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Book Review: Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society, #3)

Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

Disney Hyperion Books, [2013]

Find this book at your local library

******This review may contain spoilers if you have not read books 1 or 2 of the Heist Society Series.*****

If there is any one book where I could just insert myself into the narrative and partake in all the fun and glory, it would be the Heist Society series by Ally Carter. You can click on the links to read my reviews for books 1 (Heist Society) and 2 (Uncommon Criminals).

Katerina Bishop and her crew are back in yet another heist caper. It’s another high stakes game, but this time its Hale caught in the crossfire after his grandmother passes away. At the start of book 3, Katerina and Hale have finally proclaimed their feelings for another despite their incredibly different upbringing. Katerina in a world of thieves and Hale in a world of luxury. When Hale’s grandmother dies and he is given responsibility of Hale Enterprises, Katerina’s instincts kick in, as she determines that Hale is the mark of a con. Now its up to her and her friends to figure out how to save Hale, without telling him and breaking his heart at the truth.

Just like the previous books, this one is full of wit, teenage angst and frustrations, adventure and mystery. I think of the three, this one is my favorite. They keep getting better and better. The plot never went the way I expected it to. The ending took me by surprise, and all the twists and turns were incredibly fun to keep up with. I think I read this book in an entire weekend, I really didn’t want to put it down. This one definitely delves more into the character development of Hale, and there is a lot of Uncle Eddie. It’s a nice change of pace from the previous Katerina-centric books. Either way, it’s a fun Ocean’s 11 series for teens and adults. My only question is when will we see the movie?

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I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Ally Carter) – Review

I'd tell you I love you, but then I'd have to kill youI’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
Age: 12-16
Genre: Fiction / Spy-School / Chick-lit
Source: Library
Publisher: Hyperion Paperbacks
ISBN: 9781423100041 / 284 pages
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Cameron Morgan is not your typical teenager. She attends the Gallagher Academy, a secret school for child geniuses with spy and covert-ops training as part of the daily routine. The girls speak 14 languages fluently and can even kill a man with an uncooked piece of pasta. During a class exercise in town (Roseville, VA), Cameron (aka Chameleon) is seen by a very cute and normal guy. Although she can speak 14 language, can she act like a normal teenage girl?

I finished Carter’s Heist Society books (Heist Society & Uncommon Criminals) last year, and I really enjoyed both. I had high hopes for this one, because in theory is sounds awesome. In the end, it’s an amusing, quick, fluff read. There were a lot of staid character types (the nerdy heroine, the book smart friend, boy-smart friend, and the muscle-friend). There isn’t much depth given to any of the characters, except Cameron, but even that was in shallow water. Carter was on-key with the portrayal of teens and their crushes on boys and feeling clueless about boys. I love Cam as the narrator. She’s equal parts inquisitive, anxious, confused, and confident when it comes to dealing with boys, juggling school and friends.

Parts of the book reminded me of Harry Potter (secretive boarding school, a headmistress that’s dangerous and yet also Cameron’s mother, deceased parents, etc). I think any kind of secret-life-of-awesome theme is a go for teens and tweens. Still, the entire concept of Gallagher School sounds amazing and nothing like this existed when I was a teen. I would have devoured the series in high school.

This is Carter’s first book, so I guess allowances have to be made. After all, Heist Society is an amazingly fun read. I did notice that a lot of the a character styles in Gallagher Girls did get recycled and upgraded in Heist Society.

I’m curious to see how the next few books turn out. I like the characters and hopefully we’ll learn more about them and see some character development.

Uncommon Criminals (Ally Carter) – Review

Uncommon criminalsUncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Age: YA
Genre: Heist / Fiction
Format: Audio CD
Brilliance Audio, 6 discs (6 hours: 47 minutes)
Hyperion, 2011

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Fifteen year old Katerina Bishop and her crew are back in another high stakes heist adventure in this sequel to Heist Society. This time, its Katerina who has been conned into stealing a precious and rare gem, the reputed cursed Cleopatra emerald. Now, it’s up to Kat and her friends follow the Cleopatra gem around the world, and create a new set of rules in order to get the gem back to its rightful owner.

