Review: Heist Society (Heist Society #1) by Ally Carter
Author: Ally Carter
Series: Heist Society #1
Publisher: Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group
Publication Date: February 9, 2010
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. (From Goodreads)
Right Up My Alley…
I absolutely love movies like the Ocean’s Eleven series, and TV shows like Leverage, so I can’t believe that I hadn’t read this book before now. But I’m so glad that I finally got around to it! Heist Society has mystery, crime, humor, quirky thieves and my new favorite love interest. I started reading this while reading another book, so I didn’t finish it as fast as I could have, but otherwise I would have been able to sit down and gobble it up in one sitting!
A Family Affair…
Kat’s family is in the business of crime – theft to be exact. She’s grown up with it. And when a mobster’s paintings go missing, Kat’s father is the one the mobster decides to blame. But Kat’s dad claims to be innocent, and Kat has to round up a team to steal the paintings back to save him. A lot of YA books kind of dispose of the parents in the story – and I totally understand why. Young Adult books deal with teens being faced with adversity – whether it be supernatural or biological or criminal – and often they need to be able to overcome this adversity without the help of their parents, and sometimes with no help at all.
But I love how Carter has turned this around and used it to her advantage. Kat lost her mom a long time ago, so there’s no help there. And her father has a 24/7 Interpol tail, so he can’t even be a part of the mission to prove his innocence. But even though her parents aren’t a part of the story in that way, Kat constantly has memories and dreams of her mother, and the entire plot is based on the fact that she is trying to clear her father’s name and keep him safe. This story is truly about family (and you also see that with Kat’s team – they don’t always get along but they completely have each other’s backs no matter what), and what lengths someone will go to to protect their loved ones.
One thing that happens in a lot of these kinds of books/movies/TV shows that I have a love/hate relationship with, is that they vaguely mention other cons. You know what I’m talking about: when trying to decide exactly which con to use for a job, they go through tons of funny titles, and give us only a little hint as to what these cons entail. For example, in Heist Society, they are in this very situation while trying to decide what con would be best to steal back the paintings. One suggestion was the “Princess Bride” con, and one of the others in the team replies, “Do you know where we can find a six-fingered man on such short notice?” I love these references to other cons, but it annoys me a bit because I want to see these cons in action! But I still find it funny.
My New Book Boyfriend…
I don’t often find myself going gaga over boys in books. I usually like the male love interest enough, and I want the relationship to work out for him and the female protagonist, but that’s about it. I mean, if there’s a love triangle I usually prefer one over the other, but there have only been a few male characters in books that I’ve really fawned over. But now I have another one to add to that short list: Hale. Ah, Hale… He’s a bad boy but yet not a bad boy. And I love how he told Kat, “Either way, I’m in, Kat. I’m all in,” really early on in the book, before there was much of a hint of a love story. Later he said, “You should always count me in,” and then later, when she asked him why he chose this life of crime, he said, “…I didn’t choose it, Kat. I chose you.” We really don’t get much more of a love story than that, but that’s all I need. I’ve found my new book boyfriend.
I really just loved this story. I loved all the characters, the plot, the mystery, and, of course, the heist. My rating for Heist Society by Ally Carter:
I don’t really do half ratings, but this totally deserves 4 1/2 stars. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Uncommon Criminals, and I definitely want to check out Ally Carter’s other series!
Beth D.March 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm
This has been on my list for a while. I have heard some truly great things about the series!
fakestephMarch 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm
I looooved Heist Society. Uncommon Criminals was a little more confusing, but I think Carter has figured out how to balance her two series, so I'm really excited for the next one in the series. And hehehehe… Hale. :)
Kimberly @ On the Wings of BooksMarch 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm
I've seen this book around but thought it was more of a "maybe, someday" book but you have just convinced me to read it, and read it soon. I love leverage and oceans 11.
Andrea @ The Overstuffed BookcaseMarch 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm
Oh, great! I'm so glad that my review has had that effect! Looking forward to your thoughts on it! ;)
Andrea @ Cozy UpMarch 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm
Great review! I've seen this book a couple of times, but never really seemed interested in it. I really love the idea that it is more about family than most YA novels you read these days (which like you say is understandable, but I like adding in the family aspect a little more). Also glad to hear you have a nice new book boyfriend.. I have a bad habit of finding them too often haha.
Kate@Midnight Book GirlMarch 20, 2012 at 6:59 pm
I don't know if I'll get to this series, but I'm definitely more interested in it than I was before! Great review, loved the style. ;)
Jen Ryland/YA RomanticsMarch 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm
I love this series so much!!!!!
I think I read that they were making them into a movie, but making the characters adults instead of kids. And Hale …… sigh.
Andrea @ The Overstuffed BookcaseMarch 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm
What? They're going to make it into a movie with adults? Well, that sucks! I mean, I'll still probably want to see it, but why change the ages????
LuMarch 22, 2012 at 6:25 pm
Love your review! And I also can't wait to read the next one :)
I know what you mean about the reference to other cons! I want a book just written about them so I can know what happened!
Small ReviewMarch 23, 2012 at 2:46 am
I love the way you reviewed this book! I know what you mean about the allusions to other cons. I love that sort of thing, but it's so frustrating because I too want to see them in action! I like it when they appear later on in the series—maybe that will happen? I haven't read any Ally Carter books yet, but they're all on my TBR.
Andrea @ The Overstuffed BookcaseMarch 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm
Thanks so much for your kind comment!
Yes, I really want to see those cons played out! And I really want to read Carter's Gallagher Girls series, too. They sound just as good as this one!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
BittnerMarch 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm
I don't know when I will be able to make my way around to this series but I do have it added to my wish list on audible.com…
The line about how Hale is "all in" reminds me of the first date Luke and Lorelai went on.
Andrea @ The Overstuffed BookcaseMarch 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm
I almost mentioned that in my review. I'm not sure why I didn't, actually. But yeah, I kept thinking of Gilmore Girls when Hale would talk about being all in – Luke and Lorelai said that to each other a few times! I really wish they'd do a follow up movie to that show so that we could see that Luke and Lorelai ended up together!
Mel - Thedailyprophecy.March 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm
When I saw the cover on Goodreads, I just clicked this book away. I thought it would be a chick lit, but it sounds much better now I've read the synopsis. Perhaps I'll give it a chance!
Andrea @ The Overstuffed BookcaseMarch 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm
It's definitely not chick lit. If you like Ocean's Eleven or Leverage or stuff like that, you should definitely give it a chance!
Kayla GrahamApril 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm
This sounds oh so good! I really want to read it now, I promise I won't try to steal Hale away lol! Great, great review! I love the comparisons to TV shows and movies! Definitely on my TBR list and I love the cover too :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!
Andrea @ The Overstuffed BookcaseApril 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm
Well, I can share Hale, since I'm actually married and all… ;) Thanks for the kind words!