Heist Society, by Ally Carter (Hyperion, 2010)

Just when Katarina Bishop thought she was out of the family business for good, she gets dragged back in, kicking and screaming. See, she comes from an extended family of thieves, con artists, and grifters, and trouble is in the blood. So when her father lands in hot water, framed for a job he didn’t do and targeted by the guy he supposedly hit, Kat gets reeled back in to save the day.

The job is impossible: Find out who stole a set of priceless paintings, and how, steal them back and return them to their uncompromising owner, and do it in two weeks. If Kat fails, her father’s toast. What’s a fifteen-year-old thief to do? Simple: recruit her friends for the caper of a lifetime. Of course, her friends are security experts, masters of disguise, and capable of just about anything. With her team in place, Kat embarks on a globe-trotting adventure, one which places her up against fellow criminals and Interpol, and sets her on the road to greatness. Can she outplay whoever’s masterminding the situation?

Fast-paced and clever, Heist Society is a classic caper, featuring all of the proper elements: snappy dialogue, intricate plans, frequent double-crossing, and high stakes. It may not be entirely realistic, but it’s a whole heap of fun watching Kat and the others sneak past security, outwit the opposition, turn the tables on their enemies, and challenge expectations. It’s Ocean’s 11 for the teenage set, and thematically, it fits in well with Carter’s other series about spies-in-training. This book won’t change the world, but it’s well worth checking out for the entertainment value.

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