Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Hyperion Teens
Pages: 287 p.
Source: Local library
I'm a big fan of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, so it was just a matter of time before I got around to Heist Society, the first in a new series. Carter has a knack for writing strong, yet vulnerable, girl characters. The Gallagher Girl Cammie is a spy-in-training who can kick ass and still worry about boys. In Heist Society, Katarina is just as daring and talented at deception--but on the other side of the law. Kat is an art thief who comes from a long line of art thieves. She briefly tries to escape the family business by enrolling in boarding school and trying to be "normal." It doesn't take long before she's dragged back into it and planning another heist. It's not really her fault though; her Dad is being fingered for a job he didn't do and in order to save his life, she needs to find the paintings he supposedly stole--and steal them back.
This wouldn't be an Ally Carter book without some romantic tension thrown in as well. Kat's partner in crime is Hale, a dashing rich thief, who can make the calm Kat lose her cool. There's no overt romance, nothing that slows down the action, just the appealing tension a la Moonlighting (I know that show is wicked old, but that's always the first show I think of when I think of romantic tension. Even more so than Who's the Boss? Yes, I do know what decade it is.)
It's hard to write a morally ambiguous character who is both appealing and likable, but Carter pulls it off well. Kat is a thief and she's not proud of it. She tries to escape the life, but it's not just her life, it's her family as well. Kat knows she shouldn't be doing these things, but she does live within a certain set of rules. They don't steal from honest people. They're not muggers or violent criminals. In Kat's latest job she's stealing something that was already stolen (more than once) and is trying to return the art to its rightful owners. Carter doesn't pretend that it's okay to steal, she's not glorifying thievery, she's just written an exciting thrilling suspenseful story with a main character who is not black or white, not good or bad, but a little of both.
The sequel, Uncommon Criminals, will be coming out in June 2011. Teens will be eager to read Kat's further adventures.
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