Heist Society by Ally Carter
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 her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has 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 history-or at least her family's (very crooked) history.
Kat was born into one of the greatest crime families of all time. Not the mafia, but a kind, cultured family who just happen to be art thieves. She grew tired of being in the crime world and went to a boarding school, trying to be a normal student. But normal is not part of Kat's world. Too soon, Kat is plucked from her school sanctuary when some art is stolen from a mafia don. He's convinced that her father is to blame. It's up to Kat to recover the art pieces and save her father. She creates a tag team of teenagers to pull off one of the greatest heists ever. There's W.W. Hale: rich, cultured, handsome, who may or may not like Kat. Simon, the math genius. Angus and Hamish, comedic brothers who reminded me of the Weasley twins. Gabrielle, the great beauty. And the mysterious Nick. Over the span of a few days, Kat travels across the U.S. and Europe to figure out where the art pieces are, how they were stolen, and how they can be recovered.
I've read all of Ally Carter's books and enjoyed them. Her greatest talent is crafting intense, entertaining, and rich endings. Her weaknesses are the beginning and sometimes middle of the books (the newest Gallagher Girls book was an exception to this tendency). I had trouble getting into Heist Society, as I do most of her books. Kat's world wasn't laid out clearly; I had to concentrate on understanding the background rather than being able to focus on the plot. I also felt like I didn't get to know Kat all that well. The story was told from her viewpoint but she seemed rather flat. But midway through the book, I finally got sucked in and forgave all my earlier quibbles. I love how Ally Carter's books feature smart characters who are full of knowledge that teenagers normally wouldn't have. It's fun to see kids planning complex art heists and seeing how they pull it off. It reminded me of Oceans 11. The details are superb, but she also manages to remind us that the characters are still teenagers. There's jealousy and budding romance. The last half of Heist Society, as with all of Ally's books, is a fascinating read of a strangely believable world of likeable thieves.
Rating: 3.5 / 5