Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list,where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Support Teen LiteratureDay during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year. Each day during the month of May, The Hub will feature a post about Teens’ Top Ten. Be sure to check in daily as we visit past winners and current nominees!
Fifteen year old Katarina Bishop – Kat – has left the family business behind. Getting herself enrolled in the prestigious Colgan boarding school is supposed to be her last con. But just three months into the school year, she’s being blamed for a crime she didn’t commit and kicked out of school. That’s when Hale, her old friend and co-conspirator shows up with bad news: some very valuable paintings have been stolen from a shady Italian business man called Arturo Taccone. Kat’s dad is the prime suspect, and Taccone will stop at nothing to get his paintings returned. Unfortunately, Kat’s dad is under heavy Interpol surveillance, so Kat’s left with no choice. She must assemble a crew and reach into her bag of thieves’ tricks to find and return Taccone’s paintings before Taccone gets to her dad.
Heist Society was a 2010 Teens’ Top Ten pick, and it’s easy to see what teens like about it. It’s pure fun, a fast-paced, witty caper with a cast of charming and likable characters, including Kat’s beautiful cousin Gabrielle, playboy-lite Hale, a computer whiz named Simon and a pair of demolition-specialist twins. Thanks to Hale’s endlessly deep pockets, Kat and her team of fellow thieves and con artists do plenty of jet-setting travel and use elaborate spy gadgets, for which Carter provides detailed descriptions. The coming-of-age aspect of the story and Kat’s complicated relationships with her family, the business, and the rather dreamy Hale give Heist Society a surprising amount of emotional heft without bogging it down.
Reader Angela Dawes does an excellent job with all of the characters, capturing Kat’s wry tone, her cousin Gabrielle’s polished flirt, and Arturo Taccone’s threatening calm. The audiobook also benefits from a number of nice touches make for smooth listening. Music signals the end of each disk, and a few sentences from the previous disk are repeated at the beginning of the subsequent one, so there’s no difficulty remember what’s going on, and you know right away if you’ve put in the wrong disk.
–Emily Calkins, reading Sweethearts by Sarah Zarr
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