Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower, by Lisa Graff

When Bernetta's alleged best friend frames her and gets her suspended from school (as well as grounded for the Summer), Bernie is devastated. However, it gets worse. Because of her alleged cheating on a test, she is also going to lose her scholarship at Mount Olive and her parents can't afford to send her there in the Fall without the financial help. How, she must figure out a way to earn $9000 in the Summer to pay for the bills. But how do you do that when you are only 12 years old? Her surprising answer is to become a con artist.

It took me a major act of will to overcome the morally questionable premise (you can undo a wrong by committing many more) and a flimsy righting of those wrongs at the very end. But if you can put those scruples on hold, the book is breezy and fun to read. This is one of those stories that you can pretty much tell what the pay off will be, but it's entertaining.

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