Cover from 2002, 2003 Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon Pulse

Cheating Lessons

2016, Tadmar Press

Could honesty be the worst policy?


Sixteen-year-old Bernadette Terrell is a champion debater who adores books, contests, and winning. When she's named captain of her school's Classics Bowl team to compete on TV against their private school rival, Bernadette is thrilled. This is more than a chance to earn the Michigan state title, win money for college, and bring glory to her run-down Michigan town. It’s even more than a chance to make some nonfictional friends for a change. This contest is what Bernadette has trained for her whole life. Winning is her destiny.

Or is it? On the eve of the championship match she discovers that someone she trusts has cheated. And Bernadette is the only one who knows. An honors student who’s always been sure of the right thing to do, she wonders just what that might be, now that “winning” has a whole new meaning. And yet—it’s still a contest, and she’s still a girl who hates to lose.

A coming-of-age story for teens, parents, and teachers, Cheating Lessons uses suspense and humor to craft a mystery about school cheating, friendship, peer pressure, and values, in which an appealingly smart heroine must decide for herself what battles are most worth winning. Nan Willard Cappo blends classic literature, academic ambition, an ethical dilemma, and courage into a novel that never cheats the reader.

Should Bernadette turn a blind eye to cheating in a championship Classics Bowl she was born to win, to betray those hardworking teammates who didn't cheat?

What the critics said about Cheating Lessons:


“[Readers will] be frantically flipping the pages to see what Bernadette decides to do.”
--Twist

“Cappo tells an absorbing—and sharply funny—story of an adolescent who gains some new friends when she learns to be a little less critical and who, while losing her naive confidence in adults, refreshingly maintains confidence in herself.”
--Horn Book, starred review

“[Teens will] enjoy the great quotes and the witty talk, and they’ll be caught up in the Jeopardy!-like tension as well as the mystery of who’s cheating and why.”
--Booklist

“…a very exciting book with lots of plot twists…Suspense! I’d recommend this book to all teens.”
--VOYA

“This lively first novel dramatizes moral issues that are close to home…the humor and characterization are well developed…this enjoyable story will be popular [with] talented students.”
--School Library Journal


• Edgar Award Nominee for Best YA Mystery, 2002
• ALA Best Books for Young Adults Nominee, 2003
Teacher Magazine Recommended Review May 2002
• Junior Library Guild selection 2002
• Nebraska Golden Sower Nominee for Young Adults 2004-2005
• Volunteer State Book Award Nominee 2003-2004

"...Bernadette... with some unlikely help works hard to unravel this possible mystery...and, at the end of it all, it is Bernadette who has earned that A+ honestly.
This is an excellent, tautly written novel that provides a hard, objective look at cliques; social dynamics; school politics; administrative politics and the unfortunate results of same. This is definitely an author to watch out for!"
--By BeatleBangs1964 VINE VOICE , Amazon

Novels for Teens and Adults

Fiction, ages 13-up
"Suspense! I'd recommend this book to all teens." --VOYA
Suspense fiction, for mature teens and adults
"Plenty of action, romance and intrigue...make Cappo's page-turner a hit..." --Kirkus Reviews

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