Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter [Review]

Plot Sketch: You know Kat, always trying to get herself into trouble.  In this follow-up to Heist Society, she's back at it again, this time, in a pickle finding herself stuck between family members, those who would do her harm, and the Cleopatra Emerald.  You remember, right? The twin to the Mark Antony Emerald that hasn't been seen in thirty years?  See if she can pull off the con without getting caught.

Verdict:  While I thought Heist Society was pretty pedestrian, I did say that I wanted to read Uncommon Criminals solely for the fact that I couldn't stop thinking about Hale. *swoon*  I finally got around to this one on a rainy afternoon in Africa.  You know, I flew through this and while it is no masterpiece, I'd say it should rate at least a full star higher than Heist Society.  Why?  The plot was more coherent, flowed better, and the characters stayed true to themselves throughout the book.  They weren't predictable, I didn't figure it out before the end of the book, and quite frankly, it was super enjoyable.

Also, I really appreciate that Ally's books are clean.  They still have the romantic tension that all of us adult YA readers want, but they don't go into excruciating details that make us feel dirty.  The language is fairly neutral and I wouldn't hesitate reccing this to someone at church.  As I sit here at home in my family room (listening to the neighbors sing karaoke in Spanish) just the thought of Kat and her adventures helps me to escape my current situation and makes me happy.

For an escapist contemporary piece, Uncommon Criminals was surprisingly quotable, including the graphic I made, there were two others that stood out to me:

"Civilization is not made out of sand - it's out of blood."

"Asking a good thief to stop thinking would be like asking a shark to stop swimming."

Have you read this one yet?  Do you love it?  Did you hate it?  Who is YOUR favorite?  Dish.  I'd like to hear.

Also, a side note, I went to see Ally in Wichita last March.  The bookstore was packed.  PACKED!  I don't think I've ever seen a single YA author bring a bigger crowd.  Standing room only.  And the signing line seemed to go on forever.  Even though I was at the rear of the line, when I got to the front (after listening to hilarious stories about Ally's last tour with Rachel Hawkins), she was delightful and funny and kind.  Don't get me wrong.  Most YA authors are usually kind.  But Ally superseded all the other experiences I've had at signings (which are numerous) with her patience and just plain awesome.  If you get the chance to see her in person, do it.  It was a delightfully fun treat.

And with that disgustingly gooshy paragraph (I guess you could call me an Ally Carter fangirl after that, right?  gross.), here's the trailer for Uncommon Criminals: