Eva Mitnick's Reviews > The Good Thief

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
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's review
May 16, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, grown-ups, ya
Read in May, 2011

My library system calls this an adult book but many teens would like it as well (my 16-year-old did). In pre-civil war Massachusetts, a 12-year-old orphan named Ren is "adopted" by a man who leads a rather eccentric - and downright illegal - lifestyle. Thrown in with folks who are thieves, liars, drunkards, grave-diggers, and murderers, Ren tries to be as good as he can, given the circumstances. This sounds a bit like Dickens, but it lacks that Dickensian humor and exaggeration. What The Good Thief reminds me more than anything is the Lamplighter series by D.M. Cornish - a good orphan is surrounded by puzzling people who aren't what they seem at first glance (or second, or third). Atmospheric and violent, but with a satisfyingly happy Dickensian ending.

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