Monday, August 18, 2008

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott

Dani and her mom are professional thieves. They’ll come into your home, disable your alarm, pet your guard dog, and steal your silver. They’ve got no other family, no other connections, and no steady home since they live a nomadic life going from town to town robbing the wealthy of their heirlooms. But when they stop in the town of Heaven, Dani finds there are things she may want more than money. Things like being able to use her actual name and not go by an ever changing stream of aliases. Or things like an actual friend. Or even dare she dream, an actual boyfriend.

Of course, she can’t tell her mother any of this. Not that she’s been having second thoughts about the life they live. Not that she’s accidentally become friends with the girl whose house they’re planning on robbing. Not that she’s met a cute guy and told him her real name. And certainly not that she’s gone on a date with said guy…who turns out to be a cop. Life, without a doubt, has gotten more complicated.

Stealing Heaven is a coming of age story with a twist and is a quick, fun, engrossing read. Teens will love reading about her thieving escapades, the nonchalant way she mentions how they go about robbing houses. However, they will quickly realize that even if you get away with the crime, this life is not as glamorous as one might think. Sure Dani can buy the coolest, most expensive clothes available - but she’s never even had a friend. In fact, she rarely talks to anyone beside her mother. It is a lonely existence where Dani’s true wants and needs are never met.

Sometimes Dani’s internal struggle about her decisions is a bit overwrought. Occasionally you may want to hit her over the head with a frying pan because she makes what is obviously the wrong decision yet again. And you’ll be forgiven if you happen to wonder what Greg, the cop, sees in her since she is always so rude. However, I truly believe that it's because I am an adult that I felt this way. In fact, I’m not sure teens would even notice. All in all Dani is a very likable character and this is a well written story that has very wide appeal.

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