What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

UNSOLVED: One specific book > YA action/adventure book about a thief/spy group, similar to Thieves like Us series... Spoilers ahead.

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message 1: by Fox (last edited May 20, 2017 01:25PM) (new)

Fox | 13 comments A summary is available at the end

Unfortunately, I don't remember much about the book, although I enjoyed it immensely. The main character is a boy, probably already in his teens (maybe 15 years old?), and he gets recruited into this thief/spy group. The one detail tying me to the book is that near the beginning of the book (happens probably within chapters 1 to 3), our main character arrives home, only to be almost kidnapped (in his own house) by an unknown stranger(s). Luckily, as our main character was trying to fight off his kidnapper(s) (and was going to lose), another stranger(s) arrives in time to thwart the kidnapping. There may or may not have been a helicopter involved in this kidnapping/rescue scene. And that is how he is introduced/joins this thief/spy group (the people who saved him). My impression is that before the kidnapping, he (believed he) was just a normal boy going home on any normal day. I think he was first alerted to something being wrong when he found that his front door was unlocked.

This I'm not so sure about (maybe about 70% confident) - the ending scene was a river chase along the canal. I think the good guys were chasing the bad guys along a canal. I think (21% confident) that our main character's role in the team was a hacker, and for this river chase mission, he was in a cyber cafe nearby doing his computer stuff.

My impression is that the organization/group that our main character joins is not part of the government (but I could be wrong). That is why I have ruled out series like Jason Steed by Mark A Cooper. (Although if you have read Fledgling by Mark Cooper, and know that there is). As mentioned in my topic name, the closest book I have found that could have been my book is Thieves like Us by Stephen Cole. It features (a) a boy as lead character, (b) said boy joining secret organization, (c) is now part of a teenage team all working for secret organization (boy doesn't go solo), (d) does secret missions and stuff, and (e) organization has an adult liaison/leader who gives them their missions/instructions. The only reason I know Thieves like Us isn't my book is because it doesn't have the kidnapping I mentioned in the book (or any of its sequels)! Another reason that I don't think Thieves like Us is my book is that I think in my book, the adult "leader" of the organization is respected/trusted by the team, and the adult "leader" has the team's best interests at heart. If I remember correctly, Coldhardt from Thieves like Us is not exactly fully trustworthy (to the team).

Although I provide no proof, I also believe that this book that I read is part of a series. (It just feels like a book that could easily have many sequels).) Whether or not it has a series, it is probably the first book (since it starts off with the main character joining this new group).

This last point I'm am completely unsure about. I have a vague impression that (after he joins the group), he goes to a basement and there is something about a (famous) painting. I'm really not sure about this one though, and this image about a basement and painting could well be from another book. I'll put my confidence level of this at 2%, and the only reason I'll putting this last "detail" about the book is that if this did happen in the book, it could jog someone's memory. The adult "leader" of the thief/spy group could also have been missing/absent at the beginning of the story when the main character joins the team, and the team is trying to find out what happened to him. Again, I'm not very sure if this happened at all.

Date: I probably read the book in 2010, but not after 2012. My gut feeling (not to be entirely trusted) is that the book was probably published after 2000, probably around the years 2006/2007. (The book was part of a book swap, where the school provides the books, and you pay some money to be part of the system. Another book that I read shortly before/after this book I am trying to find was published in 2007, so that is where my conjecture comes from. My gut feel of it being published after 2000 is that I think my school bought the more recent books that came out for the book swap.)

Reading level: Young adult, although I could see some people classifying it as a children's/middle grade book.

Genre: Action/Adventure

This is a pretty long post, with a lot of my own conjecture so I'll summarise the relevant details. Please only treat the Facts (particularly Fact 1) as reliable indicators to decide if the book you are thinking of could not possibly be the book I am looking for. Thanks for reading this (long) post!


1) Failed kidnap attack attempt of main character around the start of the book (edit: I realise that I'm actually not 100% sure that the intention of the attackers was to kidnap him. I do think his attackers wanted him to "come with them", but at the same time, I can't say that with certainty now. What I know did happen is that main character arrives back to the place he is currently living at, is attacked by someone at said place, and while he is struggling with attacker, is saved by someone else. I still do think the intention of his attackers was probably to kidnap, but I shall leave the criteria more open to say: He had a failed attack attempt in his own house, with the possibility of it being a failed kidnapping.)
2) Main character is male (probably in his teens)
3) Main character joins a team of teenagers who are part of the organization that saved him from attack attempt
4) Organization has adult liaison who manages them/gives them their missions
5) Book published 2012 or before

Things I'm not so sure about, but that are probably true:
1) Main character is in his teens
2) Nothing special about main character (as far as main character knows himself) before joining organization/team
3) Secret organization joined is not a government organization
4) Adult liaison/leader of team feels trusted/respected by team
5) River chase sequence between good guys/bad guys at end of book
6) Main character's role in team is possibly the tech expert, and he (luckily) found a cyber cafe to work in to help his team during the river chase
6) Book published after 2000, possibly around the year 2006/2007
7) Book is either a standalone, or is first in its series
8) YA/children's
9) Genre: Action/adventure

Things I'm completely unsure if it even happened:
1) Adult liaison/leader is missing/uncontactable by team at the beginning when the main character joins the team
2) Main character goes into a basement (with at least one other person from his team) and uncovers/talks about stolen famous paintings

message 3: by Fox (new)

Fox | 13 comments ☯ DαякєηRнαℓ ❛ ᶜʳᵒᵘᶜʰᶤᶰᵍ ʰᵘᵐᵃᶰ ; ʰᶤᵈᵈᵉᶰ ᵗᶤᵗᵃᶰ ❜ wrote: "It isn't Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) by Leigh Bardugo ?"

