I feel like I come down harder on this book than I really meant to do. But, I think that's because I was so excited about it and it didn't meet my expectations.
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Katarina Bishop is kicked out of the Colgan academy, framed for a crime (that this one time) she actually didn't commit. Before she's even off school grounds the real reason she's been kicked out becomes apparent (in the form of billionaire heartthrob and burgeoning teen thief W.W. Hale the somethingth.) Hale is the bearer of bad news. Her dad is in trouble and he's refusing to try believe that situation is as bad as it is.
It is up to Hale and Katarina and their junior thief friends to work one of the most difficult heists in the world to keep her dad safe. Katarina has been gone from "the world" and "the family" for three months, and her confidence is shot. Add to the mix a new boy who is...interesting and who Hale is jealous of and doesn't trust and you have what could be an explosive time. I was underwhelmed by this book after really enjoying the Gallagher Girls books. Katarina didn't engage me very well and I liked every other character much more than her. I think that's because--despite the specific description and background-- Ally Carter was trying for that "everygirl" sort of character that we can all identify with and it didn't work for me. I found the inevitable love triangle a little predictable.
I wasn't a huge fan of the audiobook reader either. She wasn't bad, but I wasn't drawn into the story through her voice. That has a big impact on how I like the book. At no point did I feel the tension that should have been inherent in the scenes where Katarina and her loved ones are being threatened or in the scenes where they are pulling off a huge and impossible con job.
But! In concept and secondary characters this book shines. It was one of those escapes where, even though hackneyed a bit, I did feel like I was a part of a criminal underworld I would never even glimpse in real life. I don't want to be an art thief, but it was kind of fun to think "what if." Could be a younger read-a-like to some of Jennifer Cruisie's books, like "Bet Me.'
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