Solara and Dylan have always hated each other. Rivals at their elite school, Dylan comes from one of the richest families in the Galaxy while Solara is a scholarship student from the orphanage. But when Dylan’s family is caught up in an inter-galactic scandal, they end up on the run together, booking passage on a pirate ship. In deep space, no one will be able to find them as long as they don’t blow their cover with the crew. But they also have nowhere to escape when things go wrong.
This is a classic sci-fi story with a bunch of quirky misfits hurtling through space trying to avoid a corrupt government. It's a fun adventure for fans of the genre.
Izzy and Jules were inseparable as children, running all over the small farming village on Batuu where they lived. Then one day, Izzy's family left without warning. Thirteen years have passed and Jules is living in the same small town while Izzy is traveling the galaxy in her own ship, getting by on smuggling work. When she's betrayed by her old crew, a job takes her back to Batuu. When her path literally collides with Jules's she is surprised by the undeniable spark between them. By the end of the day both of their lives will be completely different, if they manage to survive.
This was a romance with Star Wars serving as the background. It's a solid story; the tension between the characters is palpable and the plot full of dangerous situations that keep you turning the pages.
A Crash of Fate by Zoraida Cordova Erica's Picks Grades 6th - 8th Tags: adventure, crime caper, people of color, romance, science fiction
When Vita’s grandfather is cheated out of his family home by a notorious conman, she and her mother take the next boat to New York. 1920s New York is full of wonders and danger, but none of it is a match for Vita’s determination. Vita has a permanent limp and is used to people underestimating her. She uses that to her full advantage. With her new friends from the circus, she sets off to steal her family’s fortunes back.
I enjoyed every moment of this adventure story. From the circus performers and animals to the trips through secret tunnels this book will keep you on the edge of your seat!
Erica's Picks The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell
Stealing is a way of life for Kyra, and she doesn't have much pity for the corrupt, rich people that she steals from. So when she gets a job offer that will pull one over on them, she takes it. But when she discovers the hidden motivations behind the job, she starts to question everything. Tristam is a loyal knight who is willing to sacrifice himself for the realm. He's always had faith in the palace and the unwavering moral rightness of his cause. But when he witnesses the brutal death of his best friend, it sets him on a path to discover the hidden corruption and brutality at court. A thief and a knight may make a strange pair, but in a world that no longer makes sense unlikely alliances may be the only answer.
Blackburne does a wonderful job painting a portrait of a complex world where there aren't a lot of clearly good choices. Characters make mistakes and allegiances change as first impressions turn out to be wrong.
Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
Erica's Picks 7th & up Tags: adventure, crime caper, fantasy
The Barrel is the part of town controlled by warring gangs. The part people avoid if they can afford to, unless they have illegal tastes and nefarious intentions. Kaz came to the barrel as a broken child, but now he practically rules it. His path to the top wasn't pretty and he's done a lot to earn his reputation as a monster. When a richly rewarding job is offered to him, he sees the possibility not just to become wealthy enough to leave the barrel behind, but to slake his long-nursed thirst for revenge. The job is impossible, of course, so if he has any chance of succeeding and surviving he'll need a crew that's the best of the worst: “A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.” “Six people, but a thousand ways this insane plan could go wrong.”
I loved everything about this book from the rag-tag crew of misfits to the daring heist plot. The characters were fully developed and diverse including different races, sexual orientations, and physical abilities. The shifting perspective really allowed me to get a sense of each character and their struggles and made them feel very real and dear to me. It also helped create suspense because each character's knowledge was incomplete so seeing who knew what allowed me to piece together the plot in a way that was fun.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Erica's Picks 8th & up Tags: adventure, crime caper, fantasy, LGBTQ, people of color
“The heavy blade hung high above the prisoners, glinting against the stars, and then the Razor came down, a wedge of falling darkness cutting through the torchlight. One solid thump, and four more heads had been shaved from their bodies.” In a post-technological age where the past is all but forgotten, a rebellion is stirring. The nobility are being captured and executed. Their only hope is the mysterious red rook who keeps sneaking into prisons and freeing people, leaving a red-tipped feather behind.
