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How to Lead a Life of Crime

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,000 ratings  ·  383 reviews
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 Ma
Hardcover, 434 pages
Published February 21st 2013 by Razorbill
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
First, a quick note: How to Lead a Life of Crime is among the most violent young adult novels I’ve ever read. If you enjoyed I Hunt Killers, for example, you’re likely to enjoy this too, but if the thought of YA books that contain murder, corporate crime, illegal drug trials, teenage prostitution, implied rape and even a severed head bothers you, then this is not a book for you.

Flick’s is one of the clearest voices I’ve come across in YA. He grabs your attention right from the first page and he
Steph Sinclair
Actual rating: 4.5 stars, but what the hell? I'm rounding this baby up.

This is the first novel that I've read from this author and I have to say that I am very impressed. I don't usually seek out crime, mystery or thriller/suspense novels, but I'm really glad I had an opportunity to read this one.There aren't many books where I can say I have almost nothing to complain about. And even though I've finished the book weeks ago, I still have nothing but high praises for it. Simply put, How to Lead a
Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤

"What takes more guts? To fight for your own life at any cost-or prove that you're willing to lose it?"

Well, well, well....I am so beyond happy. <<< Eew that sentence, but it's so true! Months ago, I read a series that I absolutely cherished, adored, obsessed over-I Hunt Killers. It took me a long time to get over my Jazz boy, and anyone that didn't grasp my level of obsession over him would have to have been blind or wholly disinterested. But what do you do when you can't make extr

Full review originally at Fantasy Book Critic

Overall rating =2 & 1/2 stars

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: If you read the blurb to this book by Kirsten Miller, it becomes very hard not to be interested in it. The book beckoned me with oh-so-intriguing premise and so I got my hands on a copy and started reading immediately.

The story begins with a sly and street-smart teenager who is slumming in the seedier parts of New York City trying to toughen himself for a Herculean task that he has to accomplish.
Faye, la Patata
What takes more guts? To fight for your own life at any cost - or prove that you're willing to lose it?

A fair bit of warning: this book is NOT for the faint-of-heart. It contains and talks about a lot of stuff, both sensitive and controversial, that will highly likely bother and rattle your squeamish and soft-hearted side. Organized crimes, underground syndicates, briberies, rape, prostitution, suicide, serial killings, secret laboratory stuff that will make you look away in disgust... yup, yo
3.5 stars - I have mixed feelings about this book, but I'm bumping it up because I like the unique concept. I really struggled with the first half, but the second half was actually pretty good. A much improvement from the Eternal One series.

First of all, I love the concept. It was dark and sinister and had the perfect mood to go with it. No, I can't say the book was very realistic, and a lot of the crimes and background information were a little too over the top. But I think it fits because we'r
Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
Flick is a boy who lives on the streets. And he's...a force to be reckoned with. He’s a thief who tries to help people occasionally – he still takes money, but from the first moment you meet him, you see that he’s got a bit of a hero complex. He’s layered, he’s emotionally damaged, and he’s living on the streets because he’s had some MAJOR family drama. You really want to give him a hug right away.

Luckily, Flick’s girlfriend Joi (pronounced Joey) is there to give the hugs. She’s sweet, compassio
Rachel Kramer
Hogwarts for Hustlers meets the Hunger Games (sort of).

To the outside world, the Mandel Academy is an upstanding, prestigious school producing many of New York's elite. Bankers, lawyers, and even politicians have emerged from this renowned (but mysterious) academy in Manhattan. Bottom line, anybody who’s anybody graduates from the Mandel Academy. Or, they don’t graduate at all.

That’s right. A school where failing just may be the death of you.

Flick, our hero, knows everything has a price. And,
4.5 stars
Why do books I love have such a small fanbase - less than 2000 ratings, really? It's so frustrating, because THIS WAS ALL KINDS OF EPIC. Action-packed, very fast-paced and a large cast of characters who all matter. I give tons of bonus points for the detailed character back stories and interviews at the end of the book. It just shows how much effort was put into them.
Our hero is hilarious and never stopped surprising me.
There's murder, lies, tests and hardcore training. It's one of my
Cait Grace
Oh. My. Gosh. I can’t give this book enough stars!! I’m totally shellshocked. This review will be a buzz of incoherent warbles about how much I ADORE this book. You have been warned.

Where do I start?! The writing was AWESOME. The characters were AWESOME. And the story was. so. freaking. AWESOME. I’m just…AHHHH. The feels. The complexities. Can I rate it higher then 5 stars? Please?

