviews15 followers
January 31, 2019
Warnings: implied parental abuse, mention of child sexual abuse

The Deceivers makes good use of its long-game-con premise, delivering twist upon twist as Brynn, a girl from a poor background and a small-time con artist, gets a chance to attend a private school that assures her better things in life. The only caveat - Vale Hall is actually a school for con artists, and when they are not getting an education, they are working on different cons as per the wishes of their vigilante benefactor, Dr Odin. This first book introduces us to Brynn, the school, as well as how Brynn's former life comes crashing into her second one, and how she manages to juggle both while also using her skills to stay above the water. Along the way, there are some things that are revealed to be fake, some things are revealed to be true - much like Brynn, we are left guessing which might be which and who can be trusted.
“There’s a gray area between right and wrong. You’re here because you see that. Not everyone does.”

Brynn's grey morality makes her a perfect fit for the school, but her mission is one that hits a little close to home. Like her, her mark, Grayson (the senator's son) has been living in an abusive household, and while she initially sees him as a spoiled brat, she soon realizes there is a lot of fear hiding underneath that, making her reconsider what she is doing.
I think this is the kind of thing Dr. O wants to know about, the kind of thing he may be able to use. But violence is personal, and despicable, and shaming, and the thought of sharing this with anyone else feels wrong.
At several points in the book, she doubts the path she is on, measuring the harm she might be causing against the good that comes out of it, as well as her personal debt to Dr O. It is an uneasy relationship, knowing whether you can trust other con artists to have your best interests at heart, and Brynn's relationships with other characters reflect that struggle. It also intrudes on her budding romance with another such student, Caleb, whom she finds drawn to.

There are small allusions to Norse mythology characters (Vale Hall = Valhalla, Brynn Hilder = Brunhilde the Valkyrie, Huggin and Munin as Hugh and Min the security peeps, Geri as a student) but yeah, this is not an urban fantasy; it was fun, though to connect their roles to their characters. I am definitely interested in finding out how shady Dr O can be, and at what point Brynn will be like, 'you know what, too far'. All in all, a good start to what I think will be a thrilling series.

Is it diverse? Brynn is mixed-race (Colombia descent), her love interest Caleb is Japanese, and some of the secondary characters are POC.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Tor Teen, via Netgalley.
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