Book Reviews

[review] Perfect Scoundrels – Ally Carter

perfect scoundrels coverRelease Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 328
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased copy

Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting–or stealing–whatever they want. No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line.

When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. So instead of being the heir–this time, Hale might be the mark.

Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she’s willing to save her boyfriend’s company if it means losing the boy.

Tell Me More: It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Heist Society series is one of my favourite things to come out of YA fiction. Kat Bishop is a heroine that goes unnoticed in her own story, and she relies on exactly that to pull off feats that no one assumes a sixteen-year-old girl could, to their detriment. It’s precisely that trait that I admire most about Kat, and it’s what keeps me reading this fantastic series.

In Perfect Scoundrels, Kat finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between her loyalty towards Hale and her instincts. Kat’s experience leads her to suspect that something might be wrong with the will presented to the Hale family, but she must tread carefully to expose it, or risk alienating Hale completely. While the heist part of the story might be formulaic to readers who have followed the series faithfully, Carter still manages to pull off enough surprises to keep that plotline from being boring.

What I found most interesting was Kat’s exploration of who she was in relation to the people around her. Hale was her partner before he ever became her boyfriend, and it was fascinating to see how she deals with seeing him in his “true” environment, as a heir to a wealthy and influential family. Hale’s avoidance of the subject added to the mystery of his family, so seeing them as real, flawed people only made the story more compelling. Readers will have spent two books siding with Hale, understanding and liking him, so naturally, no one wants to be told that Hale was wrong. But Carter is a better writer than that. She illustrates the nuances of Hale’s family and the world they occupy without sinking into stereotypes. They become people that we recognize not only around us, but in ourselves. We are all selfish sometimes, we are all oblivious sometimes, we all find ourselves at a loss sometimes, and Carter doesn’t impose judgment on her characters or their choices.

Kat’s “family” of choice has always been a highlight of this series, and they serve as a foil to Hale’s family of blood. In my interview with Carter, we talked briefly about how for many people, their family are their friends, and while they might not be related genetically, the bonds forged are often stronger because each person made the choice to stay and support each other. Carter presents that idea in Perfect Scoundrels by showing how Kat’s friends trust her to know what she’s doing even when they don’t understand it or her motivations. Certainly, no family is ideal, and there are arguments and fights and sometimes you have to give up on a battle. But if there’s one thing Perfect Scoundrels is, it’s true to the idea that your family are the people you take the biggest risks for, including maybe even losing their love to help them.

The Final Say: The third installment of the Heist Society series is as intriguing and surprising as the previous novels, bringing heart and honesty to Kat’s story. Perfect Scoundrels proves that this is a series teenagers and adults alike should be picking up.

56224About Ally

Ally Carter is a writer living and working in the Midwest. She loved school so much she kept going…and going…and going…until finally she had to graduate. Now she has degrees from Oklahoma State University and Cornell University and a house and a job and other very grown-up things.

Add Perfect Scoundrels on Goodreads | Follow Ally on Twitter @OfficiallyAlly | Visit Ally’s website

Order Perfect Scoundrels from Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters

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