The Ambrose deception

Emily Ecton

Book - 2018

Three Chicago students, Melissa, Wilf, and Bondi, are unlikely participants in a competition for a ten thousand-dollar scholarship, unaware that there is much more at stake.

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jFICTION/Ecton, Emily
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jFICTION/Ecton, Emily
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Children's Room jFICTION/Ecton, Emily Due Oct 2, 2022
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Los Angeles : New York : Disney/Hyperion [2018]
First edition
Physical Description
359 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Main Author
Emily Ecton (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In three middle schools across Chicago, three students fly under the radar. Melissa hides how poor her family is while doing other people's homework for a fee. Slacker Wilf knows exactly how to get out of things he doesn't want to do. And show-off Bondi has a personality any con man would envy. None of them stand out, so their various teachers are flummoxed when the three are chosen to compete for a $10,000 scholarship. They're each given a different set of clues, and the answers are to be found throughout Chicago. Initially competitors, the three start to realize that something bigger is happening here. Why does recently deceased multimillionaire Enoch Ambrose's name keep popping up everywhere? In a narrative that's by turns clever and hilarious, Ecton takes readers on a wild tour of Chicago through the eyes of three characters imbued with big personalities. A rollicking adventure, a Westing Game–style mystery, and a heartwarming reminder that anyone can be greater than the sum of their parts. Grades 5-8. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 5–8—Melissa, Wilf, and Bondi—an enterprising money-maker, a slacker, and a smooth talker, respectively—are unlikely recipients of a mysterious scholarship offer, but that doesn't stop them from trying to win it anyway. They're given a driver, a cell phone, a debit card, a camera, and three clues, with the instruction that they are to tell no one what they're doing. The first kid to answer all three clues correctly wins a $10,000 scholarship. But as the chase progresses, the kids soon see that things aren't adding up. This realization forces them to work together, prove that they aren't slackers or criminals, and win a prize bigger than anything they've ever dreamed. This fast-paced story set in Chicago takes readers on a scavenger hunt to some of the city's most famous landmarks, with interesting trivia and history to accompany them. Ecton creates an eclectic and vivid cast of characters from varied backgrounds, lending authenticity to this Chicago-set tale. The addition of text messages, emails, and written notes provides a fun interlude between chapters. VERDICT An appealing adventure story likely to be in high demand. A must-buy for all libraries serving middle graders, especially those in the Chicago area.—Jessica Holland, Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Melissa is a nobody. Wilf is a slacker. Bondi is a show-off.

Not a single one of Melissa, Wilf, or Bondi's middle school teachers would considerer them a star student. Yet to everyone's surprise, Melissa, WIlf, and Bondi are the three students chosen to compete for a ten thousand-dollar scholarship, solving clues that lead them to various locations around Chicago. None of the kids have heard of the scholarship before, but the rules seem simple enough: solve clues, take photo proof, and win money. 

At first the three contestants work independently, but it doesn't take long before each begins to wonder whether the competition is a sham. It's only by secretly joining forces and using their unique talents that the trio is able to uncover the truth behind the Ambrose Deception -- a truth that involves a lot more than just a scholarship.

With a narrative style as varied and intriguing as the mystery itself, this adventure involving clever clues, plenty of perks, and abhorrent adults is pure wish fulfillment.