Tag Archives: Teen books

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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Little Brother (Cory Doctorow) – Review

Little brotherLittle Brother by Cory Doctorow
Age: Teen
Genre: Dystopia/Technology
Source: Public Library
Publisher: Tor, 2008
ISBN 9780765319852
382 pages
 
 
 
While cutting school one day, Marcus Yallow and his friends witness the terrorist bombing of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. In the hustle to find a safe place to hide, one of Marcus’ friends, Darryl is stabbed and badly injured. When Marcus reaches out to a federal law enforcement unit for help, he and his friends are swiftly arrested and held as potential terrorists in the eyes of homeland security, interrogated for a number of days. After his release, Marcus decides to take the law into his own hands to try to win back San Francisco as a free city with his teenage hacker skills and intricate knowledge of technology.

 

I think this is a book that many teens will definitely enjoy.  It speaks to the disaffected youth that are frustrated with authority figures, frustrated with the way the government is headed and frustrated with being forced into following rules that they have no way of contesting. I found the story to be captivating, although I am a bit biased because the book does take place in San Francisco. I have to say, it was quite eerie walking under the Bay Bridge in San Francisco only two days after having finished this book. I could really picture Doctorow’s narrative come to life walking along the Embarcadero.

Marcus is a curious character. He stumbles, he’s selfish, he’s selfless and his determination to bring down Homeland Security is something of a marvel. He is a typical teen, full of knowledge of technology and how to hack systems that most adults don’t even know about. Doctorow does a wonderful job of blurring the lines between technology in use now, and technology that hasn’t been created yet.

Doctorow knows his technology and he doesn’t mind sharing his knowledge with you. There are quite a few moments of detailed hows, why’s and what’s on various technological jargon that slowed the story considerably. Although it is interesting to a point, I did feel like some of it was just filler. I was also bothered by the severe gap between good and evil. There was no middle ground really. It was teens versus adults. The bad guys were really horrible and the good guys were just a touch smarter and much younger.

This book should definitely be read in conjunction with Brave New World, 1984, Animal Farm, etc. Doctorow weaves in references to these books as well as to current events in the US since 9/11.

Book 28 of 2011

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Library Loot!

I’ve decided to get myself out of my reading funk by splurging on some YA books at the library, but going to the library is like going to Costco. You go in for 1 thing and leave with 20 others…

This week’s installment of Library includes:

The Uglies – Scott Westerfeld

The Gospel According to Larry – Janet Tashjian

What I Call Life – Jill Wolfson

Toe-Up Techniques – Janet Rehfelt

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith