Review: Scammed by Kristen Simmons

ScammedAuthor: Kristen Simmons
Series: Vale Hall #2
Publisher: Tor Teen
Released: February 4th, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Sexual assault, murder, abuse
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Upright Women Wanted through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Scammed is the second novel in Kristen Simmon’s Vale Hall series. This is a school that teaches – and expects – students to be the ideal con artists. All the principal asks in return, is that the students target the marks he picks.

Brynn Hilder is the newest student at Vale Hall, and her journey has already been a complex one. Her first mission was a major one – and one she mostly did right, with a few notable exceptions. Like letting the mark run away.

Now that moment is back to haunt her, as her old mark – and the job itself – come back into the forefront in the most surprising of ways. As it turns out, this investigation of Brynn’s is far from over. She’s going to have to choose sides and fight some hard battles in order to keep a spot for herself at Vale Hall.


“I glance to the stone tablet to my right, near the door. Etched in it are three words: Vincit Omnia Veritas. Truth conquers all.”

Spoiler Warning

Warnings: Scammed touches upon some heavier moments, being that these are people digging into the worst parts of a person’s past. There are going to be mentions and references to sexual assault, beatings, murder, and attempted murder.

Scammed was an amazing follow up to The Deceivers. It was everything I could have hoped for, and more. So much more. This novel upped the ante in every way possible, from the physical danger to the emotional toll taken on the characters.

Brynn is one stubborn and sassy character, and I adore her. Even if she is exceptionally talented at getting herself into the worst kinds of trouble. That just makes her story all the more interesting, right?

I was so surprised by some of the twists taken in this novel. Especially considering all of the revelations towards the end. They were not smoothing I could have predicted – and yet, looking back at the whole book, you can very clearly see the groundwork that was laid down. It was a nice (and carefully thought out) touch.

One other noteworthy surprise; how much Simmons was able to make me feel while reading this. I’m not just talking about Brynn’s story and struggles (though there is that), but the secondary characters as well. They just felt so human here. I loved it.

I’m really looking forward to the next novel in this series. I feel like that’s going to be the one that breaks the mold, as the story progresses and matures. I’m making that assumption based on some of the changes made during Scammed, but I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I’ll be curious to see how far this goes – and how hard it will be on Brynn and everyone else.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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