I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not change how I feel about the book.
Title: Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Expected Publication: July 19th 2016
Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story. Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!
LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.
CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .
Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.
Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.
Heist books are not something I’ve gotten into in the past, as I never found them quite as thrilling as mystery novels or psychological thrillers, and not as relatable (or entertaining) as your average contemporary YA book. This one is no exception — neither the action nor the relationship dynamics were terribly engaging and seriously underexplored, especially noting how little time was put into developing any character aside from Lexi and Christian. Sorry guys, but you’re not the only people who might actually be affected by this whole heist thing! However, even though the characters’ definition was underdeveloped, the writing itself was solid and had a great pace, and I did care about Christian and the struggle living under the Mexican Mafia’s boot is. I haven’t seen a lot of books that really give an accurate depiction of the complexities of street life and poverty, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much emotion was put into Christian’s background. The fact that so much of this went right over Lexi’s head for most of the book made me sigh profusely, because she tries really hard not to be a total airhead, but makes comments that gave me a real headache.
“What was that about, exactly?” I ask. He exhales heavily. “It’s nothing. They’re just reminding me that doing this job isn’t a choice.”
“You don’t rob banks because you want to?”
[images show up on my Goodreads review!]
Dude, really? Not everyone (especially a person of color) has the luxury of robbing banks because they want to. Get your privileged white attitude out of my face, please.
Honestly, the first 70% of the book was pretty enjoyable, and the chapters really improved from the beginning up to that point, but the last chunk of the book was rushed in a non-thrilling way and then tied up with a bow at the end. It wasn’t hard to guess that everyone would get a happy ending, but it just seemed too easy. Smash & Grab definitely isn’t the worst I’ve seen this year, yet it fails to measure up to recent reads as far as enjoyment and satisfaction when finishing it. To be frank: it’s one big ‘meh’. I would definitely recommend it to people who liked Heist Society and Perfect Chemistry; really, if you like heist books, it’s a good one to add to your bookshelves. For me personally, I’m going to have to pass.
Have any of you read or heard of this book yet? Did you love it, or feel mostly underwhelmed? Let me know what you think in the comments! Happy blogging.