Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist SocietyWhen 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. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help. For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history--or at least her family's (very crooked) history.

I've always wanted to be an agent for the CIA, but now I think being one of the best thieves in the world would be even cooler. That's what Kat is - a professional thief, even though she is only 15. Her attempt at a normal life fails when her father's life is threatened by the unscrupulous "art collector" Artur Taccone. What's been stolen must be re-stolen from the most secure museum in Europe, and returned to its (relatively) rightful owner. And Kat is one of the few people in the world who can pull off this particular heist. 

The story was very well-planned out; every move the characters make seems utterly plausible. I could easily imagine Kat and company crisscrossing the globe on a moment's notice, trying to outsmart and outwit both dangerous men and advanced technology.

Kat is a great female character; strong and able to take charge of a situation when necessary, but my favorite character was Hale; rich, smooth talking, well-dressed, and uber-confident without being cocky, Hale is mysterious without being pretentious. Totally swoon-worthy. I also quite liked Gabrielle. Any girl who can pull off a scam in a skirt and heels is a girl after my own heart.

The attraction between Hale and Kat is electrifying; he chose this lifestyle primarily because of her, and it's because of her he stays in it. Hale seems to be just waiting patiently for the day when Kat is ready to see him as more than a partner in crime.

This fast-paced read is like James Bond meets Ocean's Eleven meets Spy Kids...plus a little something that makes it great on its own merit. My only wish is that this book were longer!

Fortunately, Ally Carter has already announced that the as-yet unnamed 2nd installment in the series may be out by summer 2011. There is also talk of a movie in the works, which I would definitely go see!
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