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How to Lead a Life of Crime Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (February 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595145184
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595145185
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Having run away from his privileged background, Flick survives by being a pickpocket on the streets of New York while planning revenge on his father for the death of his beloved younger brother and his mother's resulting suicide. He has a place to sleep and food to eat thanks to Joi, a mysterious girl who acts as protector to a group of runaways. Flick loves Joi and admires her, though he doesn't understand her generosity; for him, counting on and caring for others is a weakness. After a well-dressed man named Lucian Mandel asks him to break into an apartment and Flick succeeds, Lucian offers the teen a scholarship to the Mandel Academy, promising to give him proof of his father's guilt at graduation. Flick agrees, but has second thoughts when he realizes that the school prepares students to become powerful criminals through training in assassination, drug-dealing, blackmail, etc. He soon realizes that students who do not graduate disappear, permanently. When Mandel enrolls Joi, Flick is willing to give his life to keep her safe and get her out. The subject matter might appeal to reluctant readers, but the intricate plot and length will discourage most. It would also be expected that there would be a gritty realism to the vocabulary, so the constant modification of a certain four letter word into an "expletive deleted" type of format is not only jarring, but irritating. Purchase where the author's other titles are popular.-Suanne B. Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FLα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

To escape his father’s beatings and to protect his younger brother, Flick has kept busy as a pickpocket on the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. His only refuge is Joi (pronounced “Joey”), a young woman who steals to feed street urchins. Enter Lucian Mandel, the proprietor of Mandel Academy, a prestigious school that takes troubled kids off the street and teaches them how to become rich and famous by unscrupulous means. Mandel solicits Flick to win a bet with Flick’s father—and it doesn’t take Flick long to realize what happens to students who don’t succeed. The plot thickens as Mandel brings Joi in with the next group of recruits; she wins their confidence even as she strives to topple Mandel. Even with twists, turns, some macabre scenes, and occasional raw language, this will grab teen readers just as Miller’s Kiki Strike books grabbed middle-grade students. A thick, satisfying read that ought to keep readers up late. Grades 9-12. --Petty, J. B.

More About the Author

Kirsten Miller grew up in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina. At seventeen, she hit the road and moved to New York City, where she lives to this day. Kirsten is the author of the acclaimed Kiki Strike books, which tell the tale of the delinquent girl geniuses who keep Manhattan safe. Her latest novel, The Eternal Ones (August 2010) is a twisted story of reincarnation, true love, and sinister secret societies.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
There's something undeniably dark and gritty about this novel.
Yoon-Ji
It's not something younger kids should read and is definitely geared towards mature young adults.
Lili Feinberg
Flick's character was really interesting; he's so conflicted, and he sees things in his head.
Black Plum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Agee on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
First of all let me start off by saying that this book far exceeded my expectations! I was not expecting it to be so good and have me coming back for more. I literally could not stop thinking about this book when I stopped reading it. It is a very intense book and I would not recommend it if you are super squeamish because there are some pretty graphic scenes. The language used is intense, but when it comes to using the "f" word, the author simply puts something like "f---" instead of spelling it out, though it is quite frequently used like that.

The story is brilliant and you will feel like you know these characters personally. I rarely read a book that I simply cannot quit talking and thinking about, but this is one of them. It's action packed, every chapter is good and has a purpose, and it is a very satisfying read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BookY on February 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Who wouldn't love a book about an exclusive academy for criminals? Cool right? From reading the synopsis, I was expecting a certain type of story and it actually turned out to be a bit darker and grittier than I anticipated which was a nice surprise and for the most part, I liked it.

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book and getting to know our main character, Flick. I usually don't fully buy it when a female author writes a male first person narrative but Miller knows what she's doing and in this case, it worked. The writing is good -- straightforward and edgy and easy to read. I especially thought the parts with Peter Pan were fantastic (you'll see), set with a mood that held just the right touch of eeriness combined with a hint of melancholy to make for some really great scenes.

As always, I'm a sucker for the academy setting and I enjoyed following Flick's maneuvering within the ranks of the elite there. I was completely sucked into the story and barely came up for air in the first half.

Unfortunately, my total and absolute enjoyment of the book didn't last and I know exactly where my interest starting fading --

**SPOILERS**
-- it was soon after Joi entered the academy. It was strange because in one sense, the pace of the story actually picks up after that and yet, I don't know, I just wasn't enjoying it as much anymore. I respected her character and everything she said and did but still, there was just something off-putting about her to me. I think it was because she was just too perfect and good. It was like she just pops into the story and opens everyone's eyes and solves all the problems. I guess I don't like my protagonists to have a fairy godmother show up and make everything better for them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gbs on October 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Shallow, predictable, yet interesting book. Good at the beginning but slowly becomes worse.
Overall an okay book. Summary is misleading.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Maggie on April 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
3.5 stars

I started out really liking this book but the more I read the less I liked it. It actually came to remind me of an adult book I read last year, The 500: A Novel, which I really, really hated.

If I had to write a description for this book I would never mention Flick's old flame. I think that aspect of the description is totally bogus. This is all in the beginning of the book so I don't think I'm spoiling anything, but Flick and the "old flame," Joi, are still together. In fact, when Flick enters the school the one thing he regrets about joining is that he'll lose Joi. And, throughout the majority Flick's time at school, which Joi isn't present for, Flick continues to miss her and fantasize about her. This book is one of those cases where they description teases something and then I find myself just waiting and waiting for that to happen and when it doesn't happen until three-quarters of the way through the book, I find that really frustrating.

Backtracking a little, the three-quarters of the book where I was just waiting were actually really good and I wish I could have experienced them for what they were rather than anticipating what was to come. I found the idea of the Mandel school fascinating and reading the course descriptions and hearing about Flick's classes was so interesting. I totally believe it's plausible.

There are a lot of supporting characters, something I don't normally like, and while I did have a little trouble keeping track of all of them I did like them and I thought they all served a purpose.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm stilling in progress reading, but great book,. with a intresting plot. One of my favorit authors, shipping and handling/service was great.
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By Haley Henderson on January 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very real world, to the point. A bit on the adult side but not anything major. Moves quickly which I love, hard to put down, all around amazing. Would recommend to anyone 10 & over... just amazing
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By Full of Snark on January 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written, fast moving plot, unique voice. I loved the characters and would definitely strongly recommend this book to everyone.
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By Laurenstar on December 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not what I normally read but not at all what I expected either! It was a very good read, I simply couldn't wait to finish it! It was great!
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