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To Catch a Cheat

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When a video frames Jackson Greene and his friends for a crime they didn't commit, Gang Greene battles the blackmailers in this sequel to the acclaimed The Great Greene Heist. Jackson Greene is riding high. He is officially retired from conning, so Principal Kelsey is (mostly) off his back. His friends have great new projects of their own. And as he's been hanging out a lo When a video frames Jackson Greene and his friends for a crime they didn't commit, Gang Greene battles the blackmailers in this sequel to the acclaimed The Great Greene Heist. Jackson Greene is riding high. He is officially retired from conning, so Principal Kelsey is (mostly) off his back. His friends have great new projects of their own. And as he's been hanging out a lot with Gaby de la Cruz, he thinks maybe, just maybe, they'll soon have their first kiss. Then Jackson receives a link to a faked security video that seems to show him and the rest of Gang Greene flooding the school gym. The thugs behind the video threaten to pass it to the principal--unless Jackson steals an advance copy of the school's toughest exam. So Jackson devises a three-part plan to foil the blackmailers, clear his friends' names for good, and trap the true bad guys along the way. As Gang Greene executes another multistep caper full of twists and turns, they learn that sometimes it takes a thief to catch a cheat.


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When a video frames Jackson Greene and his friends for a crime they didn't commit, Gang Greene battles the blackmailers in this sequel to the acclaimed The Great Greene Heist. Jackson Greene is riding high. He is officially retired from conning, so Principal Kelsey is (mostly) off his back. His friends have great new projects of their own. And as he's been hanging out a lo When a video frames Jackson Greene and his friends for a crime they didn't commit, Gang Greene battles the blackmailers in this sequel to the acclaimed The Great Greene Heist. Jackson Greene is riding high. He is officially retired from conning, so Principal Kelsey is (mostly) off his back. His friends have great new projects of their own. And as he's been hanging out a lot with Gaby de la Cruz, he thinks maybe, just maybe, they'll soon have their first kiss. Then Jackson receives a link to a faked security video that seems to show him and the rest of Gang Greene flooding the school gym. The thugs behind the video threaten to pass it to the principal--unless Jackson steals an advance copy of the school's toughest exam. So Jackson devises a three-part plan to foil the blackmailers, clear his friends' names for good, and trap the true bad guys along the way. As Gang Greene executes another multistep caper full of twists and turns, they learn that sometimes it takes a thief to catch a cheat.

30 review for To Catch a Cheat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Lamary

    So, reading this, I was reminded of how much I love Jackson Greene. Like seriously, I wish there was a guy like him when I was in middle school. My life would have been so interesting--because I definitely would've wanted to be part of his crew. I mean, I might not have been cool or interesting enough to actually be a part of his heist society, (view spoiler)[Hey, Ally Carter fans, see what I did there? (hide spoiler)] but I would have been that dweeb who started a Gang Greene fan club or somethi So, reading this, I was reminded of how much I love Jackson Greene. Like seriously, I wish there was a guy like him when I was in middle school. My life would have been so interesting--because I definitely would've wanted to be part of his crew. I mean, I might not have been cool or interesting enough to actually be a part of his heist society, (view spoiler)[Hey, Ally Carter fans, see what I did there? (hide spoiler)] but I would have been that dweeb who started a Gang Greene fan club or something. Or maybe not, I'm don't know. Also, this gave me a great idea: Varian Johnson, and Chris Rylander need to smash their heads together and do a crossover of The Great Greene Heist and The Fourth Stall !!! I know, I know, it's all too great to process right now. (If you don't know what The Fourth Stall is, then you can leave now. But only if you're going to find out what the heck it is. If so then here: . You're welcome.) Anyway, back to my idea: I mean, it's kind of unrealistic and maybe a little confusing, because, um what would even happen in this story? I have no idea. And everyone is probably like "Well, Mac retired from his fourth stall business." Yeah, well in TFSIII Mac kind of came out of retirement and then re-retired. And, Jackson Greene retired from being a con artist, before his first book began. And then again at the end of that book. (view spoiler)[Also at the end of this book. (hide spoiler)] So, I think coming out of retirement for a special crossover edition wouldn't really bother either of them. I mean, the minds of Jackson Greene and Mac coming together is super cool, it can't even be argued against, yeah? This is Middle Grade fiction gold right here. I even have a perspective title... The Fourth Stall Part Greene I think I rest my case. Goodbye.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brandy Painter

