Con Artists, Sleuths, and Superspies: 5 YA Characters You Just Can’t Trust

Mary Elizabeth Summer's Trust Me I'm LyingNothing spices up the slow beginning of autumn better than a little crime spree—especially if you can enjoy the adrenaline rush from the safe comfort of a reading nook, rather than taking on the entire Russian mob by yourself. But forget all the high-speed chases and heavy-duty fight scenes: the real kick of a great crime thriller comes in trying to pin down the motivations of an un-pinnable hero or heroine. Here are a few young masters of disguise we may never really trust (in the best way possible):

Cassel Sharpe (Curse Workers series, by Holly Black)
Grab yourself a hefty helping of lovable outcast, mix in a dash of tragic backstory, add a nice dose of intrigue, and you’ve got the recipe for Cassel Sharpe, the only law-abiding member of a family of supernaturally enhanced criminals. For now. But when Cassel gets the feeling he’s being manipulated, things just might change. Of course, it’d be a whole lot easier to tell whether we could trust Cassel if he could trust himself…but really, that’s why we love him.

Cammie Morgan (Gallagher Girls series, by Ally Carter)
It’s true, you can’t trust Cammie Morgan. But it’s for your own safety, really. After all, she is top of her class at the Gallagher Academy for Spies Exceptional Young Women. Behind her steel trap of a mind and serious martial arts skills, though, is a teenage girl in love with resident bad boy Zach…feelings that just might get in the way when she has to save herself from the nefarious Circle of Cavan. And really, considering Zach’s charms, would we blame her if they did?

Katarina Bishop (Heist Society series, by Ally Carter)
Not to be constrained to one side of the law, Ally Carter explores the (equally awesome) moral low ground with Katarina Bishop. She may have been born into the world of high-class criminals, but Katarina would love to leave it behind—or so she says. But when she has to pull off a heist to save her dad, those criminal instincts come back all too easily. Her constant struggle to give up her thieving ways (plus Ally Carter’s engaging, fast-paced writing) has us hooked. Besides, we’ll admit it: we’re totally in love with her hot sidekick, Hale.

Julep Dupree (Trust Me, I’m Lying, by Mary Elizabeth Summer)
Part-time school “fixer,” full-time badass, Julep’s a con woman with only one problem: she loves her family and friends too much. So when her con-artist dad disappears, Julep has to decide who she wants to involve in the rescue plot. Her dedication to keeping people safe is admirable, but it’s her confidence and determination that fill the Veronica Mars–shaped hole in our hearts and makes us want buy her a cup of coffee. (Or maybe she just conned us into paying for that.)

Cadel Pigott (Evil Genius, by Catherine Jinks)
Cadel may be a genius when it comes to world domination, but he’s a total moron like the rest of us when it comes to handling social situations. So it’s no surprise that his therapist/only confidant easily convinces him to become a student of the Art of Evil. But is he genuinely sold on this whole criminal mastermind thing, or is he just a lonely 14-year-old looking for love? We’re not sure, but we love watching his twisted mind work either way.

Who’s your favorite untrustworthy character?

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