Carly Biels tanks on the SAT's, and when she gets a mysterious note from The Taker, she can't resist the stranger's offer to take the test for her. Once she's hired someone to take the test for her, what if she gets caught?
"Carly has always counted on going to Princeton, her family's alma mater for generations, but her SAT scores fall far short of Ivy League standards. Then a mysterious text message from The Taker promises nearly perfect scores when she tries the test again, and as her sense of failure intensifies, she accepts the Taker's offer. She also signs up for tutoring sessions with her brilliant, geeky neighbor, and his creative lessons and gentle affection give Carly a new perspective not only on the test and her decision to cheat but also on her friends, family, and boyfriend. The Taker's identity and an SAT cheating ring form an awkwardly constructed mystery that isn't nearly as strong as Carly's believable, first-person voice, which mixes sometimes barbed social observations with genuine insights and growth. Like Mariah Frederick's Crunch Time (2006), this debut novel, written by anonymous authors under a joint pen name, offers a pointed view of the pressures of college admittance, standardized tests, and the discovery of love that feels respectful and right. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2006 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Steele (the undisclosed pseudonym of two authors) adds a humorous twist to the horrors of taking College Board exams in this novel that will have readers alternately laughing and sympathizing with high-school senior Carly Biels. Not only does Carly want to go to Princeton, but her father, an alum, expects it. Her dreams of going to an Ivy League school are shattered, however, when she receives a composite 1710 score on her SATs. While wallowing in despair, Carly receives a mysterious text message from someone called "The Taker." The Taker then calls her and offers to retake the test for her and guarantees "a score within one hundred and fifty points of perfect." Of course there are conditions: Carly must pretend to study hard, so no one will become suspicious, and she will have to perform a favor to be named at a later date. Carly takes the bait, but regrets her decision after her best friend, Jen, a budding investigative reporter, gets wind of a cheating ring at their school, and Carly's nerdy neighbor Ronald Gross ("pronounced like floss, as his mother is quick to say") convinces her that she can raise her score the old-fashioned way, by studying. While the outcome and identity of the Taker will come as no surprise, the book's lively dialogue and witty scenarios will keep the pages turning. Ages 11-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved