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YA Review: Immoral Code by Lillian Clark

Title: Immoral Code
Author: Lillian Clark
Year Published: 2019

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 311
Rating: 3.5 to 4 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)USA (OR, CA)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): The mastermind: Nari is also the Hacker, the Coordinator, and the Con Woman--basically the evil genius who makes this entire heist possible.

The Right-hand woman: Bellamy is also the Motive: the innocent turned not-so-innocent victim whose own terrible luck kicks everything into motion.

The Distraction: Reese. Yes, said distraction involves fake blood and screaming in public--and yes,  Reese was born to play this role.

The Grease Man: Santiago who skills include "looking older than a teenager in a suit" and "extreme agility due to years as a champion diver," as well as "staying calm when your friends are freaking out." So, obviously, essential.

The Driver: Keagan. Unfortunately, Keagan is also the most disturbed by the scale of the felonies they are about to commit, and the most likely to cut and run.

The Mark: Robert Foster AKA Bellamy's all-but-absent father. Bellamy and her mother have gotten along just fine with the paltry child support Foster has been paying for the last eighteen years, but they hit a snag when Bellamy cites him on her financial-aid application for MIT: Foster is now a billionaire, and his wealth disqualifies her from any assistance.

Bellamy, Nari, Reese, Santiago, and Keagan decide to use their unique sets of skills to take Bellamy's fate into their own hands with a heist that, well, yes, is a little morally questionable. But isn't depriving your own daughter of an education she's worked her butt off for pretty morally questionable, too?

Review: Oh the timing of reading this book just after the college admission scandal has hit (you know the one, where 50 really rich people paid coaches to get their kids into USC, Yale, and Stanford by pretending their kids are amazing athletes when they aren't). I was looking forward to a light-hearted book since I feel like I've been reading intense books lately.

This tale is told in rotating chapters by a group of five high school seniors who are friends. I liked the characters who support one another, are smart and talented, and have good goals. 

The story is where this one lost me a bit. I realize that I am able to suspend reality when the book genre calls for it (fantasy, science fiction, etc), but when it is a realistic fiction book and I don't find the story believable, then I have issues. I totally get that Bellamy cannot call her dad and ask for college tuition. But, for the response to be that they steal from him digitally seems like an extreme reaction. All other dealings with her dad have been between the lawyers so that seems like the logical step to get college tuition. Instead it's cyber intrigue. And the ending is too pat and nice.

I found myself skimming bits of this book, but I can totally see how teenagers would enjoy it and that's the intended audience.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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