Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks

Cadel Piggott is hardly what you would call a typical child. At the tender age of seven, he was busted for high-level computer hacking. His genius IQ, and his penchant for getting into trouble, are two characteristics that immediately set him apart. Another is his biological father, criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon. While his father may be in prison for his crimes, he has arranged for Cadel to meet with his right-hand man, Dr. Thaddeus Roth.

Unbeknownst to Cadel's adoptive parents, his weekly counseling sessions with Thaddeus frequently serve as a chance for Cadel to converse with his father, and to learn more of the family business. In fact, Dr. Darkkon and Thaddeus have set up the Axis Institute to further Cadel's criminal career. With classes like Disguise, Embezzlement, and Infiltration with the Virus, Cadel is well on his way to a bright criminal future. He even creates his own phoney dating service to create a source of income so he can purchase parts to build his own computer (since he's not allowed to have one at home, due to his previous transgressions).

It's through his dating service that he makes his first real friend. Kay-Lee is a math whiz, and the two of them connect in a way he never has with another human being. When their relationship is threatened by his father, Cadel begins to see that maybe a life of crime isn't all it's cracked up to be.

His classmates at the Axis Institute hardly qualify as friend material. Everyone there is either wacko, too devious, too dangerous, or a liability to his reputation. As his classmates start disappearing and dying off one by one, Cadel starts to realize he may be in over his head. Can he hope to get away from Thaddeus and his father?

"As a School of Deception student, Cadel would have to attend certain compulsory courses as part of his first-year program. These courses would include Basic Lying (or 'Coping Skills'), Pure Evil (or 'Pragmatic Philosophy'), Case Studies I or ('Self-Discipline'), and Forgery (or 'Cultural Appreciation')," (Jinks pg. 84, 2005).

If you liked this, check out:

Genius Squad by Catherine Jinks
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil, and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb

Jinks, Catherine. (2007). Evil Genius. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc.

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