How To Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
Published February 21st 2013 by Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.
Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.
Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?
I picked this book off bookoutlet, cause the summary was so interesting. So far, I’ve read about a school for spies, a school for vampires, a school for witches and wizards, a school for good and evil, so why not a school that trains teenagers to be high profile criminals?
Flick belongs to a rich family and has an abusive father. He was at military school when he learned that his mother and brother died at the hands of his father. He leaves his old life in exchange for being a street smart pick pocketer in New York, and vows to get revenge on his father one day. He then meets Lucian Mandel, the headmaster of Mandel Academy – a prestigious school that’s really a breeding ground for the world’s most ruthless criminals. Mandel wants to recruit him to the academy, in exhange for incriminating evidence that would get his father locked up forever,
Mandel Academy was sophisticated and state of the art, like Hogwarts for thugs. It has different class tracks. They could turn out to be drug dealers, hackers, politicians, depending on their skills and personalities. I found some of the classes interesting enough, and the class names were hella creative.
In terms of characters, Flick reminds me of a modern day Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows, but not that ruthless. He’s arrogant and clever, but he also seems to change his mind a lot about his goal.
Joi is the girl Flick left behind upon entering the academy, and is what I believe to be a Mary Sue, and the story of her past and how she ended up in New York just backs up my claim.
Gwendolyn is probably the most colorful character for me, and her back story is hella intersting. That girl is psycho.
The book was a bit violent for YA in my opinion. It’s darker than I expected, and it tackles a lot of social issues. I also liked the explanation of the difference between psychopaths and sociopaths, and the villain’s motive about it was interesting enough. I found it very lacking in some aspects, though. The climax wasn’t really what I was expecting, and the villain was too chatty for my liking.
Overall, I liked the book. It was a page turner, and kept me on my toes. I’d recommend this if you’re looking for something interesing, as long as you can handle some violence.