How was your weekend? It was the Snooker World Championship Final so I spent most of my time camped out at the TV to watch it! I wish Kyran had done a little better but ultimately Ronnie played better so he deserved the win.
Anyway! After a whole month of no book reviews and me not reading, I am back in full swing and have so many books to get to now I have doubled up on reviews this week. It feels odd to be writing another review so soon after my one of Thursday.
I very kindly got a copy of this sent to me through Netgalley. As always the fact that I was gifted this book did not sway my opinion whatsoever, as always my thoughts are all my own. Now that that’s out of the way let’s hop into my review.
** P.S – This discusses Sex and Alcohol**
**It’s definitely not triggering in any way, but just so you know **
Title: The Scam List
Author: Kurrt Dinan
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Humour, Contemporary, con-artist
Publisher: Crime Spree Books
Publication Date: August 3rd 2020
Pages: 264 pages
When I Read It: 14th August 2020
Goodreads Rating: 4.16 Stars
Meet the best teen con artist team around.
Boone McReedy: high school conman, smooth-talking charmer, and the idiot who just got scammed out of $15,000 of his mom’s money.
Darby West: ass-kicker, straight-shooter, and Boone’s ex-girlfriend.
Now, they must team up to save their parents’ business, one con at a time.
That is if they don’t kill each other first.
Of course, they’re only going to scam people who deserve it.
That’s a promise.
Would they lie to you?
My Goodreads Review: *aka my initial thoughts, straight after (and during) reading
August 13, 2020 – 5.0% “I can already tell that this book is going to keep me on my toes and I love that.
Incredible so far! And the conversational writing that breaks the 4th wall is beyond perfect! I can’t wait to read more!! Potential new favourite of the year?”
August 13, 2020 – 9.0% “I already am so intrigued by Darby and Boone’s past! I love their banter and it’s only just started!
The humour is brilliant and the writing is sensational. I am blown away!”
August 14, 2020 – 16.0% “I love seeing this other side of Boone. He is a dream character. So complex and adorable!”
August 14, 2020 – 56.0% “I have a stitch. I actually have to stop reading because my throat and face hurt so much from laughing. This book is amazing. I cannot recommend enough. It’s so funny and self-aware. It’s such a quirky idea and I wish I could keep reading right now 😂😂”
Finished – I am on a streak of amazing reads recently.
This book blew me away. If your a fan of movies like Red and Oceans 8, or Tv shows like Suits and White Collar then this book is for you! By my extensive knowledge of con artist visual entertainment you can probably guess that I am a lover of the genre. And with that high-calibre of qualification, I certify myself as an expert in this field. And boy! This did not disappointed.
The plot – outstanding and gripping.
The characters – complex, lovable and deep.
The humour – had me in stitches so often I had to stop reading to catch my breath.
But the thing that made this rise above so many other books I’ve read was the writing.
It is unlike anything I’ve ever read. On the surface its conversational and great to read. And then, you get these amazing moments where Boone will break the 4th wall and talk directly at the reader. Not only that but he starts to con you! And you fall for it time and time again, despite knowing that you shouldn’t. It immerses you into the story like nothing I’ve ever read because you feel like one of the marks yourself.
Don’t even get me started on Boone as a character! Without him (and the incredible way he is written) this book would be good, but nothing stand out. He makes the entire thing go from a 3 to 5+.
Trust me you need to read this. Even if YA isn’t your typical genre, you need to read this. The writing is a work of genius. I can’t wait to read more from Kurt Dinan.
Instant favourite of the year!
My Favourite Quotes:
- I’d feel bad for lying to you, but you should have seen it coming. I mean, what were we just talking about? But I promise not to lie to you again. Unless I do. We’ll see. It’s situational.
- The girl’s only one step out of her car, and already she’s scoring high on the Boone McReedy Dream Girl List: Close to my age? Check. Alive? Check. End of list. What can I say? I’m an equal opportunity boy toy.
- And yeah, sometimes I drink. And my G.P.A is shit. I’ve even had sex before and will have it again someday, hopefully. What’s your point? My dad’s in jail, my mom owns a massive junk emporium, and I spend most of my days in a dinosaur. How’s your life going?
