The Cheat

The Cheat

4.3 13
by Amy Goldman Koss, Amy Goldman Koss
     
 

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Award-winning author Amy Goldman Koss explores what happens when one bad decision threatens to destroy everything.

Cheating on a geography midterm is only the beginning. It seemed simple enough—they were given the answers from last year's test and they used them. But Sarah and her friends got caught, and what was done without much thought leads to

Overview

Award-winning author Amy Goldman Koss explores what happens when one bad decision threatens to destroy everything.

Cheating on a geography midterm is only the beginning. It seemed simple enough—they were given the answers from last year's test and they used them. But Sarah and her friends got caught, and what was done without much thought leads to greater and greater consequences. Now they are facing punishment at school, tension at home, and no one is sure how or when it will end.

"An excellent springboard to provocative discussion or debate about the moral and ethical questions that this issue raises."—School Library Journal

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An excellent springboard to provocative discussion or debate about the moral and ethical questions that this issue raises."—School Library Journal

"Provocative and disturbing."—Kirkus Reviews 

Publishers Weekly
Although written in the same multinarrator format Koss used so powerfully in The Girls, this middle-school problem novel, unfortunately, doesn't make the grade. Hoping to impress pretty, popular Sarah, unpopular Jake gives her a copy of last year's multiple-choice geography midterm (from his older sister's files). Sarah shares the goods with her best friend, Katie, and impulsively, with Danny and Rob. At zero hour, Katie's conscience kicks in and she answers the questions out of sequence, so that she can't benefit from the mnemonic device she and Sarah invented to remember the answers. The other three, however, use the purloined answers; Rob realizes, too late, that the test has changed. Within a few hours, their teacher has somehow figured out that the students must have seen a previous exam, and Sarah, Danny and Rob are in trouble. This improbable setup occasions souped-up consequences, including (but not limited to) Rob's running away from home, Danny's girlfriend breaking up with him ("Who can trust a guy like that?... You can never know what else he'll, like, feel comfy lying about") and a crisis in Katie and Sarah's friendship. An artificiality permeates the characters' voices as well. Sarah is prone to cute versifying ("Whatever debatie/ No matter how weighty/ Or how irritatey/ I never could hatie/ My bestest friend Katie"); Rob speaks mainly in fragments. Koss's fans are likely to be disappointed. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)
Sarah starts it. The answers to the eighth-grade geography midterm are in her hands. Sarah decides to share her good fortune with a few classmates. Little does she know that this will turn into something far more dangerous than she could have imagined. A trip to the principal's office is not Rob's idea of a good day at school. Knowing he cannot go home to his father's definite fury, he leaves school in a daze heading straight out of town—on foot. Eleven hours later, Rob is curled up in a doorway on a main street far from anything familiar. Upon returning home, Rob's life is forever changed. Sarah and Rob are two of six characters giving readers their very own interpretive insight into the scandal. Formatted as personal entries, Koss' book allows teenage readers to unfold the story as each character reveals the progress of the situation in a different light. The issue of cheating is one of character and integrity—and one that every teenager has faced. This book is sure to resonate with today's teens. 2003, Dial Books, 176 pp., Ages young adult.
—Elise Anderson
VOYA
This novel's structure is strong because the students tell varying stories, which is realistic. Readers must determine the truth for themselves. The characters are stereotypical-beauty queen, nerd, macho guy-and their voices grate because of unrealistic slang or artificial phrasing. Their comments become redundant, leading the reader to wish that adults, especially the teachers, had spoken. Younger girls might like the story, but it is easier to put down than continue reading. Overall, it is not very engaging. VOYA Codes: 2Q 3P M (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003, Dial, 144p,
— Amanda Zalud, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature
Written in diary entry form, this work loses something right at the beginning. Unless the author's intent is to have readers flipping back trying to figure out who has done what, this is a very confusing and distracting read. Neither cheaters nor cheating ever prosper in the long run, and this is a sometimes-painful account of the lives of six eighth graders during the weekend post-geography midterm. Cheating is bad enough, but getting caught cheating is life changing, as we see in the chapters for each person, from one who almost cheated but didn't, to one who is on the verge of suicide for fear of his father. Whether this scenario is a reality for many young adult readers or not, it takes a bit of stamina to get through this book, and then to find out the cheater becomes somewhat of a hero after the four day suspension from school. Those with short attention spans may be attracted to this adolescent novel, but eager-readers should pass on this mediocre tale. 2003, Dial Books,
— Elizabeth Young
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Koss explores the ramifications of a school cheating scandal through the eyes of six students, who are involved in varying degrees. Some (Sarah, Dan, and Rob) cheat on their eighth-grade geography midterm and are caught outright. One (Katie) realizes that the answers she has been given couldn't possibly be correct, so she doesn't use them. Two (Jake and Ruby) are affected in more peripheral ways. In short, spare chapters, the narration bounces back and forth among the teens, and this device is confusing at times. As readers learn more about the characters' lives, the typical problems come to light-divorce, overbearing parents, etc. However, though the individual stories are not particularly unique or compelling, The Cheat does provide an excellent springboard to provocative discussion or debate about the moral and ethical questions that this issue raises.-Ronni Krasnow, New York Public Library Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Interlocking stories connect a group of eighth-grade students who get caught cheating on their geography midterm. Using the same narrative technique employed in The Girls, Koss tells this somewhat thinner tale in a medley of first-person voices. Sarah, a pretty, popular eighth grader, accepts the answers to last year's geography midterm from Jake, a smart kid "with a cool factor of zero" as casually as she would have taken "a stick of gum." But the situation has unintended consequences when Sarah and two friends she shared the answers with are sent home for cheating. Sadly, these rudderless adolescents have to cope alone as their parents are seen as being either self-centered, morally corrupt, or physically violent. What's intriguing and distressing about the piece is that while all the kids feel bad that they were caught-"Cheating is confusing, but getting caught is crystal clear"-there is no ethical consensus on cheating itself. Instead, the focus shifts to the morality of ratting out friends. And at the end of the story, Sarah, who refuses to tattle, and Jake, who finally confesses to the principal with the understanding that Sarah and the kids who rallied around her won't be punished, come out as heroes. Although provocative and disturbing, the characters lack richness and their stories don't build on each other to create a deeper whole, which is a shame because this contemporary, relevant topic is one that should invite discussion both in and out of the classroom. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142401286
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
07/22/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
259,058
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.68(h) x 0.49(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

