Book Review: The Heist Society

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Title: Heist Society (Heist Society #1)
Author: Ally Carter
Origins: My Local Library
Summary: [from GoodReads] When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

My Review: I would like to thank the blogosphere in general for leading me to this little gem. I have no idea where I first saw it, but enough of you fawned over it that I decded I’d better at least see what all the fuss was about.

This book reminded me more than anything of the St. Trinian’s movies. (For those of you that don’t know the St. Trinian’s movies are a British thing, popular a few years ago, about a boarding school of “bad girls.” They’re rather amusing.) Katarina is the good girl (Annabelle) though in this case she’s more of a reformed, trying-to-be-good girl, Hale is the one who is good-at-heart but a bad example (I can’t remember her name) and Uncle Eddie even reminds me of the headmistress Camilla at times =)

The place where the two differ is the execution. St. Trinian’s is really a bunch of pop culture references, strung together with a buttload of jokes and a little bit of plot (the literary equivalent of silly putty and bits of string). Heist Society on the other hand, uses this really interesting sub culture of thieving to ask some hard questions – if you had to steal a painting from a museum (and you knew you could do it) to save someone you loved, even though it’s mostly morally wrong, would you do it? I’m not sure if I would.

One of the things I enjoyed about it was the way it was told. There were the big mysteries, of course, and some of them went unanswered, but the little ones were the ones that I enjoyed. I like to imagine this is exactly what it would be like to be part of one of the families – you love your family, but they still have many, many secrets from you. I’m desperate to know what the W.W. stands for in W.W. Hale III, and I would love to know everything Uncle Eddie knows. I do hope that by the end of the series she’ll clear up most of the mysteries (though maybe not all of them). 

I’ve heard rumours recently of the possibility of a movie, and I am so there! This was such a fun ride in book format that I can’t wait to see what they’d do with a movie. 

(Also, as a sidenote, anyone notice that the writers of Castle must have read these books? Art thief who only steals things originally stolen by the Nazi’s and returns them to their owners? Yeah, never heard of that before…)

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2 Responses to “Book Review: The Heist Society”

  1. kimberly says:

    I LOVE these books. As much as I enjoyed Heist Society, I loved the 2nd book "Uncommon Criminals" even more. The writing flows so well, the plot twists are smart without being overly dense, and the characters are all likable. Two thumbs, way up!

  2. Anne says:

    I really enjoyed the second one as well! I'm a little behind on reviews so I actually got that one read before even reviewing the first (and how fast I got to it after the first says something about how much I liked them as well =) Thanks for stopping by!

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