- But trust me, don’t try what I just did. It’s stupid and, more importantly, highly illegal. It’s also Dewey, though, who deserves what he gets since he’s so hateful. Am I justifying bad behavior? Absolutely. I never said I planned on being the pope when I grow up.
- A woman in jean shorts practically cut at the waist and wearing a red, white, and blue bikini top passes, accidentally brushing my arm. “And now you’ve got hepatitis,”Darby says to me. “Don’t be silly,”I say. “You can’t get hepatitis if you already have it.”
- Chad looks up as we pass, his eye lingering way too long on Darby. Oh, please, please, please let him reach out and grab her butt. I’ve always wanted to witness someone have his still-beating heart ripped from his chest.
- “You might be the most immature person I know.”
“If you’re defining ‘immature’ as hunky and intelligent, then thank you.”
- She holds it in mostly, though, because I once privately pointed out to her that her name spelled backward is “Anal Ram.” You have to love anagrams.
- I’ve never seen anything so savage and terrifying and beautiful. “Wow,” I say, struggling to my feet. “You totally fight like a girl.” Darby, looking positively maniacal, says, “You’re goddamn right I do.”
- you have to get into the right mindset so you don’t break character. It’s not an easy thing to do. I mean, it’s easy for me, obviously, but for mortals it’s hard.
- Either Kay has him wearing a sock down the front of his spandex like she had me do or the future Mrs. Alexander is one lucky lady.
- Of course, like Darby said, money gained from cons should go to a good cause, and I’ll make sure it does. That’s exactly what I’ll do. You have my word. Would I lie to you?
There were so many more that I wanted to put but couldn’t cause they had spoilers or you need the context etc. But I swear I have never had to make a note of as many favourite quotes as I did here.
Characters: It has been a long time since I have read a male POV YA book. And every time I do I wish there was more of them because I almost always love it more than the female POV. It’s probably because I get to finally understand what a boy thinks but anyway. I adored Boone. He is such an incredible MC. He is so multifaceted and it’s so nice to read complex characters. He has his over-confident, bravado, con-artist and self proclaimed womaniser extraordinaire side that provides most of the hilarity and drama as he struggles to get himself out of the stupid situations he gets himself in. Then you have his more vulnerable side, his deep care for his mum and his friends at the Mountain, his feelings for Darby, his confusion, love and anger with his Dad and then his own internal struggles with the morality of his cons and whether he’s a good person or not. It was amazing to read and see his character develop in front of you, but still stay very true to both sides of his personality. I ramble on a little more about how much I love Boone later so don’t think you’re escaping my book boy rambles that easily.
I really liked Darby too. For a similar reason I guess, she had that very well-balanced two sided personality too that just made everything work. I love her backstory with her parents, I wish we got more scenes with her Aunt and Uncle because that could have been brilliant but I am very happy with all the scenes of Darby and Boone together instead. I loved that she really had to come to terms with her anger, but she didn’t lose her sense of badassness or her sense of self with this realisation.
The side characters were all great and I loved learning little tid-bits about all the booth owners. Some of the best characterisation I have read in ages.
Characters = 10/10
Humour: This was another stand out feature for me. If you have read a lot of my reviews you’ll know I have weird humour and that I think every book needs to try and make you laugh at some point or another. And boy did this book supply that. I don’t think there was a single chapter where I didn’t at least chuckle. It got so bad at one point that I had to stop reading because I had a stitch from laughing so much. If you need a laugh, then I highly highly highly recommend this. I have probably put some quotes above that give you a guide of the kind of sarcastic humour the book excels at, so please tell me if you think it’s as funny as I do.
Humour = 10/10
Atmosphere: I don’t know if this place actually exists in America, but even if it doesn’t I believe it could be a place. It feels so real and believable. I loved the idea that this was a really run down neighbourhood. All the odd ball characters in odd locations. You really got a sense of this weird community and that in their small town everyone knew everyone, and yet they also didn’t. It seemed like it was disconnected from the world and existed in it’s own wee universe. It helped draw you into the story. Despite the fact Boone doesn’t like his down, I really liked it. It balanced with his character; despite how crappy and bizarre this place was – it fit him perfectly. My one gripe was with the new fancy rich mall? I get it was there for the whole plot line to work, but their high end stock and clientele didn’t exactly seem to fit with the run-down vibe of the rest of the town.