I adored this re-imagining of The Scarlet Pimpernel! The dystopian setting provides a perfect background and gender-swapping the main character creates a more modern feeling. There's the perfect mix of action, world-building, and romance.
With hopes of discovering memories of the father who died when she was very young, Paloma Marques is accompanying her mother to Mexico City on a fellowship for the summer. Paloma had other plans for the summer and her lack of proficiency in Spanish dampens her enthusiasm for the trip. Paloma sees herself as girl detective modeled after Lulu Pennywhistle of her beloved mystery novels. Newly arrived in Mexico City, she starts using her power of observation and memory to make mental notes of the people and places. Little does she know that a real life mystery is around the corner. Her mother’s fellowship opening event takes place in the museum that houses some Frida Kahlo works and she learns about the artist. Meeting twins Lizzie and Gael, Paloma is introduced to the artist’s history and they reveal that a room in Frida’s house that hid some of her personal treasures locked away for 50 years, has recently been opened. Learning of Paloma’s sleuthing abilities, they enlist her help in solving a crime! The twin’s father is in jail for the theft of Frida’s famous peacock ring and they insist he is innocent. Can Paloma solve the crime? A mysterious fortune teller, the charming son of the museum director and the Russian secret service all play a part in this intriguing adventure of artistic proportions.
Tina and her mother fled the Congo when she was five. She doesn't remember much of her life there, and her mother never talked about it. They lived as refugees, working on the estate of a rich family, the Greyhills, in Kenya until Tina's mother was murdered. Tina knows that Mr. Greyhill is the one who killed her, and she's spent the last five years since her mother's death training to become a thief with a local gang and plotting her revenge. But when that day finally comes, she's caught red-handed by Mr. Greyhill's son, her former best friend. He's convinced his father didn't kill Tina's mother, so they strike a deal to find proof. Even if that means smuggling back into the depths of a war-torn Congo.
City of Saints and Thieves is part heist, part murder mystery, and 100% thrilling. I was completely absorbed by the setting and the characters' search for justice in a place where morality is murky and hard to find. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for an absorbing, page-turning adventure.
City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
Erica's Picks 7th & 8th Grade Tags: crime caper, fast-paced, mystery, people of color, social justice
Is there somewhere you've always wanted to go? For Prosper and Bo, that place is Venice. They treasure the stories their mother told them of this magical city. After they become orphans and run away from their cruel aunt, it's where they decide to hide. But life as a runaway is not as glamorous as they thought. Things are looking pretty grim until they meet Hornet, another runaway who introduces them to The Thief Lord and takes them to live in the abandoned cinema she calls home. Life still isn't easy, but at least they have a roof over their head. Then things take another turn for the worse when their aunt and uncle hire a private detective to track them down and The Thief Lord takes on a dangerous job.
As with any heist story the plot is tense as the young thieves plan their strategy and avoid being caught. The real attraction of this novel though is the characters. From the private eye with the mustache collection to the self-styled thief lord himself, the book is full of memorable individuals. This isn't your typical thief story; as identities are revealed and characters become more complex the plot takes multiple twists and turns.
Gen is chained up in a dungeon with shackles chafing against his wrists as he slowly starves. But he isn't concerned. Gen is an experienced thief, which is what got him into prison and what will get him out. There isn't a prison that he can't steal himself out of and he knows he'll be free of this one soon...somehow. He isn't surprised when the King's Magus brings him out for a consultation. He has a job that only a thief can do. It will be dangerous and difficult and he may not make it out alive, but the Magus assures him that he will definitely die if he doesn't go along with it. So Gen agrees to go with the Magus and steal an ancient treasure from the Gods.
Gen is a cunning thief with a heart of gold and a sharp tongue. He takes pleasure in annoying the rest of the party throughout the novel, but when the going gets tough is quick to display his skill. The world-building and invented mythology is interesting and their adventures on the road keep the pace moving quickly.