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4.5 out of 5 stars
Heist Society: Heist Society
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2011
There's something really engaging about stories where the heroes are the bad guys. I especially love heist films and thought something like that could never work in a book but oh how wrong I was! Ally Carter has taken a heist plotline and made me even happier by adding one brilliant element - a female lead.

Heist Society is not exactly a serious story, but then life would be pretty dull if it was full of worthy books. Kat is a fantastic heroine: feisty, intelligent, cool, independent, strong... If I was ever to turn to crime, Kat would be my role model. I always thought bad guys make the best characters and this book is stuffed full of them. The story hits you from the first page, there's no hanging around getting to know everyone and their surroundings, you're just whipped off into an engaging tale and I really love this as it's fast-paced and keeps you on your toes - just like the life of your average crime family really.

This story is reminiscent of Gone In Sixty Seconds, only with paintings and teenagers. The relationship between Kat and her father is really interesting, she's the only one motivated to help him despite the fact that she doesn't owe him anything, in fact he already owes her a lot. I love the way the roles reverse and Kat's mission in this book is to protect her father, although he doesn't really deserve it. She is the one to take control of the situation, despite being a young and relatively inexperienced member of the family and that's what makes her such an engaging character.

As the story progresses, you start to get the feeling that you're not aware of everything that's going on. This is the element I thought wasn't possible in a book as obviously you have to hide the final clever plan of the heist or there's no real brilliant ending. It's harder to hide things from the reader than it is from a viewer in a film because the reader is far more involved with the characters, looking at what is happening through their eyes rather than as an external observer. Ally Carter has really mastered the skill of disclosing only so much to a reader but at the same making the reader feel like they know exactly what is going on. Then, when you get the end and you think you've figured out what's going to happen, everything turns out differently and far more cleverly than you thought. It's genius! The plot that you thought was so simple becomes nested within layers of complexity that keeps you guessing right to the last page.

This is definitely one of those books to have on hand if you want something light-hearted yet clever, with fiery characters and a fast-paced plot. I will definitely be reading more Ally Carter in the future!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Kat used to lead a life of danger before she pulled her biggest con ever and walked away from a life of thievery to attend boarding school. Her enrollment lasts a few months before her old life comes crashing in on her and her plans.

She's framed for a prank she didn't commit, but that will nonetheless result in her expulsion from school. Quickly she realizes this dismissal is the work of an old family friend. He's here to tell her that her master thief father needs her help.

Turns out her father's been set up, too. Only the consequences are nowhere near as soft as being kicked out of boarding school.

Kat secretly meets her father's deadly enemy and works out a deal. She has two weeks to find the paintings and steal them back. If successful, it will be the biggest job she'll ever pull off - and also the most dangerous. Can she do it?

I adore THE GALLAGHER GIRLS series, but this new series may be even better. HEIST SOCIETY is my new favorite book. The combination of finding the art, the major heist, saving a relative, and going against the family makes for a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat read.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2012
I am a big fan of the gallagher girls series and when this came out I was dubious. But it failed to disapoint- with a nice good guy bad guy twist and great characters. However the one thing that was a BIG negative was that unlike gallagher girls I wasn't enthralled in reading it, I enjoyed reding it but wasn't reading it in every spare minute or late into the night. I know I'm being critical but also I found that in gallagher girls there was always the hint of possibility that it could be real, whereas in heist society it just didn't make that connection.
But in terms of the story itself- amazing
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Katarina Bishop grew up with master thieves and spent her childhood participating in spectacular and daring robberies. But when she turned 15, she turned her back on criminality in favour of getting a good education and bluffs herself into the exclusive Colgan School only to be expelled after a few months, when someone frames her for putting the headmaster's prized antique Porsche on top of a fountain.

Her old friend Hale (the only son of a very rich US family, who doubles as a thief) admits responsibility because he needs her help. Her dad's been set up for the theft of paintings from a very powerful, very dangerous criminal boss called Arturo Taccone. Taccone wants his pictures back. Unless Kat gets them within 14 days, Taccone will take measures against Kat's father.

Kat now has 2 weeks to re-enter the life she thought she'd left behind, assemble a team, identify who really stole the paintings, find out where they are and then steal them back. How hard can it be?

Ally Carter's YA novel, the first in a new series, is a charming, thrilling, frothy crime romp - OCEAN'S ELEVEN meets THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR for teens.

Kat's a dynamic and interesting character. Her mother died when she was young and although she loves her father, the two aren't emotionally close. Her determination and the way she has to re-navigate the criminal world are well drawn (although the criminal road's perhaps a little too romantically depicted with its codes of honour and behaviour). I'm not a romance fan but her relationship with Hale is complex and the will they/won't they element didn't grate, even with the introduction of the slick Nick as a rival for Kat's affections.

