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Don't get caught
2016
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To his great surprise, uncool eleventh-grader Max Cobb is invited to join the Chaos Club, an exclusive group of students responsible for some of the biggest pranks at his high school. - (Baker & Taylor)

10:00 tonight at the water tower. Tell no one. -Chaos Club

When Max receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, he has to ask: why him? After all, he's Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life. He's Just Max. And his favorite heist movies have taught him this situation calls for Rule #4: Be suspicious. But it's also his one shot to leave Just Max in the dust...

Yeah, not so much. Max and four fellow students-who also received invites-are standing on the newly defaced water tower when campus security "catches" them. Definitely a setup. And this time, Max has had enough. It's time for Rule #7: Always get payback.

Let the prank war begin.

Oceans 11 meets The Breakfast Club in this entertaining, fast-paced debut filled with pranks and cons that will keep readers on their toes, never sure who's pulling the strings or what's coming next.

- (Sourcebooks Inc.)

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Booklist Reviews

Max is boring—not that smart, not that funny, not that noticeable. So when he gets a letter from his school's notorious pranksters, the Chaos Club, he has a choice to make: does he stay plain, boring Max, or does he seize the chance to make life a little more like his favorite heist movies? Of course, the letter turns out to be a setup, and Max finds himself caught up in the middle of an antiestablishment, revenge-driven prank war. Sure, he may land himself on the wrong side of the law, but he also finally has friends. Nothing, however, is what it seems, and as in every good heist movie, someone is a double-crosser. Funny, clever, and playful, this debut is an enjoyable romp that pairs high-stakes cons with a ragtag gang of high-school misfits. Savvy readers may see some of the plot twists coming, but that won't detract from their enjoyment of the prank war, and an open-ended finale suggests that this is only the beginning. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

In Dinan's debut novel, Max Cobb and four other Asheville High School students are out for revenge after being caught on the vandalized town water tower, a setup by the school's notorious Chaos Club. Enough is enough. Max is tired of being Just-Max, a nobody stuck in "a stupid, boring life"—"Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life, Mr. I'm So Lame the Career Interest Survey Recommended ‘Worker' As My Future Profession." Now he and the Water Tower Five are on a mission to take down the Chaos Club after falling victim to a humiliating prank. Planning to fight Chaos with chaos, Max, Ellie, Malone, Wheeler, and Adleta, step up. "The pin's pulled and the grenade heaved," says his new alter ego, Not-Max. Fake business cards, a fake Chaos Club website, plenty of high school humor involving puke, boners, a naked and anatomically correct mannequin, an ever expanding list of heist rules, self-consciously pompous code names, and a satisfyingly complex and unpredictable plot will kee p readers involved and amused. And just when the tale threatens to wilt under the accumulation of so many sleazy machinations, it turns out that Max has developed a conscience and the strength to stand up to the devil herself. "Game on," the story ends, hinting at a possible sequel. The cast is not notably diverse. This caper comedy about an Ocean's 11-style group of high school masterminds will keep readers guessing. (Fiction. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

PW Annex Reviews

For decades, the Chaos Club has pulled pranks at Max Cobb's high school, but when they frame Max and four other students for one of their escapades, he and the rest of the so-called Water Tower Five vow revenge. With heist-movie-obsessed Max as mastermind, the group embarks on a no-holds-barred game against an invisible enemy as they attempt to take down the Chaos Club and pull some epic pranks of their own. No pep rally or homecoming event is safe, no mascot or trophy off limits. Genre-savvy, clever, and full of "Heist Rules" like "If questioned, be evasive" and "Play to your crew's strengths," this twisty tale is funny, fast-paced, and full of surprises. Newcomer Dinan brings in numerous classic heist elements, including sleight-of-hand, code names, flashback sequences (to show what really happened along the way), and elaborate schemes, leading to one revelation after another. Fans of Ocean's 11 or Leverage—properties Max himself holds dear in his personal playbook—will find a great deal to enjoy in Dinan's debut. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—Max Cobb flies under the radar—until a prank sets him and several classmates up to take the fall for the high school's legendary Chaos Club. In a quest to prove he's more than ordinary, Max, with his motley crew, decides to take down the club and the school's disliked disciplinarian. But when their slippery slope of vengeance and insensitive pranking enters illegal territory with little to no thought of the consequences, Max is forced to consider that his crew might be worse than their perceived rivals. Crude humor, insecurities, and family expectations ring true in this realistic tale. Actions by the school's administration and teachers strain credulity for the sake of plot. The obvious but not incorrect message that people are more than what they're pigeonholed as is ironically promoted among a cast of archetypes—the exception being fallible yet empathetic and likable Max, whom readers will root for. A baddie's vaguely cartoonish reveal in the final twist may not surprise readers. VERDICT Pop culture references, short chapters, and laugh-out-loud narrative moments make this an additional purchase for reluctant readers or fans of films like The Perfect Score.—Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJ

[Page 162]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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