Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Lead a Life of Crime” as Want to Read:
How to Lead a Life of Crime
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Lead a Life of Crime

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  3,388 ratings  ·  538 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,388 ratings  ·  538 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of How to Lead a Life of Crime
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
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially fans of Legend by Marie Lu
Recommended to Steph by: Unsolicited review copy
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
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 extra
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was ok

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. He
C.G. Drews
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
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
4 1/2 stars, but I'm rounding it up for the sake of pure entertainment.
I never set out to be a thief. I suppose I once had something grander in mind. But when you live on the streets, you find that your career options are limited. You can be one of the kids who disappear with the strangers who cruise through every night. You can sell the stuff that helps those kids forget what they’ve seen. Or you can be a thief. If those choices don’t suit you, you can always be dead.

How to lead a life of c
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,
Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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,
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
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: baya-review
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
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, mystery-thriller
Because Peter Pan can never die. And as long as I’m around, there will always be someone here who believes in him.

Wow. Just...... WOW. That 6 pages epilogue made me give it an extra star. This is the type of book you can picture a movie on.

It was an amazing concept and the characters, too. Flick, Joi and our very own Peter Pan. The writing was smooth and I loved the first person narration of Flick. It started slow but once it reached the half mark, everything went boom! And that climax? It

“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.”

That quote up there is the absolutely most hilariously perfect quote
to describe this book. I loved it, when I read it I was cracking up! "Hogwarts for hustlers," too funny!!!

Real rating......4.5

This book was pretty darn awesome. Never had I read a book like it. Usually book p

Winter Winslow
The main character kept whining about how in love he was with his girlfriend but how he couldn't be with her because she was holding him down and taking his freedom. However "interesting" this existential crisis seemed, I was suddenly convinced to stop reading this book. ...more
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
Dec 03, 2014 rated it liked it
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 th
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
I honestly cant bring myself to finish this book. I've tried so very hard.

Flick is ridiculously edgy and I cant stand anything about his character. The overall premise of this book is great but the execution is dreadful. Every single character is flat and unrelatable. The only time I've felt emotional in these first 150 pages was when Flick was speaking about his dead brother.

I really want to like this book but the writing is choppy and unimpactful. I'm nearly half way through the book and I h
lucky little cat
Here's what you get when you cross Hunger Games with The Wolf of Wall Street.
NYC YA prep-school story pits an average grunt against a bunch of Stepford-shiny schoolmates, and rapidly deteriorates into a one-track narrative with cartoonish villains. Women also take a hit since they're jammed into the same old familiar stereotypical roles: Madonna, whore, lunatic, and sexy schoolgirl. Ironic since the author's working hard to give the book a subversively liberal message: greed is, y'kn
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
Lesley Marie
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Merril Anil
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book
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
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
Mar 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Mar 18, 2013 rated it liked it
A very interseting blurb, but i'm a little undecided about the book, i liked the narration and i enjoyed reading it from Flick's POV but, though the book was a page turner, at times -maybe in an attempt to build the suspence- things were dragged out to the maximum and then everything was overly simplified, i found the ending unbeleivable, everything was easy and convenient. And to censor F--- in a book about all that is F---ed up in the world is just silly. ...more
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
YA Buddy Readers'...: How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller -- Starting March 15th 2016 6 12 Mar 31, 2016 05:29AM  
I LOVE THIS BOOK! 13 32 Mar 24, 2014 11:17AM  
Playlist 1 7 Sep 30, 2013 02:31PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Killer Instinct (The Naturals, #2)
  • All In (The Naturals, #3)
  • The Naturals (The Naturals, #1)
  • Bad Blood (The Naturals, #4)
  • Twelve (The Naturals, #4.5)
  • Belle Epoque
  • Before the Fall: Departure (Embassy Row, #0.4)
  • Game (I Hunt Killers, #2)
  • Before the Fall: Arrival (Embassy Row, #0.5)
  • Blood of My Blood (I Hunt Killers, #3)
  • Also Known As (Also Known As, #1)
  • Hunting November (Killing November, #2)
  • I Hunt Killers (I Hunt Killers, #1)
  • The Dating Dare
  • The Fixer (The Fixer, #1)
  • Icons (Icons, #1)
  • The Girls I've Been
  • The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan
See similar books…
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information. ...more

Related Articles

If you're a fan of the mystery and thriller genre and young adult books, recent months have brought a bevy of great reads to your shelves! We...
142 likes · 20 comments
“What takes more guts? To fight for your own life at any cost—or prove that you're willing to lose it?” 35 likes
“You’re never ready for the truth. No matter how much you think you know, it always takes you by surprise.” 20 likes
More quotes…