Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.
Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Razorbill and Netgalley.)
Flick has lived on the streets for a few years. He hates his father, and his brother is dead, so he’s on his own.
Flick lives by stealing – wallets, mobile phones etc, and the only person he can call a friend is a girl called Joi (pronounced Joey), who unofficially runs a basement safe place for kids who are on the streets.
When Flick is approached by a man in a posh car and asked to do a job for him for $500, he agrees, and sets about breaking into an apartment building and stealing the documents the man wants. The man then offers him a place at the ‘Mandel’ academy, a posh school in Manhattan, who his father is actually on the board of directors for. But this academy is no ordinary school, at Mandel they teach you how to commit crimes.
Does Flick really want to join the academy? Would he be better off on the streets? And what exactly is he letting himself in for if he does decide to join?
Apologies to the author, but this book was just dull. I mean I actually found myself falling asleep in places.
Firstly we have the massive info dumps. Flick gets these huge lectures from the headmaster at the academy, and we have to sit through them. Lengthy history lessons about how the academy came about, what the point is, the different majors you can take, etc. Way too much information in way too short a period of time. I really did not find this interesting at all.
The characters were also pretty dull, and I really didn’t feel anything for any of them. Flick was okay, Joi was just pretty meh, and I couldn’t even bring myself to hate the ‘bad’ characters; they were all just a bit nothingness to me.
I’ve read reviews that have compared this book to Harry Potter, and The Hunger Games. I’m sorry, but to me this was like neither. You could say that it was like Harry Potter in that Flick attends a new school, but that’s about as far as the comparison goes, and The Hunger Games? There is more excitement in the first chapter of The Hunger Games than in the whole of this book.
Whether I just didn’t find the story interesting, and that is why I found it so boring, I don’t know – it’s quite possible, but if I don’t find it interesting, I can only assume that other people wouldn’t find it interesting either. I really can’t recommend this book, I’m sure somebody would enjoy this, but it just bored the pants off of me.
4 out of 10.
'How to Lead a Life of Crime' will be released on February 21st 2013.
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