Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Contemporary Summer: Review of Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society (Heist Society #1) by Ally Carter
Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: September 1st 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Note: I own the US version of this book, but have included information about the UK release.

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. But now her dad's life is on the line, and Kat must go back to the world she tried so hard to escape... (from Goodreads)

There’s something about reading a book about teenage thieves taking on a heist like no other that sort of makes you feel like you can do anything.

Kat Bishop is determined to leave the family business. After pulling off the biggest con’s she’s ever done alone to work her way into the best boarding school in the country, Kat’s life is almost normal, and her thieving days seem to be behind her. Until suddenly she’s pulled back into the world she’s so desperately trying to forget. Priceless paintings have been stolen from a man who doesn’t react well to being cheated out of property, and unless Kat can find the paintings and return them, her father is in serious danger. With the help of Hale, her former colleague, and some other family members and friends, Kat has to prepare for the heist of her life – because if she fails, no lie, con or cheat is going to save her.

Kat was the kind of character I’d love to be for a day. She was the best junior thief around, and had awesome skills and sharp wit that made her both badass, yet really likeable. Her life was so complicated and bizarre that it just made me want to experience it for a while – how odd must it be to go home and look over blueprints as a kind of form of family entertainment? Kat was also struggling with the fact that she wanted to be a normal teen, yet was finding it hard to stay away from the life she’d grown up with. The art of thievery had been ingrained into her from a young age, and that wasn’t something that just went away. She could be funny and serious, calm and panicky, and it was great to see how she was both a talented con artist and yet still just a teen struggling through life at the same time. The whole concept was just awesome – I mean, who wouldn’t want to read about teenage thieves? – and I loved the way family was presented and how Kat felt so bonded and yet so removed from them at the same time. In fact, I wish we could have seen a bit more of the family dynamic! I would have loved to have known how all of this got started.

Hale was the most curious of characters. I wish we were told how exactly he and Kat first met and how he got involved with her family, because the curiosity was actually killing me. He was so mysterious (Kat still didn’t even know his first name, after two years) yet he was also so familiar, and was one of the only people Kat could trust completely. They had this like, unspoken agreement between them that said “I’ve always got your back.” And Hale did seem to really care about Kat. The chemistry between them, wow! Not exactly in your face, but it was there, and subtle, like a Bunsen burner with low gas turned on to a roaring blue flame  - not as visible as the yellow one, but burning even stronger (I apologise for this terrible analogy. I was just reminded of my old Chemistry days back in secondary school ;]). He was also just so...I don’t know! Collected. He knew what he wanted. He’d set out to get it. There was something inherently attractive about his personality, and I could understand why Kat felt so drawn to him (besides his obvious good looks, of course).

The minor characters were all great, and I especially liked Angus and Hamish, who were also in the conning business. I liked how they got on with Kat, and they were quite hilarious and generally really fun, getting up to all sorts of antics.

Plot-wise, I really enjoyed the way this story went. From Kat finding out about her father, to planning the heist, to going out and doing it – everything was put together carefully and it was awesome to read about! I liked how everything was connected, the mystery behind the elusive Romani, the unsuspecting civilians that all played an important part and how nothing was a clear-cut as it seemed.  In fact – I wanted more! A few more pages with more details and more background about characters would have fascinated me even more, but that could just be me and my curious nature :P.

Overall, Heist Society was a really fun, entertaining read with a great concept that I think a lot of people would enjoy. If you like Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series, definitely read this – otherwise, recommended to all fans of YA!
Contemporary Summer co-host Cait has also posted her review of Heist Society today! Check it out on her blog. And don't forget to enter our giveaways (where you can win a set of Ally Carter books, including Heist Society) and to nominate your favourite YA contemps here.


  1. They met when Kat tried to steal Hale's Monet ;) Awesome review, I love the relationship between Kat and Hale so much...one day we will know his name. ONE DAY. The plot was so awesome, I loved how you were never really sure whether they'd pull it off or not...

  2. Great review! I remember not liking this book when it came out and I didn't finish it. But then I eventually picked it up again and ended up loving it . . . so glad to hear you loved it too.

  3. I love that there is a balanced mix of badass thief and normal teenager with everyday problems. I'm really excited to see how these two parts of her life co-exist. AHHH the chemistry! Hale! Kat! I just read Cait's review and she mentioned Adrian and um... yeah. Brodie already liking him :D GUH. You girls. Seriously. Thanks to you both I just want to rush to my room and flick through my copy :P

    Plus mystery? Nothing as clear-cut as it seems? MAKES YOU WANT MORE?!

    How the hell / why the hell have I waited this long to read? Sigh. FANTASTIC REVIEW!

  4. i loved this book & the sequel and I cannot wait for the next! i think i need to start reading the gallagher girls, too. great review! ~dixie

  5. This is the only book I have read by Ally so far but I'm starting to think I need to continue on with this series and read her other books.

    Thanks for the great review I can't wait to see what else you have planned for this event which I completely spaced on!

  6. I've only read this one in the series and it was awhile ago but I still remember Hale. So dreamy! My favorite thing was the plot. I love caper type stories!


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