Atmosphere = 8/10
Writing Style: Like I said above, the stand-out feature of this book for me was the writing. It was beyond amazing. The way he talked directly to the reader just blew me away. It was different and unique and it made everything feel so much more personal. It made you feel like you had a steak in it all, and that you weren’t merely a bystander to the action but you were part of it. The writing and the characterisation in this novel are so hard to pick apart because both rely so heavily on the other to make sure this mind blowing balance works. Boone wouldn’t be himself without the brilliant way he was written, and the writing style wouldn’t have such an impact if it wasn’t for Boone as a character. It was so successful because the fact Boone kept dragging you into everything not only seemed to bolster his unwarranted ego, but was the reason why he was breaking the 4th wall in the first place because he believes he is so amazing he can even con the reader, someone who is seeing it all. And you do fall for it. At least I did.
If you can’t already tell, I literally cannot praise the writing of this enough. It made the book for me.
Writing Style = 10/10
Plot: Like I mentioned in my Goodreads review, I am a massive fan of the crime genre, both the crime fighters and the crime committers. I love a smooth talking con artist. I adore misdirection and this book gave me all of that. I loved the idea that this guy who thinks he is the bees knees keeps messing up. I loved how devoted he was to saving Golden Mountain. And I loved seeing them do all their little cons and their private side bets to add to the steaks. It was so interesting and so gripping and other than my mandatory stitch break, I couldn’t put this down.
Plot = 10/10
Intrigue: It wasn’t just gripping in the usual way of not being able to put it down. I mean it was that too, but on top of that you were dragged head first into the story and the heart of the action. Normally, I am pretty good at predicting what will happen but with this book nothing was set in stone. One minute something could be happening and the next you find out Boone had been conning you and it never happened at all. It meant that it was constantly unpredictable and by default, you were constantly intrigued about what will happen next and how Boone will get himself out of it.
Intrigue = 10/10
Logic: An element of why this book is so good is the fact that being a con-artist is kind of being like a magician. It relies on slight of hand, confidence, trickery. And you get a glimpse behind the curtain here as your seeing it from a Con-artists point of view. I never noticed something illogical, but at the same time I was focused on the magic and mystery of how everything was done – just like the audience in a magic show. All the cons seemed relatively believable and you believed why people fall for the cons, because you as the reader fall for Boone’s cons too. The one moment that I thought kind of broke the illusion is that they often con people that they know, and in this apparent small town where everyone generally knows a little bit about everyone – how do they not know that Boone is a conman, since it seems like a fairly well known trait of his. That was my one small gripe. I could just be overestimating the intimacy of this little town, maybe they don’t all know each other. Either way, it bothered me slightly. But other than that I thought everything was so well done and made so much sense. All of the characters actions felt believable – especially near the big reveal at the end. And I think that the characters themselves were very believable and realistic teenagers on their summer break – especially the sarcasm and humour. It was basically identical most of the people I knew at high school.
Logic = 8/10
Enjoyment: I feel like I am always saying, if you couldn’t already tell that I adored it at this point then I am clearly not very good at reviewing haha. This was outstanding. I adored every second that I read. I already want to re-read it. I want to shout about this book as loud as I can because it is beyond belief. It’s instantly shot up as an ALL-TIME fave. YOU NEED TO READ THIS!!!
Enjoyment = 10/10
Relationships: The romance in this was a lovely element that I didn’t exactly expect but adored! I wish we got more of them. Hate to Love is by far my favourite trope so I was super excited about that. The fact they had so much history and so much chemistry just made everything so much more dramatic, funny and gripping to read. There was a lot of time devoted to the enemy side of things, and a little bit as friends, but I really wish that there had been more of the lovers part. It would have just brought things together a little more. I know there is a prequel, that focuses on their original relationship more so I might just have to read that for the romance that I’m craving. Maybe I can even dream of a sequel!
Relationships = 8/10
Overall Score = 86/90 or 9.3/10
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
As you can tell, I adored this. I haven’t read a book this amazing in ages. This has shot straight up as one of my favourite books of all time! I cannot recommend that you read this enough! I want to know your thoughts down below, does it sound like your kind of thing? Have you read it? If so did you love it as much as I did.
That’s all for today, I will be back with another post tomorrow!