The sequel to the fantastically amusing Heist Society did not disappoint. This book maintained the same level of witty word-play and globe-trotting luxury, in a world where money is no object and high stake risks are a natural part of life. In this book, we see a lot of character development in Kat. The remaining colorful cast of characters are stationary, static in their same personas as the first novel. Its only in Kat where we really see a change of character. Kat is still clueless about boys, more focused on getting the job done, than about comforting friends and family. She is focused, naive, and highly innovative all at the same time. We see her let down her guard and really start to open up to her family and the idea of having a group of friends that she can trust.

I loved the story progression of this novel more than Heist Society. The twists and turns were equally unexpected, but much more intricate in this book. In this world. Kat and her crew got to invent their own rules, while breaking others, in order to get to the Cleopatra emerald. This book takes place not too long after Heist Society ended, so the characters are still the same ages. This series is fun, and witty. I enjoyed listening to it on audio, all because of Angela Dawe’s fantastic narration. Her accents are flawless, the characters are full of life. It really felt like I was listening to a movie in another room.

Again, I would recommend this for a family road trip, its age appropriate for pretty much all members of the family, although there is more development between the romance of Kat and Hale, but I would still give this book a G-rating.

Book 57 of 2011

READ-A-LIKES

Books like the Heist Society series:

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  1. The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
  2. The White Cat by Holly Black
  3. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  4. Black Taxi by James Maloney

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Heist Society (Ally Carter) – Review

Heist societyHeist Society by Ally Carter
Age: Teen
Genre: Fiction, Heist
Format: Audio Book
Publisher: Brilliance Audio, 2009
5 discs

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Having escaped a life of crime and conning, fifteen year old Katerina Bishop’s final goodbye to the “family business” was to scam her way into one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the country. At the school only a short while, Kat learns that leaving her former life is harder than she’d thought, especially when she’s framed for a school prank that has her expelled from the Colgan School. Reunited with her friend and co-conspirator, Hale, Kat learns that her con-man father has fallen into big trouble, accused of stealing a set of portraits only a master thief could pull off. Now Kat has two weeks to retrieve the paintings and save her father, putting together a crew of her own and creating her own little heist society.

First, I want to say that Angela Dawe is an amazing reader for this audio book. Her youthful voice gave life to the characters, and she was able to alter her tone and accent enough to really infuse each character with their own separate personality and voice. Sometimes, all the characters seem to blur together with certain narrators, but Dawe managed to keep them all unique and apart in this Ocean’s Eleven for Teenagers.

I listened to this book on audio, which was a really fun way to get into the story. I think this is an audio book that the whole family can really enjoy during long road-trips. There is a lot of globe-trotting: Paris to London, to Austria to Paris. There is a lot of wealth, and bling and talk of wealth and bling and pretty people to round it out. Despite all the wealth in this book, Kat remained a character that is strong yet vulnerable, insecure, but clever. I found her to be a fantastic lead character, able to put together one of the youngest heist crews to attempt to pull off one of the greatest heist of their generation.

As a teen novel, there is the pre-requisite love triangle, and unrequited love plot-line, as well as the make-up of Kat’s crew. The pretty one (cousin Gabrielle), the dashing billionaire (Hale), the nerdy techie (cousin Simon) the loose cannons (the Bradshaw brothers), and the new addition (Nick).

The story was easy to follow, very quick-paced. The dialogue is sharp, witty, although sometimes the kids sounded much older than their fifteen years. But then again, when you’ve been casing the Louvre at age three, and stealing the crown jewels of Austria at age seven, there isn’t much room to idly chew gum and flip through fashion magazines.

Overall, I found this to be a really enjoyable book, Carter’s writing is witty, youthful and brilliantly composed.

Book 51 of 2011

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