    These books are just so much fun. Completely unrealistic in many ways (no middle school like this one exists in the country), but still so much fun. They are exactly the sort of adventures MG kids like-ones where kids their age are smart, capable, and working against the forces that control their lives. It is empowering. There is a really great friendship story in this one as Jackson and Charlie are having some difficulties. I like the way that played out and was resolved (that IS realistic). I These books are just so much fun. Completely unrealistic in many ways (no middle school like this one exists in the country), but still so much fun. They are exactly the sort of adventures MG kids like-ones where kids their age are smart, capable, and working against the forces that control their lives. It is empowering. There is a really great friendship story in this one as Jackson and Charlie are having some difficulties. I like the way that played out and was resolved (that IS realistic). I really loved the developing relationship between Jackson and Gaby too. Jackson's nervousness over kissing Gaby is incredibly adorable and hilariously entertaining as well. Fans of the first book will definitely want to read this follow-up.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Arwen Zhang

    This was actually maybe a little better than the first one. Okay, so maybe the fact that middle schoolers are pulling off cons and such is unrealistic, but I do approve of the realistic portrayal of the relationships between characters, and the amount of diversity within the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Claire Yoon

    I liked how Jackson solved the problem!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline Jackson and his friends are caught on video flooding the school bathrooms-- only they didn't do it! Gaby and Jackson have an alibi that will get them in even worse trouble, so when Rob and Thom offer them a deal-- the video destroyed if they can get a copy of the history exam--they embark on an elaborate scheme to get the test, even though they do not want to cheat themselves. There are all sorts of grudges, kids with mad tech skills, misguided but well mea E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline Jackson and his friends are caught on video flooding the school bathrooms-- only they didn't do it! Gaby and Jackson have an alibi that will get them in even worse trouble, so when Rob and Thom offer them a deal-- the video destroyed if they can get a copy of the history exam--they embark on an elaborate scheme to get the test, even though they do not want to cheat themselves. There are all sorts of grudges, kids with mad tech skills, misguided but well meaning security guards and principals and even a little kissing as Jackson and his Gang Green try to stay out of trouble while implicating the students who are actually trying to cheat. Strengths: When Jackson is not convincing someone to hack into a system, he's an interesting kid. His relationship with Gaby is sweet and age appropriate, and it's especially interesting since he is friends with her brother. I also liked that she was on the girls' basketball team and had to miss some of the sneaking around because she had games. Weaknesses: This was even more unbelievable than The Great Green Heist for me. Since I am our building tech person, if something went this wrong with the video surveillance system, I'd be brought in on it, and I have never met a student who is this tech savvy. I could excuse the breach with reality, but there are so many details about exactly what the crew needs to do with the tech that the story got a bit slow. If there is another book, I'd like to see more of a focus on Jackson's middle school life and less about scams. What I really think: Will buy a copy, since I have three of the first book and they circulate well.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    First reviewed on Literaritea Casing the Joint: Fun middle grades read in the vein of Ocean’s 11 The Plan: Jackson Greene (renowned for his clever heists) and his cronies find themselves framed: a faked video shows that they were the ones who snuck into the school over the weekend and flooded the bathrooms. The villains bargain with Jackson: they won’t turn the video in if Jackson and his group steal an exam. There’s more than meets the eye, however, and the stakes are raised. The Sting: The first First reviewed on Literaritea Casing the Joint: Fun middle grades read in the vein of Ocean’s 11 The Plan: Jackson Greene (renowned for his clever heists) and his cronies find themselves framed: a faked video shows that they were the ones who snuck into the school over the weekend and flooded the bathrooms. The villains bargain with Jackson: they won’t turn the video in if Jackson and his group steal an exam. There’s more than meets the eye, however, and the stakes are raised. The Sting: The first Jackson Greene book was a lot of fun, and this one continues the trend nicely. Characters are nicely diverse, pacing is excellent (definitely a page turner), and the plot is clever. Jackson and his love interest add some humor and relational angles that middle schoolers will totally resonate with. And Jackson’s friendship with Charlie undergoes some strain that is handled quite realistically. The entire book is concerned with stealing an exam and pulling various tricks in order to do so. On the surface, this may seem quite the nefarious plot without redeeming qualities. However, the heist is over the top (nobody could pull this off in middle school), and the plot forms the base for a very fun read that is pure entertainment. Both guys and girls will enjoy this one, and it’s refreshing to have a nicely diverse cast of characters that aren’t simply a historical lesson on racism or the Civil Rights or immigration or some other “problem.”

