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The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower…
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The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower

by Lisa Graff

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(2) bullies (1) cheating (4) con artists (2) cons (4) ER (1) family (1) family life (1) fantasy (1) fiction (3) friendship (2) Gabe (1) girl (1) grade 5 (1) grade 7 (1) have read (1) kh (1) lying (1) magic (3) magic tricks (3) private school (2) realistic (1) realistic fiction (3) scams (1) scholarship (1) school (2) sisters (1) summer (1) YA (3) young adult (2)

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Well that was different.  Lots to discuss.  Parents are a little too conveniently trusting, and big sister a little too conveniently wise & kind, but the book as a whole is exciting and charming. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Elements of this book worked really well - Bernetta's struggle to determine the right thing to do, the magic tricks and con tricks. However, there's a couple of big problems as well. I'm not sure the movie quotes and references work that well because while I recognized them, I have no confidence that the intended upper grade school audience would recognize them. The biggest problem I had though was that Bernetta's parents just seemed to assume and accept that she was guilty despite her protestations of innocence. This seemed particularly odd to me since the older sister believed in Bernetta's innocence and was well respected by her parents and the school. Perhaps this wouldn't bother kids so much, but my parents would have been raising quite the ruckus in the same situation. This could work well for discussion though since Bernetta makes some poor choices and struggles with a lot of decisions. ( )
  JenJ. | Mar 31, 2013 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Bernetta Wallflower knows two things: 1) a lot of stuff about magic since her father owns a magic club known as Trunk Number Eight, and 2) people who appear to be your friends can turn on you and leave you with nothing.

Accused of running a cheating ring in her private school, Bernetta finds herself without a scholarship to Mount Olive for next year. Because of her problems at school, she is also grounded for the entire summer. She needs $9,000 in her bank account if she hopes to return to Mount Olive for seventh grade, and babysitting appears to be the only thing she is qualified to do. Then Bernetta meets Gabe, a self-professed con artist, and he offers to cut her in on the action he has planned for the summer.

Using the sleight-of-hand skills she has learned at her father's magic club and her natural acting talents, Bernetta joins forces with Gabe to earn some serious money. Instead of reporting to her fake babysitting gig, Bernetta meets Gabe at the mall where they begin running scam after scam to earn the money she needs to replace her lost scholarship. After all, it's for a good cause, so how could anyone object?

Everything seems to be going smoothly until Ashley Johansson shows up. She is to blame for Bernetta's trouble at school and the suspended scholarship, and now here she is threatening even more trouble. Can Bernetta get what she needs and still find a way to live with her actions? One thing she does learn is that everyone has more than one option in life; it's just about which option you choose.

Lisa Graff's THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF BERNETTA WALLFLOWER is a whirlwind adventure in petty crime and accepting the consequences of one's decisions. Graff begins each chapter with a new magic term, and readers will be fascinated with the description of well-known cons used by Bernetta and Gabe. Bernetta's story is sure to entertain, but at the same time present readers with challenging questions about doing the right thing. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
Suspended and grounded for crimes she did not commit, 12-year-old Bernetta decides to become the criminal everyone thinks she is and teams up with Gabe to spend the summer conning people out of their money. He reads people and she's got the lightening fast fingers -- a perfect combination. But when it turns out he is way better at memorizing movie quotes than telling the truth, Bernetta is in for a hard time. With a complete cast of lovable (and hate-able) characters, this is a fun summer read...as long as it doesn't give anyone any ideas. ( )
  elizardkwik | Feb 19, 2009 |
After her supposed best friend implicates her in a cheating and blackmail scam, twelve-year-old Bernie loses her private school scholarship but, with the help of a new friend, spends the summer using her knowledge of magic and sleight-of-hand both to earn the $9,000 in tuition money and to get revenge. ( )
  prkcs | Aug 19, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060875925, Hardcover)

Bernetta Wallflower is having the worst summer on record. After her ex-best friend, Ashley, frames her for running a school-wide cheating ring, Bernetta can't convince anyone that she's innocent. Her parents ground her until her tonsils grow back, and she's not even allowed to go to her father's magic club, Trunk Number Eight, where she performs every Saturday as a magician's assistant. But what's most terrible 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.

This is a comic and touching story about losing your footing and finding your way again from the author of The Thing About Georgie.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After her supposed best friend implicates her in a cheating and blackmail scam, twelve-year-old Bernie loses her private school scholarship but, with the help of a new friend, spends the summer using her knowledge of magic and sleight-of-hand both to earn the $9,000 in tuition money and to get revenge.… (more)

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