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Tokyo Heist Paperback – June 13, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


“Dangerous yakuza (Japanese mobsters), blackmail letters and FBI stings. A proficient caper spiced up by Violet's eye for art.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This art heist has twists and turns, romance, and the happily-ever-after that many will be rooting for.”—Booklist

“Renn’s fun debut takes a kitchen-sink approach, throwing together romance, mystery, and action in a way that echoes the manga that the 16-year-old Violet loves to read.” —Publishers Weekly

“Will enthrall readers who love action.” —

“A fast-paced and engaging mystery with a spunky protagonist.” —VOYA

“The plot has lots of twists and turns, leaving readers on edge… Readers will cheer for Violet as she uses her wits to outsmart the adults.” —SLJ

“We can't stop talking about action-packed YA mystery novel Tokyo Heist…author Diana Renn's first YA novel, but we certainly hope it isn't her last!” —

“It’s rare for YA heroines to have such specific, developed interests, and Violet filtering her investigation through her passion for manga, art, and Japan makes her seem like a real, relatable teenager.” —A.V. Club

“Young adult mysteries do not get any better than this.”—Peter Abrahams, author of the Echo Falls Mysteries

“Irresistible. I couldn’t put it down!”—Alane Ferguson, author of the Forensic Mysteries

“Adventures don’t get any more thrilling than Tokyo Heist.”—Kristen Miller, author of The Eternal Ones series

About the Author

Diana Renn grew up in Seattle and now lives in Boston. She has taught ESL and writing, most recently at Boston University. She has published numerous short stories and essays, and she is also the Fiction Editor at YARN (Young Adult Review Network), an award-winning online magazine featuring short-form writing for teens. She is the author of several ESL textbooks, as well as the YA mystery novels Latitude Zero and Tokyo Heist. She is an avid traveler.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (June 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142426547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142426548
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Diana Renn writes novels for young adults, featuring globetrotting teens, international intrigue, and more than a dash of mystery. Her novels, all published by Viking Children's Books/Penguin Young Readers Group, include TOKYO HEIST (2012), LATITUDE ZERO (2014) and BLUE VOYAGE (coming October 13, 2015). TOKYO HEIST was an Indie Next Pick and optioned for film. LATITUDE ZERO has been named a Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall 2014. Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Huffington Post, The Writer, Writer's Digest, Brain Child, Literary Mama, and numerous literary journals. Diana is also the Fiction Editor at YARN (Young Adult Review Network -, an award-winning online journal. She grew up in Seattle and now lives outside of Boston with her husband and son.

Visit her at or follow her on Twitter (@dianarenn).

Customer Reviews

Diana Renn's Tokyo Heist offers the reader a richness that makes her book extraordinary.
Carol Antoinette Peacock
They're my absolute favorite and what I like best about reading them is the anticipation in wondering just how all the pieces of the puzzle will fall.
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids Book Reviews
I give this book 5 stars and recommend it to anyone who wants a good mystery/art heist book to read.
Kid Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Liviania VINE VOICE on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
TOKYO HEIST is Diana Renn's first novel. It's a mystery that takes protagonist Violet Rossi from the streets of Seattle to the ryokan of Kyoto. At first, I was very, very worried that I would hate TOKYO HEIST. The press release claims, "[I]t's the Di Vinci Code for the teen generation with an exotic Asian twist." That description made me cringe. Violet doesn't make the best first impression either. This is going to make me sound so old, but her bad work ethic annoyed me.

But the Asian part of TOKYO HEIST is more than an exotic background. The book begins shortly after a set of Van Gogh sketches are stolen from the Yamadas, who are employing Violet's father to paint a mural in their main office in Tokyo, Japan. Once Violet and her father go to Japan, almost all of the other characters are Japanese. Violet's fellow lady sleuth is Reika, a friend who is half-Japanese, half-American, and all happy to have someone she can speak her first language with. Even before the acknowledgements at the end of the novel, it is clear that Renn did her research. She pays attention to cultural detail.

As for Violet, she never realizes that her comic book store boss was normal rather than overbearing. (Seriously, being asked to stock the store and not spend your time doodling or talking with a friend? Totally reasonable. Her former boss even tells her about a comic contest she can enter.) Fortunately, that's a very minor character quibble and most people aren't going to care about it like me. Plus, she proves her mettle in other ways. She's dedicated to solving the mystery and protecting her father. She keeps working on her own comic, Kimono Girl, (including revising!) and helps the Yamadas catalog their art collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hannah @ Paperback Treasures on December 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I wanted to love this book - the concept sounds cute and fun. But there were just too many things that bugged me, so Tokyo Heist ended up being pretty hard for me to get through.

When I first read the description, I thought I'd love all the stuff about Japanese culture because it's such a unique backdrop for a YA novel. And I did like finding out stuff about Japan. A friend of mine is kind of obsessed with all things Japanese, and it was fun seeing things she'd told me about in this novel. But after a while, it got too much. I lost track of all the Japanese terms, and it just got annoying. The same thing goes for everything related to art and manga - it was interesting in the beginning, but I got bored by it towards the end.

I know not every book has to be character-driven, but characters are what make books worthwhile for me, and I was not a fan of the ones in Tokyo Heist. Violet is a flat main character - she's the typical quiet girl we've read about a million times, the only thing making her stand out being the manga. It also bugged me how immature Violet is - she's sixteen, but she acts younger, and her immaturity and naivete had me rolling my eyes quite a few times. The rest of the characters don't have real personalities, either, they're just kind of... there.

I was expecting a fun, fast-paced mystery, but that's not what I got from Tokyo Heist. The mystery somehow managed to be both predictable and confusing - it was predictable because the villain was obvious from the start, and confusing because there were so many minor details that I found hard to keep track of, although the latter might have been because I read the book so slowly. Either way, the story dragged on, and the mystery bored me.

Then there's the romance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tara Gonzalez on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It's no secret how much I've been looking forward to reading Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn - and once I got it, I admit, I held off reading Tokyo Heist for a bit because what if it didn't hold up to my expectations? I would be devastated! (Please tell me I'm not the only one who does crazy things like this.)

Thankfully, Tokyo Heist totally lived up to my expectations. I was immediately sucked in by Violet and her love of manga and art and the cute boy and the MYSTERY. I was a little worried for about 20 pages because I was like DO THEY EVEN GO TO TOKYO I NEED TO KNOW but duh, they do. Silly impatient me.

Okay, let's start with Violet. I know absolutely nothing about Manga, and my knowledge of Japanese culture extends to reading the blog of a girl I know who studied abroad in Japan for a year. So I don't know a lot, basically. But Violet is so into manga and Japanese culture and I kind of loved living vicariously through her as she explored Japan for the first time.

Also, I absolutely loved the way Violet incorporated her real life mystery into the manga she was actually creating as the story went on - Kimono Girl sounds kind of awesome and I would definitely read the manga if it were a real thing!

And, Violet is ballsy. As much as I love to read about mystery, I don't know that I would have the guts to snoop around Seattle and Tokyo when Japanese gangsters are involved, you know?

Another thing I loved about Tokyo Heist is that it wasn't entirely focused on romance. Oh, there's romance alright - and it's MY FAVOURITE KIND - but Violet is way more focused, for the most part, on who stole the bajillion dollar Van Gogh painting and what not, which kind of rocked.
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