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy Formanski Duffy

    This one stands out for the same reasons as the first book is the series: diverse, well-developed characters, fun heist plot, quick read, tech geek details and a moral code that steers the kids' actions. I still haven't found another series that would appeal to a general urban middle school audience, both girls and boys, so well. This time around Jackson, Gaby and their friends get framed with a doctored video of them supposedly damaging school property to force them to steal a history test for This one stands out for the same reasons as the first book is the series: diverse, well-developed characters, fun heist plot, quick read, tech geek details and a moral code that steers the kids' actions. I still haven't found another series that would appeal to a general urban middle school audience, both girls and boys, so well. This time around Jackson, Gaby and their friends get framed with a doctored video of them supposedly damaging school property to force them to steal a history test for lousy cheating classmates. As you may have guessed, they find a way to clear their names AND stop the other kids from cheating. Predictable, yes, but good fun. Is it realistic that 6th graders would know this much more than I do about computer coding and hacking surveillance equipment? Yeah, in 2016, probably!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Tweens who loved The Great Greene Heist will love To Catch a Cheat. It is every bit as funny and action packed, and the characters are every bit as quirky and lovable. In book #2 teen con-artist extraordinaire Jackson Greene has kept his promise to retire from the exciting world of conning bad guys. And he had every intention of keeping his promise until he becomes the victim of an expertly made fake video that is followed up with a blackmail threat. In order to save himself and his friends, Jac Tweens who loved The Great Greene Heist will love To Catch a Cheat. It is every bit as funny and action packed, and the characters are every bit as quirky and lovable. In book #2 teen con-artist extraordinaire Jackson Greene has kept his promise to retire from the exciting world of conning bad guys. And he had every intention of keeping his promise until he becomes the victim of an expertly made fake video that is followed up with a blackmail threat. In order to save himself and his friends, Jackson reunites Gang Greene to figure out how to out con the blackmailers. Their plan is so complex readers will scratch their heads trying to figure out how it is going to work. They will chuckle at all of the flubs and surprise twists.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I am such a sucker for a good con and heist! Both Jackson Greene books get them just right- convoluted but easy enough to follow, unpredictable but logical, self-referential, and some sweet romance for good measure. My only complaint is the large cast of characters becomes hard to keep track of. I rarely want a cast of characters in the front matter, but I do for these books. It's ironic, considering the (deserved) attention they get for diverse characters, that I find most of them to be interch I am such a sucker for a good con and heist! Both Jackson Greene books get them just right- convoluted but easy enough to follow, unpredictable but logical, self-referential, and some sweet romance for good measure. My only complaint is the large cast of characters becomes hard to keep track of. I rarely want a cast of characters in the front matter, but I do for these books. It's ironic, considering the (deserved) attention they get for diverse characters, that I find most of them to be interchangeable. If the series continues (and I hope it does), I'd love to see it evolve into a true ensemble cast.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yapha

    The crew of The Great Greene Heist is back, but this time they are on the receiving end of a con! Somebody has flooded the school bathrooms and tried frame Gang Greene. Charlie's bag and Jackson's notebook are found at the scene plus none of them have reliable alibis for Saturday night. Coincidence? Now Jackson, Charlie, Gaby, Megan, Hashemi, and the rest must find a way to not only prove their innocence but catch the people who actually did it. With more cons, twists, and electronic devices in The crew of The Great Greene Heist is back, but this time they are on the receiving end of a con! Somebody has flooded the school bathrooms and tried frame Gang Greene. Charlie's bag and Jackson's notebook are found at the scene plus none of them have reliable alibis for Saturday night. Coincidence? Now Jackson, Charlie, Gaby, Megan, Hashemi, and the rest must find a way to not only prove their innocence but catch the people who actually did it. With more cons, twists, and electronic devices in Beta than the first one, readers won't be able to put it down. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up. Best to read them in order.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    A fun caper as the characters in the Great Greene Heist tackle another job, this one because they are being blackmailed for something they didn't do. Tweens with access to and understanding of way more tech than one would reasonably expect make the caper possible despite some jealousy and in-fighting between Heisters. All of the jealousies and conflicts are quickly and easily resolved in ways real-life teens might envy, but this witty, charming, multicultural cast will make them feel part of the A fun caper as the characters in the Great Greene Heist tackle another job, this one because they are being blackmailed for something they didn't do. Tweens with access to and understanding of way more tech than one would reasonably expect make the caper possible despite some jealousy and in-fighting between Heisters. All of the jealousies and conflicts are quickly and easily resolved in ways real-life teens might envy, but this witty, charming, multicultural cast will make them feel part of the gang.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I loved The Great Greene Heist, and was delighted to get a copy of the ARC for the second book. The author, Varian Johnson, seems to love cons - at the back of the book, he even explains the origins of all the cons used by Jackson and his gang throughout the book. I really enjoy 2 things about this book - the diversity of the main characters, and that, even while running multiple cons, the main characters keep track of their moral compasses.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Loved the Great Greene Heist; loved this one. How many cons can one group of kids pull? Not to mention how they get involved in doing the wrong things for the right reasons. I'm not sure I initially understood why Charlie was was so angry with Jackson at the beginning, but then I remembered--this is middle school. And I did feel like there was some unfinished business between some of the characters when the story wrapped up. Received this book as an ARC at ALA midwinter.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I read an ARC of this second Jackson Greene story, and middle grade students will love the turns and twists as the gang works to clear their names after being set up to look as if they were responsible for a bad prank. I like that the students really do make choices based on doing what's "right", and I like the end where references to cons in real life, movies, and other books are explained.

