Saturday, September 17, 2011

With a Little Help from My Friends

With thanks to my local library, I just finished Uncommon Criminals . It’s part of the Heist Society series by the same lady who wrote the Gallagher Girl’s Spy Series, Ally Carter. That set is about a school for teenage girl spies to learn their craft. They’re fast to read, with clever twists, and this series is equally fun. The Heist Society series is about a young girl descended from a long line of thieves and con men/women. Some of them have stolen for profit, some for fun, and some of them are righting wrongs by re-stealing objects of art and returning them to the original owners. (I’m sure the author didn’t mean anything sinister when she made the characters who are stealing for fun and profit so much more entertaining than the ones stealing for the greater good.)

Kat has a group of friends and relatives who help in her big capers. They’re the next generation of this ancient family of thieves and they’re learning to put the years of con-man knowledge they’ve absorbed into practice. The author has fun with the ruses, having characters throw out cons named the Anne Boleyn and Oscar the Grouch. It’s a little like the teenage set Ocean's Eleven , which is never a bad thing. There aren’t 11 hot boys in Kat’s group, but one can’t expect George Clooney to appear in every teen novel.

In the first book, Heist Society , Kat’s hidden herself away at boarding school trying to find a normal life. (Because boarding school is so normal. Girl should have enrolled in a 5A public school if she wanted to get lost in the system.) Her dad gets framed for stealing some paintings and the guy they were stolen from wants them back. Kat and her gang decide the only way to fix the problem is to find the paintings and steal them again.

InUncommon Criminals , Kat gets cocky and she gets conned by an older, savvier version of herself. She doubts herself and her abilities, but she pulls the job with the help of her friends. (What? You were expecting that she would fail?) The books really are twisty and fun and what more can you ask from a summer read


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