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434 pages, Hardcover
First published February 21, 2013
"What takes more guts? To fight for your own life at any cost-or prove that you're willing to lose it?"
I don't care about Ghosts or girls anymore. I don't give a damn about proof. This monster is just waiting for a chance to kill it's creator. One way or another, I'll get out. And then I'm going to destroy him.
I would sacrifice almost anything to stay here with her. And that's exactly why I have to leave. She will keep me from becoming what I need to be. And if she tries to save me, I will end up destroying her.
I thought this time, I was willing to do anything. Now Mandel will know that it's all just an act. Because there's one thing that I will not do. Not even to save the world from a monster. I won't let Joi die.
I'm not a lost boy, and I'm too old for a Wendy. But I want to remember her once before I let her go. All I get is a faint whiff of jasmine before my dream's interrupted. And then the last person I'll love is gone for good.
Second period just started, and I already have five enemies, a pretty blond stalker, and zero friends. It's a record, even for me.
When I was younger, I'd make Jude stand beside me in front of my mother's closet mirror. We looked so much alike. I couldn't see what the difference was-I couldn't understand how my father could love one of us and loathe the other.
Suddenly I see the problem with Jude's brilliant advice. Be who you want to be, he said. Well, the person I'd like to be would save . But that would be dangerous. I could die trying-and there's only one of me to sacrifice.
Maybe he's not going to give me the choice to trade my life for hers. Maybe he's found another way to force me to watch the girl I love be destroyed.
This is how it feels to lose your last hope. To stop treading water. To unplug life support.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
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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?
What would it be like to exist in a world without suffering? To have no needs, only desires? To be surrounded by so much beauty that you forget how ugly life is for everyone else? Who wouldn't want that? Who wouldn't be willing to fight for it? What the alumni did to get there - lie, cheat, steal, kill - I'm sure they'd all say it was worth it. And I bet they sleep soundly because they know that their nameless, faceless victims would have done the same thing.
“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.”
This book was pretty darn awesome. Never had I read a book like it. Usually book plots are overdone and everything that happens is completely predictable. Predictable plot, predictable setting and of course, predictable characters. This book was nothing of the sort.
So this book takes place in New York and more importantly, the Mendel Academy. This isn't just some regular school, this is a school for criminals and I'm not just talking about petty thieves and other small time criminals, no I'm talking master thieves who steal billions with the push of a computer key. They are the most powerful people in the world and they are all trained criminals. Trained in stealing, killing and every other form of crime in between. Those are the alumni of the Mendel Academy. Just imagine if this place was real. They practically own the world and all the people in it. That is a seriously scary thing.
There we meet Flick an average homeless pickpocket with a better than average past. He is a boy that once ran away from Military school after his rich but totally abusive father killed his younger brother Jude and his mother committed suicide. He finds himself living in a basement with a bunch of street urchins and their leader a fearless girl named Joey (spelled j-o-i). That though doesn’t last long as he then finds himself in the presence of Lucian Mendel, the charismatic yet cruel and psychotic headmaster of the Mendel Academy.
There Flick makes it his personal mission to pass and graduate with honors in order to avenge his family’s deaths and ruin his father who just so happen to be a Mendel graduate. But there things start to get complicated as hidden agendas start to be revealed and secrets are exposed and then nothing makes sense anymore, especially when Flick meets again with the past he tried so hard to forget. And all he has to keep him company and keep him ‘sane’ is his old pal Peter Pan (yes, Peter Pan the boy who never grew up, the guy with the little green hat, the one that is friends with Tinkerbell, that Peter Pan.) I guess that doesn’t really help much with his sanity though.
A long the way a lot of disturbing theories and horrifying revelations come to light and it’s all truly greatly written. There are so many strange characters, especially Lucian who is a first class lunatic, that are so well developed. I wondered what went on through the authors mind when she wrote this book because it is seriously messed up. Still, I loved the concept and the story and all the characters, especially Peter Pan. I also really liked Lucian despite it all, he really did make a good bad guy, one that believed so completely in his cause and was 100% committed to it. He might be a psychopath who kills children and makes then in to sociopaths he likes to call ‘predators’ but he was good at it. That is my kind of villain.
I wish there were more books like it out there because I would definitely read them. Great read though I admit I had low expectations. I really enjoyed it, I mean really, who hasn’t ever thought what it would be like to be a criminal? I know I have.
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.
“If you’re born weak, you need to suffer before you grow strong. And those of us who are strong should fight every day to avoid growing weak. Never show mercy to anyone who refuses to suffer or fight. They’re inferior beasts and the world would be better without them.”
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'know, actually bad.