When it all began, I had no idea anything was beginning. I just thought it was sweet that a guy I barely knew brought me the midterm answers out of the blue.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"An excellent springboard to provocative discussion or debate about the moral and ethical questions that this issue raises."—School Library Journal

Meet the Author

Amy Goldman Koss (amygoldmankoss.net) is the author of critically acclaimed novels The GirlsThe Trouble with Zinny Weston, and How I Saved Hanukkah. Ms. Koss both wrote and illustrated Curious Creatures in Peculiar Places, a selection of the 1989 John Burroughs List of Outstanding Nature Books for Children, and Where Fish Go in Winter, a Book-of-the-Month Club Selection. She lives in Glendale, California, with her husband, two children, and many pets.

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Cheat (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You here?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
life gets hit with hills figure out how these kids get hit with up's and downs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was not as good as i thought it to be. there was nothing special about this book to me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book last year and I read it again a couple weeks ago and I loved it! It really connects with real life things that today's teenager deals with. But,in my opinion,The Girls was better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Book will really nock your sox off! I really dont enjoy reading, but when I started reading this book, I coulden't stop! It is the best book i'v ever read, and I bet it always will be! If your a person who likes to gossip, then you'll love this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's just not like mean girls the movie or odd girl out it's not suspensful it's just plain old klinda boring. On the back it says it's suspensful but it's not.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read lots of books but this one really caught my attention. I love the style of the book and how its written. I read it in two days because I couldnt put it down. All in all this book is great!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It wasn't as good has The Girls but it was ok. The plot was just a little too childish
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in school for an assignment and I loved it! It is so realistic! Eighth-graders pland to cheat on a mid-term, which leads to even bigger problems in the future! Definetly a must-read!Also, if you have read this book, e-mail me and tell me what you have thought of it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This fast paced novel is about 6 eighth graders, in which 4 of the have themselves involved with cheating on the geography midterm. So suprising, it can not be unclutched.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was honestly one of the best books I have ever read! ANYONE should read it; most people can relate, if they have ever cheated or been tempted to cheat. I would give it a million stars if I could!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though not as Great as the Girls, it's interesting enough to recommend. There's some shall we say, less than perfect characters here and when trying to impress one of the cool ones, you can cause a lot of trouble that maybe you did not think about.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a really cool book, especially because it has different points of view from different people. They start by cheating on a midterm and that leads to bigger problems they have to face head on. It is a wonderful book that makes you wonder what you would do in the situation. E-mail me About this book or any book- I'd love to hear from you!