The story rockets along, jumping from glamorous location to glamorous location as Kat and her crew track down clues and make plans and the time limit posed by Taccone gives a nice sense of urgency. There's also plenty of humour courtesy of Kat's crew - particularly her glamorous and bitchy cousin Gabrielle.

Carter sets up an over-riding arc with the mystery of who the master-thief Romani is and why is he interested in Kat. All in all, there's plenty here to make me want to continue reading the series and I look forward to getting the next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
For some reason, I wasn't so keen on starting Heist Society because I got the feeling that it wouldn't live up to my expectations and I had to force myself to start reading it. All I can say is, thank God I did, because it turned out to be a really great book.

Heist Society starts with Kat getting expelled from boarding school for a prank involving the headmaster's car and a water fountain, the only thing is, whilst she is perfectly capable of pulling of sed prank, this time round she is genuinely innocent. As she waves goodbye to her school, she gets into a car and finds herself sat next to her childhood friend, a very hot childhood friend, Hale. Hale's got a mission for Kat and she ends up sucked back into the world of lying and thieving that she tried so desperately to escape from three months ago. Kat's dad is in trouble; a bad guy thinks that he stole his paintings and now he's out to get him unless if the paintings are returned to him within two weeks. After many failed attempts to persuade Arturo Taccone that her father isn't the man behind the theft of his paintings, Kat decides that the only way forward is to steal the paintings back from whoever stole them in the first place. For someone like Kat, this should be easy, except the paintings weren't stolen by any ordinary thief, they were stolen by the Visili Romani. Kat enlists the help of her other thieving friends to help recover the stolen paintings before Arturo Taccone comes for her father.

Unlike the Gallagher Girls series, Heist Society is written in the third person so we don't get any real insight into the inner workings of the characters but I felt like this style suited the story a lot more. Heist Society is definitely a lot more mature than the Gallagher Girls series and this is probably because it's not set in a school and although the main characters are children, they seem to be doing adult things. Kat, although 16 years old, has quite a mature way of thinking as shown by the fact that she tried so hard to leave a life of thieving behind and find her own, normal way of living. None of the teenage characters attend school, though they don't really need to because they are already equipped with all the skills they need to survive and live comfortable lives: thieving skills. The stakes are also really high in this book which doesn't leave much room for joking around, though Kat is a very witty character. This doesn't detract from the book in any way and nor does it mean it's a serious book, it's just that the tone is quite different to Ally Carter's other series.

I was really afraid that there was going to some sort of insta-love between Hale and Kat in this book but thankfully there wasn't any of that and instead there were subtle hints at what could blossom later. I don't think there's anything more annoying in a YA book than two characters who bump into each other and BAM they're in love. Hale and Kat are good friends though it's clear that they could be so much more than that and I could really feel the deep connection that the two of them have.

Whilst I was reading the Gallagher Girls series for the characters, I was reading Heist Society for the story. The plot is brilliantly constructed and keeps you reading non-stop from the very beginning. There are some plot twists and turns and there weren't any real moments where I thought something was completely stupid as you often do when reading young adult spy/thief novels. The whole story was really cleverly pieced together and because it's written from the third person, we don't really have any indication of who's planning to do what, when, where and why, which all adds to the suspense and intrigue. The one and only thing that bothered me about this book, was that at the end of it there was a pretty big lose end that Ally Carter failed to tie up and as this series is supposedly made up of stand-alone books, rather than a continuous plot, I don't think we'll ever find out this one crucial piece of information. (Sorry for the aloof-ness but I can't really tell you what we don't find out without perhaps ruining it for people who haven't read it yet).

All in all, Heist Society was so much better than I expected it to be and I read it all in one sitting within a few hours. In my opinion, it's a lot better than Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, but I think that's because Heist Society is aimed at a slightly older teen audience which I fit into. It was really easy to get into the story which is fast-paced and action packed and I didn't really see the ending coming. I believe Ally Carter said that the Heist Society books would act as standalone books sort of like the Nancy Drew series so I have no idea what to expect from Uncommon Criminals (book #2) but I'm eager to start reading it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2012
I must admit this isn't generally my type of book. The way there is a cover model on the front who looks nothing like what I'd expected Kat to look like puts me off a little, I mean Kat is meant to be 15, the model looks in her 20's! I must say I defiantly preferred the Gallagher Girl series covers which let you build up an image in your mind of the character.

I actually decided to read this book after finishing the Gallagher Girl series and I should have known nothing could meet my praise completely after reading those fabulous books. However I like the author's way of writing and she is very capable of wiring in third person which gave this series of books an original approach.

At the beginning of the book I didn't really feel a connection to the characters, however as the story progressed they became more developed and I really began to enjoy the complexed relationship between Hale and Kat which I am certain will be built upon in the next book. By the middle of the book I was really starting to enjoy this original read and felt satisfied by the end.

