Heist Society & Uncommon Criminals

Title: Heist Society (Book 1 in Heist Society)
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: February 9, 2010

For as long as she can remember, Katarina has been a part of the family business—thieving. When Kat tries to leave “the life” for a normal life, her old friend Hale conspires to bring her back into the fold. Why? A mobster’s art collection has been stolen, and Kat’s father is the only suspect. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help. The only solution is to find the paintings and steal them back. Kat’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history—and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

This is an amazing book. I loved Kat, I loved Hale, and all of the other teenage thieves as well. You’ve got the comedy in the Bagshaws, the geek in Simon, the girly-girl in Gabrielle, and the “responsible adult” in Marcus. Of course, the father figure of Uncle Eddie, and Kat’s actual father, make for a very interesting family dynamic. By adding Nick, an outsider, into the midst, you could just tell how close-knit the family is, despite their differences. There was a ton of adventure and suspense involved; Arturo Taccone was a large source of that tension! The plot was smooth and the well-done third person writing connected it very well; it was so fluid and very much in touch with the characters, too – so much so that at points I forgot that it wasn’twritten in the first person, I felt so knowledgeable about the characters, especially Kat.

It’s very similar to Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girl series, which I love, so definitely check these out if you liked those. Despite the similarity, though, there is still that unique twist that she put on it with the storylines, the inside jokes, etc. I loved the plot, the characters, and everything about the book. I’m very happy that I chose to buy this book from B&N the other day rather than any other book. The cover is really cool, too – I love how the painting is reflecting in the sunglasses, and how the same cover model (or a very similar cover model) is used for the series, which brings me to:

Title: Uncommon Criminals (Book 2 in Heist Society)
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 29, 2012

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed. Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time. Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

Again, with the cover, I really liked the reflection in the sunglasses, but more than that, I feel as though we got to see more into the characters. Kat is feeling really lost as a girl, and Gabby’s sudden lack of confidence because of the job, and Hale’s uncertainty and hurt despite his wealth and theft skills. This job tears down certain walls because in order to succeed, they couldn’t have those obstacles in the way. New members of the family are introduced (or should I say legends, when it comes to Uncle Charlie?), and you really come face-to-face with legends and feel their awe. However, I did think that the end was a little confusing – I had to reread a few sections a couple times in order to put faces to the action, but other than that, I adored this book even more than the first. The whole Kat/Hale thing is coming around a little bit (I sooooo can’t wait to see what happens with them in the third book), and everything about the characters and plot makes me slightly regret not buying the third book with the first two. However, my wallet thanks me, and so does my OCD because I have the first two in soft-cover and they only had the third one is hard.

So, I highly recommend this series to pre-teens and teens alike. If you liked The Gallagher Girls, you’ll like these as well. The writing style, the plotline, and the characters will capture your heart and imagination – I mean, could you think about stealing priceless paintings or a giant emerald out from under the noses of the best security teams – and theives – in the world? You’ll be breathless with excitement and suspense, waiting to see what the best junior theives in the biz will do next!

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