Ally Carter’s Heist Society is narrated by Katarina Bishop, a fifteen year-old girl raised in a family of art thieves who has recently left them behind in order to scam herself into a prestigious prep school in an attempt for a normal life. But when her father is framed for the theft of the art collection of a very very angry businessman, she’s got to bring together a team to steal the paintings back and save her dad. Masterminding a heist in one of London’s most-secure museums with a motely crew of teenagers? No prob. In fourteen days? Check. Keeping her father safe, her eye on the prize, and her friends out of jail? Done.
This book is aimed at the Gossip Girl crowd, but instead of a scandalous world of vanity and debauchery, Kat and her friends are intelligent, well-meaning, and well-versed in classical antiquities and high culture. The focus here is on outsmarting, not out-drinking. And while she is conveniently backed by her billionaire best friend Hale, Kat is the mastermind. Her father doesn’t think she can do it, her great-uncle doesn’t think she can do it, the unsuspecting authorities certainly don’t think she can do it. After all, what can a bunch of teenagers really accomplish? This is Kat’s coup de grace – she may be young, but she successfully handles a job passed over by experienced adults, and doesn’t even gloat!
And while Kat may distracted by Hale’s good looks, charm, and clear devotion to her, she doesn’t spend the whole book mooning over him. Kat never loses sight of the goal, and while what she does isn’t exactly legal, she does have a strict moral code that distances her from the greed and adrenaline of the con life. And most interestingly, she just wants a normal life. The glamour isn’t what she wants: her priorities are family, friends, and getting her own life.
This book delivers excitement, a glimpse into a wealthy world that 99% of us will never reach, and humor, pretty solidly packaged. It is aimed at middle-grade readers, and will definitely spark your interest in fine art and make you want to watch The Italian Job. A great alternative to the trashy high society YA dramas, I vote in favor of Heist Society instead!