  15. 4 out of 5

    the friedman

    I enjoyed this book because it was suspenseful and there were unexpected events. The things Gang Greene needs to do to clear their names kept on changing. I think readers in elementary and middle school would enjoy reading this book. Also if you like adventure, suspense and mystery books you would enjoy this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    If you liked the first book in this series, you'll like this one. The main character is apparently caught on video flooding the school bathroom. He needs to figure out who did it and catch them without getting in any more trouble. It reminded me a lot of Ocean's 11, and there are numerous references to other types of "sting" operations. You even get a Star Trek reference.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Oh, man, I love these books! So clever! Please keep writing more! There's not many like this that I know of (strong, diverse cast; great twists; brains winning the day; etc.), but when I find them I recommend them to everyone!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Schwitters

    Ben and I both loved this book. I like the suspense, the braininess, and the characters. Ben even said, "I read this on my own without you (Mom) bugging me to read it!" Good for both boys and girls, Moms and Dads, and anyone else who likes a good mystery!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mel Barnes

    I laughed so much through this book! I can't wait to tell others about how awesome it is! Can it be released now please???

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    As fun as the first. Well-written with plenty of enjoyable allusions to boot. I could read these all the time.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    ARC Enjoyed this one very much. Similar to the first one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Akilah

    4.5 stars, rounding up I love everything about this book (okay, almost everything, hence the 1/2 star deduction), including the cover. So fun! It gave me a happy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diana Gagliardi

    Srsly, I love this guy! Sly references with more strategy than I could ever hope to set up :) Enjoy yourselves, it's a fun ride :)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jaymie

    Great sequel. Really kept me guessing until the end.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Adam Wolf

    So much fun! A heist in a school, like Leverage + Italian Job + Ocean's 11 + all the movies I love. It's even better than the first.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Try to stay one step ahead of the Greene Gang, as they mastermind one situation after another. Great fun!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Have I mentioned how much I adore these books? So. Much. Fun.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    More fast-paced heist action

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Parkhill

    To Catch a Cheat is an entertaining story about a youthful con artist. The protagonist, Jackson Greene, is determined to retire after an earlier successful heist that exposed school election wrong-doing. But Jackson and his crew are now being threatened by a doctored security video that appears to depict them flooding the entire school. To prevent the video being turned over to the principal, Jackson and his crew must engineer a heist of the answers for an upcoming test. With this demand hanging To Catch a Cheat is an entertaining story about a youthful con artist. The protagonist, Jackson Greene, is determined to retire after an earlier successful heist that exposed school election wrong-doing. But Jackson and his crew are now being threatened by a doctored security video that appears to depict them flooding the entire school. To prevent the video being turned over to the principal, Jackson and his crew must engineer a heist of the answers for an upcoming test. With this demand hanging over them, Jackson and "Gang Greene" are determined to uncover the real culprit(s). Who really flooded the school, and who is attempting to pressure them? This story will appeal to readers who enjoy complicated turns of plot, especially those who enjoy protagonists with a strong moral compass. As an added feature, the author, Varian Johnson, includes an explanation of several cultural references - including scenes from film and television - that relate to elements of the plot involving heists and schemes.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Second book in the Jackson Greene books. Not strictly necessary to have read the first book, but there are references to it throughout, so it is helpful. When the school is flooded, a video is released that shows Jackson and his friends as being the guilty party. They need to figure out who made the video to get themselves out of hot water. A fun read with engaging characters and several of their problems are very authentic to middle school.

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