Author: Ally Carter
Release Date: February 9, 2010
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her 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's art collection has been stolen, and he wants it returned. 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 (very crooked) history—and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.--Goodreads
I really love learning about art heists--the seedy underbelly of a world that is so full of culture and pretension and money that even the thieves have to be cultured and pretentious and monied. So, it's an understatement to say that I was excited about reading Heist Society on my flight from Arkansas back to NYC on Monday.
But I have to admit, that when I had made it about half way through the book, I was a little disappointed. Yes, there was art. Yes, there was a sassy main character. Yes, there was a super wealthy, swoon-worthy male. Yes, there was travel to European locales. But there was a certain . . . I don't want to say sexiness, but I think I mean sexiness* . . . that the book was missing for me.
And then I met Visily Romani. He changed the book for me. As soon as that character was introduced, I was glued to the pages. I almost made the girl sitting beside me crawl over me when she needed to go to the restroom because I didn't want to have to put my book down to get up out of my seat. The other turning point for me was the hot chocolate moment. I don't want to spoil it, but when you read it, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. It takes the book in a totally different, deliciously unexpected direction that totally fulfilled the missing sexiness I was looking for.
Like in her Gallagher Girls series, Carter does a great job of keeping her uber-smart, uber-clever, uber-talented teenagers grounded. They're accessible characters that I think real teenagers can relate to on the basest of levels. They hold friendship, family, and loyalty dear, and are willing to support each other through good and bad. They are willing to overcome disputes, forgive freely, and love unconditionally. Although that all sounds like it belongs in a Thomas Kincade painting, it's those types of qualities that make Carter's otherwise too-cool-for-school teens believable. Bonus: she throws in Princess Bride jokes. I really like all things Princess Bride.
Overall, I ended up really enjoying where the story went. It took me a bit to really get invested, but once I was introduced to Visliy Romani and experienced the hot chocolate moment, I was hooked.
Lucky for me, the sequel comes out in less than a month!
*When I say sexiness, I don't mean like lingerie and hot wax. I mean that sleek, James Bond/Sydney Bristow feeling that all spies/thieves need to have. I think it mostly has to do with being smart and making really smart connections between two things.*