I’ll start with the writing and the plot. Both were epic. I’m always over-the-moon when I find a book I love with re
If I could only use one word to describe this reading experience, this book: “interminable.” If I could add a couple of others, I might throw in some like “flat,” “overstated,” “uneven,” “illogical,” and even a descriptive phrase like “poor narrative integrity.” If someone challenged me to find some positive things to say about the book, I could manage that: some nice conspiracy theory aspects about the unscrupulous 1% manipulating and capitalizing on the populace as if we are an entirely differ ...more
Mar 03, 2013 Maipon rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
The book was a page-turner, but I can't help but feel frustrated with all the lost potential of the story.

What didn't work for me
- I felt like the book simplified some really big issues: corrupt politicians, greedy businessmen, dishonest lawyers, drug lords and human traffickers are everywhere, but the book's ending leaves the reader with a false feeling of a happy ending, as if destroying the school and its alumni would actually change any of those things. I get that the story had a message of
Wendy Darling
I liked the first part of this book when Flick was still living on the streets, but once he entered the Academy, I was much less engaged by the story, and in fact had to push myself to finish it. I just didn't really care that much about the prison-like alpha dog dynamics, nor about the majority of the characters and relationships.

I did like the male POV and Flick's sense of humor, and of course Peter Pan references are ones I'm going to be fond of! But while the plot has certain points that are
Cool ideas!
But a bit dull...

To be honest, I’m disappointed about this book. I enjoyed some parts and it was commendable how the authors created various characters, starting from really smart ones, good ones, pathetic and even the psychopathic and sociopathic ones. And how the author didn’t have reservations on being cruel and bloody.
Some were strong. Some were weak. And the only difference between them was a choice. Fight or give in. And that choice was mine. All mine.

I had varied thoughts a
This book reminded me so much of Divergent, mostly in the sense of "I can barely stand to read this, but I know so many people who will think this is The Best Book Ever." For my professional review I will write about the potential mass appeal, but for Good Reads, you get my complaints.

1) The use of the word "f--" seriously, as in they couldn't print the word but couldn't come up with a suitable replacement. The weirdest form of censorship. What The Fuck? If you won't print the word, don't have y
Elizabeth Drake
Title: How to Lead a Life of Crime
Author: Kirsten Miller
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Release Date: February 21st, 2013
Rating: 4/5

Cover Impressions: I like the cover art but I feel they could have done more with the graffitti concept. It isn't something that would jump off the shelves for me. I do, however, really appreciate the quality of the physical copy. The slipcover paper is thick and has an almost gritty feel to it and I love that little surprise when I grab a book off the shelf and it fe
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids

What happens when you take a smooth pickpocket and introduce him to a bunch of ruthless teenage criminals at New York City's most exclusive academy for young criminals? You get a twisted, dark story that will leave you cheering on the story's main character, and hoping he not only succeeds but brings down the entire academy, something that's next to impossible to do.

This isn't a book I'd normally pick up and read. When I first received How To Lead a Life of Crime I was both looking forward to p
How to Lead a Life of Crime felt like if Dead Poet's Society and Hunger Games had a baby, this would be their love child.

Flick is kid living on the streets who picks pockets to survive. When he's recruited to take his talents and enroll in Mandel Academy, a prestigious school that takes kids with all kinds of rough edges and spits out successful CEO's, politicians, bankers, etc, he's intrigued. When he sees the classes offered are embezzling, exploiting the environment for profit, blackmailing
4.5 stars

Before I write this review, I want to point something out. This book is marketed as a book for readers aged fourteen years and older. However, Kirsten Miller sets all guidelines for giveaways and such for this novel for sixteen years or older because of the content. After reading the book, I have to say that I agree. While I absolutely loved this book, it's very violent, has horrible language, and is uncomfortably twisted at times. It's not something younger kids should read and is defi
Lesley Marie
Ten-Second Review: A thrilling novel that blew my mind. It has a great group of characters, great writing, great plotting. Just great, great, great.