Although I should probably stop comparing this to the Gallagher Girl series, It certainly wasn't in the same league for me. Overall it was a satisfying read that left me feeling content and looking forward to the next book.
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on 1 October 2013
I really liked Heist Society because it was different from the books I had been currently reading, I had never read any books about thieves and con artists before and I found I really enjoyed it. It was a light easy read with lots of plot twists and it was really hard to put down once I had started reading.

The characters were well written and they all had there own traits and secrets and it was fun getting to know each one of the characters. My favourite character is Hale but I am also a fan of geeky Simon.

I liked how you could tell right from the beginning (well when we get introduced to Hale) that Kat and Hale obviously have feelings for each other by all the detail that is in the book and by the images you get while reading the scene between them.

Kat has become tired of her life of crime and she now wants an education so she becomes a student at a respectable school. Without giving to much away, the book starts with Kat being expelled from the school for pulling a prank that she did not commit, her friends and family set her up because her dad is in trouble and they think Kat can help resolve the situation.

Kat's dad however did not commit the crime he is being blamed for and has an alibi but this doesn't stop the mobster from blaming him and demanding Kat does something no one else has ever done before... steal from the Henley Museum.

The best part of the book was the planning of the heist and pulling the heist itself. There are so many things that could have gone wrong while they were doing it that the book has you gripped to find out if they get caught or if they manage to get away with it.

I would recommend this to my friends and to anyone who likes a good quick read with a lot of fun plot twists and I cannot wait to get started on Uncommon Criminals.
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on 5 March 2012
Heist Society had been sitting in my TBR pile for quite a while until I read a review recently that made me really want to pick it up. I can safely say that I wasn't disappointed.

This story was a breath of fresh air. For once, I wasn't reading about vampires or werewolves, witches, sirens or anything supernatural. Nope, just a great book about a family of thieves. The story is very family-oriented, which I really liked because there's nothing better than reading about a group who know each other well and operate together effectively. Kat was an interesting character who was instantly likeable. She was smart, pretty and a great leader. Hale, Kat's best friend, was very charming and had the typical swoon-worthy look and persona. Nonetheless, he was a favourite of mine. The supporting characters were also great and I loved them all; they all added flavour to the story and were hilarious at more than one point during their heist. However, my absolute favourite thing about this book is that it's set in a variety of different places all over the globe. Carter handled the descriptions and feel of each place really well and it really helped make the story greater than it already was. The tricks of their trade were also very intriguing and the names they gave for all the techniques they could use were very funny. Overall, this was an easy and enjoyable read filled with loveable characters and a really good story about one hell of a good heist. Heist Society was great and I'm considering picking up Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series now. Looking forward to the next book in the Heist Society series, called Uncommon Criminals!
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on 1 January 2012
After being recommended this book by a friend I was not dissapointed. I had seen Ally Carter's previous series 'Gallaghers girls' on the shelves of my local book store, but up until now had passed her over. That was a mistake. I will certainly now be searching out more from this author.

The Heist society is Oceans Eleven with teenagers. Katarinas family are con artists, it's all she's ever known, being involved in one scam or another of her fathers from a very young age. The story begins with Kat trying to escape this life after having conned her way into one of the most prestigious schools in the country. Cue her old life catching up with her. Kat's dad is in trouble, after a fellow con artist suspects him of having stolen 5 priceless paintings from him. Kat's dad has an alibi, but not one that Arturo Taccone believes. So, Kat has to form her own crew, to find and re-steal the five lost paintings, and she only has 14 days to do it. 'Heist society' has us flying from one country to another throughout Europe in an attempt to locate the paintings. It turns out they've been hidden in one of the most secure places possible, the Henley art gallery.

I wont reveal whether Kat and her crew succeed, because that would be telling. But I will say that 'Heist Society' is a fun, fast paced read, packed with twists and turns that I did not see coming. The ending took me by surprise in so many ways, it was extremely well done.

The characters are well written, giving us just enough information, without getting bogged down in uneccessary details that could have slowed the pace. The burgeoning romance between the Kat and Hale was also well written, it didn't feel forced or rushed. Carters writing is rich with detail without being overly so, leaving the pace fast and the action continuous.

I can't wait for the next book in this series.
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One of my favourite films growing up was How to Steal a Million with Audrey Hepburn* & I love Oceans 11 (let's pretend there were no more). The reason I tell you this is because Heist Society is everything that awesome about those films, not to mention we have a great heroine in Katarina Bishop.

The story was fun, really clever oh and did I mention FUN!

Heist Society has pretty much everything you could want, great characters, cracking story, suspense, morality, a little bit of romance, surprises - oh and what was that - bucket loads of fun!

No wonder my friend kept asking me if I'd read yet. I can't believe I took this long to get round to it.

If you're after an adventure with clever plans and plot twists, look no further! Have I mentioned the word `fun' yet?
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