This book, Heist Society, is written by Ally Carter and was published in 2010. Ally Carter is an American author of young-adult fiction and adult-fiction novels, and this is her pen name. Her real name is Sarah Leigh Fogleman. She chose this pen name to separate those books from her other work, so “Ally Carter” is a name that was created only for her young adult novels. It’s shorter, and more memorable, it gives people a sense of intimacy even before they start reading the books.
It all started with a teenage girl, Katarina Bishop, got kicked out of a school for a prank she didn’t commit. She found out later that she was framed by her best friend, Hale, a mysterious handsome and extremely wealthy boy whose first name remained unknown even for Katarina. Hale did that in order to bring a message to her, he told her that a really bad guy called Arturo Taccone was looking for her father because he thought her father had stolen his precious paintings. Later, Katarina learned about that her father did not do it, and she tried to convince Taccone but failed. The Bishop family was quite different -- it was a family full of thieves. Although Katarina just want to be a normal girl, she had to find out who really stole those paintings and get them back, or Taccone would hurt her father. She started investigating the thief, and found a name, Visily Romani, and it turned out to be a sacred fake name for thieves, just like Robin Hood. Her uncle asked her to give up, but she didn’t, and her friends didn’t as well, they backed her up and decided to help her. Romani seemed like he was leaving trails on purpose and he led them to the Henley, a high-security museum in London that had never been robbed before. Katarina and her friends made plans and they successfully “re-stole” four paintings, but one was missing. Then she made a risky decision. Taccone was arrested at last because she tricked him into a trap, and the paintings were returned to where they really belonged. In the end, she realized that all they had done were actually part of Romani’s plan -- he just wanted those paintings that were robbed by Nazi during the World WarⅡto go home.
Making kids feel that stealing things is quite cool is not the author’s intention, still, this book’s title can be easily misunderstood. Parents or teachers may disapprove even before they open the book, and the young readers will miss a joyful and intense reading experience because of it. However, the cute cover of this book seems solve this problem.
In my opinion, what is really important is not the word “Heist” but “Society”. The author said: “This is a book about family.” in the ACKNOWLEDGMENT at the end of the book, but I think it’s not enough, there is more in there, not only about family but “Society”. Katarina tried to leave her family at first -- she wanted to be a normal girl instead of a thief so she went to Colgan School. However, no matter how hard she tried, she would never fit in, because she was simply not...