Toni's Reviews > How to Lead a Life of Crime

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
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Jan 30, 13

bookshelves: goodreads-giveaway, first-reads, young-adult, suspense, teen-issues, fiction, favorites, psychological
Recommended for: Fans of YA, Mystery, Teen Issues, Psychological
Read from January 27 to 29, 2013 — I own a copy, read count: 1

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 complex. This piece is well-conceptualized; all angles have been examined to ensure the story remains plausible, the loose ends get tied up nicely, and the reader stays intrigued until its conclusion.

How to Lead a Life Of Crime presents a shocking and insightful parallel to today's world of greedy, power-hungry, seemingly invincible corporate and political hotshots. Though fictional, Kirsten Miller's newest novel retains an air of plausibility as she explores what it takes to get to the top these days, especially for those who start with nothing. Whether reading How to Lead a Life Of Crime for these insights or simply for entertainment, readers will find loveable characters, villains that seem indestructible, suspense that keeps them turning the pages, and hope for the human race.

How to Lead a Life Of Crime is the story of young Flick, a teenage boy who has faced horrors no child should endure and who has spent the last year trying to run from the demons of his past. Living on the streets of New York City's Lower East Side, he survives by picking pockets, stealing anything of value he can get his hands on, and dreaming of revenge. He is given the opportunity to get his hands on the evidence that can incriminate his abusive father, if he agrees to enroll in New York's famous Mandel Academy. For decades, Mandel Academy has been praised for its spectacular track record of taking disadvantaged youth off the streets and turning them into Ivy League graduates who range from corporate CEOs, to high-ranking politicians, to powerful and invincible attorneys. What the world isn't aware of are the methods and lessons the school is using to maintain its spotless record. Flick, obsessed with getting his hands on the evidence that will avenge his brother's murder, agrees to enroll in the academy and do whatever it takes to graduate. Soon, however, he discovers just how twisted the school's new headmaster - Lucian Mandel - is, and exactly what lengths he will go to in order to turn Flick into the academy's latest masterpiece. He is told - and shown - over and over that there are only two ways to leave the academy; he must either graduate or be expelled. Unfortunately, expulsion isn't as grand as it sounds; students who get "expelled" from Mandel are never seen or heard from again. When Flick is faced with the toughest decisions of his life, will he give up his own life to save someone else, become the monster that Lucian Mandel wants him to be, or will he find a third option he never dreamed of? Terrifically insightful, How to Lead a Life Of Crime is a story of love, self-sacrifice, the power of manipulation, and a lesson in just how much the human spirit can take before it breaks.
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Reading Progress

01/27/2013 page 105
29.0% "So far, I'm enjoying this book. While its intended audience seems to be the YA group, its writing is sophisticated enough and the mystery intriguing enough to capture an adult's attention as well. I'm hopeful that the book will have a satisfying ending as well but, in the meantime, I'm enjoying the ride."
01/28/2013 page 175
48.0% "Technically, my edition contains 434 pages so the percentage toward completion is off by quite a bit. Unfortunately, since there are no other editions listed on the site, I've been unable to figure out how to correct the page numbers to get an accurate completion percentage. Oh well, c'est la vie!"
01/28/2013 page 264
73.0% "So far, I'm still enthralled with this book. However I figure -by the end- one of two things will happen: either I'll feel the ending was rushed, or I'll be begging to rewrite the synopsis. I'm more than 60% finished with this book and one of the major points in the summary hasn't occurred yet. I think, since it hasn't happened yet, it shouldn't be mentioned in the synopsis; it should be a surprise/shock for readers!"
01/29/2013 page 351
98.0% "It's getting even more exciting now that the much anticipated (thanks to the synopsis) plot twist has occurred. I have high hopes for the end of this one!"
01/29/2013 page 434
100.0% "Finished! Review to come soon!"

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