Review posted May 18, 2012.
Disney Hyperion Books, New York, 2010. 287 pages.
When I was a kid, I avidly watched It Takes a Thief. This book reminded me of that show, but this time it's a group of teenagers pulling off a nearly impossible heist. I also love that a teenage girl is the star.
And they manage to deal with the readers' sense of ethics: They have to do this theft to save Kat's father. And it's really stealing back, not stealing.
As the book begins, Kat has tried to leave "the life," the family business of stealing. She has conned her way into the Colgan School, and plans to put thievery behind her.
But then her handsome and rich friend Hale frames her for a prank against the headmaster, and Kat gets kicked out. Hale informs her that he needs her help. Her father is in danger, because he's been framed for stealing five Old Masters from a very evil man. That man wants his paintings back.
The catch is that Kat's father did not actually steal them. (He was doing another job at the time.) So Kat has two weeks to assemble a crew, find the paintings, and steal them back.
This book is simply good fun. The way the group of teens pull off the heist is brilliant, clever, and plausible. (The author invented a fictional museum, so it's not like she's giving directions for a heist like this.) I do love the solution at the end, and there's plenty of danger along the way. I'm also kind of happy I took so long to read the original book, because now I can right away get hold of the next book, Uncommon Criminals, to find out what Kat's up to next.