Thanks for the suggestion! I don't think so though. The setting of the book is "modern" (the same as Thieves like Us), and (I don't think) magic is an inherent part of the world. If there is magic mentioned in the book, it would be more along the lines of: There is this ancient mythical Aztec object that has mysterious powers, and the team is tasked to find/collect it. But the people in the book don't have any magical or supernatural abilities of their own (as far as I can recall).

I know that an almost kidnap attempt is the selection criteria for my book, but the failed kidnap attempt is a really small part of the book, and is just the way our hero is introduced to the gang/underground group. It is only mentioned in the beginning (spread at most between two chapters) and is not an underlying theme throughout the whole book. What I mean is our boy returns to his house, and is attacked in his own home. While he is still struggling with his attacker (in his house), another person steps in to scare off/stop the attack.

Actually as I'm writing this, I realise that I'm not 100% sure it is a kidnap attempt. The boy was definitely attacked in his house and then had another group of people intervene that stopped the attack, that part is still true, but maybe the intention of the bad guys wasn't to kidnap him but just to get him out of the picture. I do think that the bad guys wanted the boy to "come with them", aka kidnap, but then again the more I think about it the more I am unsure if their intention was definitely to kidnap him. I shall edit my original post to reflect the more generic criteria.

I hope I clarified some things!

message 5: by Fox (new)

Fox | 13 comments I appreciated the suggestion, regardless. :)

And thanks! I was worried that people wouldn't read my post because of the wall of text, so I'm glad at least some people do.

☯ DαякєηRнαℓ  ❛ ᶜʳᵒᵘᶜʰᶤᶰᵍ ʰᵘᵐᵃᶰ ; ʰᶤᵈᵈᵉᶰ ᵗᶤᵗᵃᶰ ❜   (darkhearteternal) | 853 comments Ah how I wish I could remain admirable however I must confess... I just basically read and went from your header. And from that I thought about Six of Crows. Pardon (^^") Otherwise, again good luck and besides that book, I can't think of something involving 'thieves'. But with all the info you gave, I'm sure it won't be long.

message 7: by Fox (new)

Fox | 13 comments Ahahahaha well it was still a good attempt :D Maybe when I have time later I will rewrite it and hide the original post in a spoiler tag. XP

message 9: by Fox (new)

Fox | 13 comments Bump

message 10: by Sydney (new)

Sydney | 26 comments Is there any chance that there were aliens involved?
I know this sounds like a funny question, but I know a book that might fit that description (o don’t remember it well enough to be sure) and it’s about aliens.
The book is alienation by Jon S Lewis, by the way

message 11: by Kris (new)

Kris | 34332 comments Mod
Alienation by Jon S. Lewis - Sydney's suggestion

message 12: by Fox (new)

Fox | 13 comments I don't think any aliens were involved! I don't remember the book feeling science fiction-y at all, mostly real world/modern tech stuff, and at most up to the level of including an ancient artifact.

Thanks for the suggestion though!

message 13: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca | 14 comments Is it on this list of teen spy books?


message 14: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix??

message 15: by Kris (new)

Kris | 34332 comments Mod
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix - Hannah's suggestion

message 16: by Fox (new)

Fox | 13 comments I haven't seen the list before, thanks. I'll look through it, and give an update.

It's not the book Among the Hidden. The protagonist isn't a "forbidden" child or anything of that sort. The book is more spy/mission kind of story.

message 17: by Linda (new)

Linda Albrecht-Früh | 7 comments This may be completely wrong but „Stormbreaker“ - Anthony Harowitz is about a guy around 15, I think, who suddenly gets pulled into MI6 to be a spy. And he finds out his uncle was a spy and was killed and now he’s supposed to carry out his mission and stuff like that. Maybe, possibly this is it? :D

message 18: by Kris (new)

Kris | 34332 comments Mod
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz - Linda's suggestion

message 19: by Fox (new)

Fox | 13 comments I have come across Stormbreaker before during my search, and while it does sound like a good lead, I have ruled it out from the synopsis based on the following points:

1) It sounds like Alex (the protagonist) is working solo. From what I recall of the book, I'm pretty sure the protagonist joined and worked with a team (and not just a "team" that provides background support kind of team).
2) This point I'm less clear on, but from what I remember, I think (although I could be wrong) that the "kidnapping" scene in the protagonist's house was the first sign of any real trouble, and before that the kid was just an ordinary person. So I would describe that as the "mystery" finding him, but from Stormbreaker's description, it sounds like he found the "mystery".

Those are my thoughts on the book. I mainly ruled it out based on my first point, in that I'm quite positive that the protagonist got to work in a team, and it doesn't sound like this book has that element. If you remember reading about a kidnapping scene in the book however, do let me know and I'll give it a read to see if it could be it. Thanks! :)

message 20: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38146 comments Mod
Fox, are you still looking for this or did you find it?

message 21: by Fox (new)

Fox | 13 comments Lobstergirl I am most definitely still looking for it! Do you have any leads to contribute? I’m also thinking if I should rewrite what I remember, if laying things out in a different way will help with making the right connections. Do you have any questions or details you would like to ask me about?

I actually read an unsolved whatsthatbook post on Reddit that has since been deleted (omg I just found out about this loss) that resonated with me that we could possibly be searching for the same book. Unfortunately I didn’t save the post details, but I have the post title: Young adult novel series about a number of teenage spies who work for a mysterious old man.

message 22: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 38146 comments Mod
I have no leads. You can certainly add to what you've already written. Remember the cover?

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