Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What we're reading: Sequels

I'm trying to catch up on my teen reading, which includes grabbing the sequels to things I read awhile back. This week's selection was Perfect Scoundrels, a Heist Society novel by Ally Carter. When I got partway into the book, I realized that this is the third in the series, and that I had read the first (Heist Society) but not the second (Uncommon Criminals); but aside from a few cryptic references to events in book two, I can attest that book three can perfectly well be read without having read book two, although if you haven't read book one, you will be completely lost!

Kat Bishop is still hanging with her gang of cons, criminals and thieves known as the Bishop family--an extended family group, some of whom are completely unrelated, but all of whom come through for each other no matter what. But in this book, one of her adopted family members--her boyfriend, W. W. Hale the Fifth--is in trouble, and unlike Kat's family of criminal masterminds, Hale's real family is only there for him in a severely limited way, and all bets are off when it comes to money. Hale's grandmother has died, and in a surprise move, she has made him (not his father, IV, or any of the other grownup relatives) the heir to her billion-dollar company. Since he's a minor, however, there is a trustee until he comes of age; and the naming of the Hale family lawyer, Garrett, for this job sends up red flags with those who knew Hazel Hale the best. Marcus, Hale's loyal chauffeur, hires Kat to find out whether there's been monkey business with the will, and thus starts a convoluted tale of plots, feints, betrayals, and con jobs, only this time it's both sides trying to con each other!

I enjoyed this book, even though it's all pretty unbelievable--or maybe because of that, it's great escapist fiction. Carter specializes in young heroines who aren't what they seem (she also wrote the Gallagher Girls series, beginning with I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, in which the protagonist goes to a private girls' school for spies), and surrounds them with friends and family you'd like to have for your own. There is mystery and intrigue, the relationship between Kat and Hale is sweet (though somewhat fraught in this book), and there's the obligatory twist at the end that keeps you guessing. It's a fun, light, weekend read--check it out!

Great news for fans of both of Carter's series: She has written a crossover Heist Society/Gallagher Girls novella, called Double Crossed, and it's available FREE for e-readers here. There are also a bunch of cool trailers there for her other books, if you like to watch those.

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