Noticing a theme here, are we? 😉
For the next of my heist research novels, I turned to (what else?) YA. When writing UTROL earlier in the year, I briefly debated knocking ten years off everyone’s ages, but there’s far too much suspension of disbelief that would need to take place for that to read in any realistic format.
Like The Heist, it took me a sold two efforts to get into the book — as in, I put the book down for over a month — something that really surprised me. Because really, the hook of any heist should be something of a page turner. Especially in the YA genre. In this instance Kat (Katerina Bishop) comes from a family of n’er do wells, who have been conning and running schemes for years (it’s mentioned she was on a job when she was 5, which seems like very poor parenting). Everyone needs an origin story, but we only get bits and pieces of Kat’s before she leaves the school she’s attending (where she escaped to get away from a life of crime).
Things I liked? Go big or go home. Why shouldn’t there be a teen with more or less unlimited wealth? Why shouldn’t 15 year olds regularly interact with grown men and crime bosses without hesitation? Why can’t a group of kids knock off a major museum? Why wouldn’t they visit (what felt like) 17 countries in a week? Who needs adult supervision? Ahem. In reality, there were a few terms and ideas I picked up for UTROL, and I loved how the group had chemistry, and lots of inside jokes/events that we, as the audience, are never given any further details on. Character development was a bit meh, but there were plenty of fun moments, even if the pacing at the start was a bit difficult to get into. Similar to Ocean’s 11, what works is that we know no one will be killed. This is a heist with high stakes, but not everything on the line. I have threats in my own manuscript, but as of now (spoiler alert), I’m keeping everyone alive.
Stuff that needs work? $7.99 feels high for a book that can be read in one or two sittings (even if it took me 9 or 10). $4.99 feels much more in line. Within the book itself, the ‘twist’ was one I saw coming a mile away — and was based on a decision that felt WILDLY out of character for our protagonist. Also, as mentioned above, there is simply a bit to much suspension of disbelief to really ground the book. Ms. Carter, I think you could’ve done better. Given the feedback on Amazon/Goodreads, I seem to be in the minority, with most readers enjoying the novel.
Unfortunately, while there are other books in the series, given their price point, I’m not in any particular hurry to pick them up. I like Kat as a protagonist, but I’m not really invested in her life. Damn not having a library.
Have you read the series? What do you think?