Review: Cheat by Kristin Butcher

CheatPublished: October 1, 2010 by Orca Books
Pages: 107
Format: Kindle Edition

Laurel discovers her passion for investigative journalism when she writes an article for her school paper about the homeless man who’s been living at the school. Eager to write more articles with impact, she launches an investigation of a cheating scam at her high school. Laurel’s efforts elicit hostility from her classmates. Nobody is interested in seeing her article go to print, not even her own brother. It is evident that the cheating is widespread, and Laurel, caught up in the thrill of the investigation, is willing to commit social suicide to get the story, but her ultimate discovery changes everything.

I felt like this book was written for a much younger audience than a lot of other YA, which is fine, but it surprised me a bit. This one was a really quick read, though… took maybe an hour, hour and a half to read altogether.

I felt like this book set out to send out a message to its readers, so things like characters weren’t given a lot of thought. They don’t have much depth, and there’s not a whole lot of character development and whatnot here. But I also kind of felt that toward the end of the book, the message wasn’t so much about cheating, but about the consequences of doing whatever it takes to get what you want without regard for others. I thought that was a message worth expressing, but since it was muddled up with cheating, it left me a little conflicted and confused.

I didn’t really know a whole lot about this book or the author when I picked it up – just spotted it in the new eBooks at the library and figured I would pick it up when I was done with the book I had been reading. It was definitely on the lighter side of things tone-wise compared to the other books I’ve read lately, so that was a nice change for me. I definitely would have liked more development all around, though, to make things feel more authentic, instead of a bit of a vessel for the author’s message.

I enjoyed the book well enough, having read it in one sitting, and would be interested in reading more of Butcher’s books in the future, despite having mixed feelings about this one.

Rating: 2 out of 5

One thought on “Review: Cheat by Kristin Butcher”

  1. Thanks for the review. All your comments are valid. The one piece of the puzzle you are missing is that this novel is a hi-lo read. In other words, it is intended for reluctant early adolescent readers (ages 11-14). This translates to easy language and short book length, which in turn precludes any in-depth characterization or plot lines. If you are still intrigued enough to want to read other books I’ve written, you might try something longer like Return to Bone Tree Hill or Truths I Learned From Sam. Thanks again.

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