For my next trick, I plucked a selection from the shelf of bought-it-and-never-read-it.
How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller.
This is another leftover from the Sister Book Club. Tip: Never start a reading regiment with a teenage girl in her senior year of high school during prom season. Who knew she wouldn’t have time for excess literature? Me, apparently.
In all honesty, had I made the connection that this author was responsible for The Eternal Ones, I would not have read this book. I just really hated that novel so much. You can read about it here. But maybe that lack of knowledge was a good thing. At least Kirsten Miller got the opportunity to redeem herself. And she did. Sort of. This book was filled with a lot of sort of’s.
Meet the (sort of) anti-hero. He’s innately good, but inherently bad, his shifts in personality hard to follow at times. In keeping with the true spirit of YA, he’s a moderately attractive teenager with mommy/daddy issues. His name is Flick, so throughout this reading the picture in my mind shifted between a young Josh Hartnett (I’m a 90’s kid) and this guy…
Also enter the (sort of) love interest, Joi. Not Joy. Jo-E. She’s the Brazilian beauty with a passion for empathy and a contradictory penchant for destruction. She also has mad nursing skills, which come in handy later on. Flick can’t help but to love her. But he isn’t capable of loving her. He can have no one but her. Except for the time he has someone else. But it wasn’t his fault! Really! He had no choice! (Insert perfectly illogical juvenile explanation here.)
Now here comes the imposing (sort of) bad guy, Mandel. His family has been perfecting an evil empire for generations by educating and employing the most powerful people in the world. This impeccably controlled social experiment has been going on for decades without a hitch, but don’t worry, it can still probably be thwarted by a pack of rowdy teenagers.
Then there’s the trusty (sort of) minions to Mandel, the Wolves. They’re the easily manipulated, but entirely rebellious lackeys behind the whole Mandel scheme. They can hack computers, steal identities, commit atrocities, and ace their rigorous prep courses, yet they can’t figure out they’re getting played.
Don’t forget, Gwendolyn, the (sort of) leader of the wolf pack and happy home-wrecker to the Flo-E pubescent paradise. She’s a brilliant mastermind psychopath with enough gumption to decapitate a fellow student, but still be defeated by rejection in a high school popularity contest.
Just for the sake of keeping this blog interesting, I’m exaggerating these elements. Overall, I liked this book and there are plenty of things to like. It had interesting characters and an okay plot. It incorporates some great ideas from J.M. Barrie’s world of Neverland to piece together a pretty fun backstory. I enjoyed the first half of this book much more than the last because the building of the story was really well done. And the idea of a training ground for carefully placed criminals in all facets of business and politics was so intriguing that I find it more difficult to believe this doesn’t actually exist. Maybe an association with this place is the real reason Trump won’t show us his tax returns.
I’m not much one for conspiracy theories. I’m just saying with nearly 2,000 empty seats still available, if Kirsten Miller ends up on the list of White House nominations we’ll know something’s up.
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