More-Than-Ten-Second Review:

How to Lead a Life of Crime is a book that is chock-full of complete and utter kick butt. Reading this book made for one heck of a ride, and I loved all the layers of the story. Kirsten’s Miller’s novel is violent, thrilling, and contains some pretty controversial stuff, but it can also be really warming to the heart– the
Uno de esos libros que te dan ganas de leerlo de corrido y sin parar ni para usar el baño.
Me encantó Flick hasta que ingresa a la academia, ahí su personaje se pone un poco confuso y pasa de ser el alumno perfecto a el segundo en comando; altibajos continuamente que, si bien van en la linea de su lucha por venganza versus hacer lo correcto, hacen que se pierda un poco su personalidad de los primeros capítulos del libro.
Odio la frase "hay dos tipos de personas en el mundo...", NO, no hay solo d
I don't know how to put it into words: it just got me.
I always thought that the good-against-evil-and-good-wins type of books were dumb and not for me but the truth is I like them but when they are smart books, when evil is really hard to defeat, when the happy ending is well deserve, when it's something that goes beyond the main characters.
This book had so many aspects, it never got boring; you just wanted to keep reading.
Merril Anil
wickedly good

So he said let’s get into the flourishing business of crime and I said it is better to enroll into a university that can provide an extensive researched course in the world of crime first, than to get beaten up in a dark alley for trying to steal a wallet that has only maxed out credit cards and a packet of unused condoms.
- From the wicked brains of the author of this review

How to Lead a life of crime is one of those rare books where I have seen a female author come up with a bo
Andrew Hicks

1. The premise and setup, as spilled out over the first 100 pages, are the best part of Kirsten Miller's 'How to Lead a Life of Crime.' It's kind of like 'Oliver Twist' meets the Illuminati, as protagonist Flick - a 17-year-old street-dwelling pickpocket - is recruited into the Mandel Academy. Outwardly, the academy is a prestigious but secretive Manhattan institution that cranks out nothing but elite businessmen and politicians. In actuality, it's the world's top trainin
Jan 30, 2013 Toni rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of YA, Mystery, Teen Issues, Psychological
Disclaimer: I received this book as an advanced reader's copy at no cost via Goodreads giveaways. However, I have not been compensated in any other way and my review is honest and objective.

I LOVED this book! Kirsten Miller has a masterpiece on her hands with How to Lead a Life Of Crime. Though written to appeal to the high school crowd, this novel is sophisticated enough to capture the attention of the 18 and over crowd as well. The writing is uncomplicated and flows well but the plot is comple
3.5 stars, bordering on 4. I'm having trouble deciding how I really feel about this book. It kept me engaged, kept me turning pages. I cared about these characters, but at the same time, I felt somewhat disconnected from them. And while there are people like Lucian Mandel in the world (scarily enough), he was teetering on the line that separates the layered villain from the overblown, mustache-twirling cartoon. Furthermore, as much as I hate to say it, the final showdown fizzled out for me, and ...more
UGH. This book was SO GOOD. Gritty, violent, humorous, and crime-filled...I mean, really, what else could you possibly ask for?

It does tend towards the heavy side of violence, so if you're squeamish, don't read it. (Obviously.) And even if you can handle that type of stuff, maybe don't read it while you're eating. I made that mistake a couple of times.

I was afraid that this book might fall into the Gallagher Girls category. Don't get me wrong. I love that series (wait, I still need to finish it.
4 and a half stars

At the heart of this gritty and undeniably un-put-downable narrative, there is a strong moral tale about knowing what is the right thing to do and being strong enough to act even when the odds are against you ever achieving it. Flick's attempts often fail, and people around him sacrifice much, but he never stops trying. This was enough to keep me reading.

And there was this point in the story, about halfway through when I was reading about people being killed, and how that might
I would give this book a very strong 4.5 stars.

Admittedly, I'm not sure where to begin with talking about this book because I honestly had know idea about the ride that this book was going to take me on. I picked up this book on a whim from a few good reviews I saw. The description for this book does not do justice for the tour this book takes you on in such a short time frame.

This book isn't so much a story about criminal kids, it's a story about haves and have not's in society. It's a story ab
I was looking forward to How to Lead a Life of Crime just as much as The Darkness Dwellers. It came out about a month after The Darkness Dwellers, and the plot sounded interesting. Plus, I just love Kirsten Miller's writing. "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 gr ...more
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I LOVE THIS BOOK! 13 28 Mar 24, 2014 11:17AM  
Playlist 1 7 Sep 30, 2013 02:31PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
More about Kirsten Miller...
The Eternal Ones (Eternal Ones, #1) Inside the Shadow City (Kiki Strike,#1) All You Desire (The Eternal Ones, #2) The Empress's Tomb (Kiki Strike, #2) The Darkness Dwellers (Kiki Strike, #3)

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“What takes more guts? To fight for your own life at any cost—or prove that you're willing to lose it?” 31 likes
“Where's the course called How to Lead a Life of Crime? That's what this is about, isn't it? You've got everyone thinking this is the best school in the country, but it's really just a Hogwarts for hustlers.” 17 likes
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