The Life and
Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower
Is it okay to do something absolutely awful, if everyone thinks you've done it already?
Bernetta Wallflower is having the worst summer on record. After her ex-best friend frames her for masterminding a cheating ring at school, her parents ground her until her tonsils grow back and she’s banned from her father’s magic club, where she performs every Saturday as a magician's assistant. But what's most horrible of all is that Mount Olive, the private school Bernetta has attended since kindergarten, has decided to take away her scholarship for seventh grade. If Bernetta wants to return to school, she'll need to find $9,000 in three short months. It seems hopeless . . . until Bernetta comes up with a plan that involves a lot of lying, a little bit of trickery, and a mysterious stranger with chocolate- brown eyes. But does Bernetta have the gumption to pull it off?
Resources for teachers and librarians
(aligned to Common Core standards for Grades 4-6)
This is an entertaining and offbeat outing, following cinematic convention . . . escalating things with cons within cons and subsequent counter-cons . . . [Readers will] relish the twists and turns.
The details of the different scams are fascinating . . . Graff has created an original, dimensional heroine in Bernetta.
The sneaky scams [Bernetta and Gabe] pull off will enthrall readers . . . The author describes a few of Bernetta's father's magic tricks and explains some of Gabe's people-reading techniques, adding to the book's fun quotient.
School Library Journal
The characters are well drawn, and Bernetta's growing qualms of conscience are believable. Readers will appreciate the well-constructed plot and intriguing snippets of magic slipped in here and there.
The Horn Book
Graff successfully diverts the reader's attention in order to spring several surprises along the way while still making Bernetta a genuine and likable character.
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Laura Geringer Books
HarperCollins Winter 2008