Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: How to Lead a Life of Crime By: Kristen Miller

Title: How to Lead a Life of Crime
Author:  Kristen Miller
Published: February 21st, 2013
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars!
Goodreads Summary:

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 Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?

My Thoughts:

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book when I started it but, the idea of a school for criminals definitely intrigued me. This book was so much darker and grittier then I was expecting. Kristen White has created so many interesting characters full of depth  and dark pasts, I really enjoyed this book in the end although I  had mixed feelings throughout the book while I was reading it. 

Flick is not your average teenage boy, he got his nickname because with the flick of his wrist he can pickpocket you  before you even know what happened. Flick is on his own  living on the streets of New York City, after running away from the military school his parents sent him to in Georgia, he decided to visit where his dad grew up, in New York is where he told him he became a man and he just had to see it for himself. All his life Flick has been beaten by his dad and lived with the fact that it was because of his drinking. His dad never loved him like he loved his brother Jude. But, Jude is gone and nothing in Flick's life will be the same.  All Flick is known about the Mandel Academy is that his dad went there and it changed its life, one of the most prestigious schools in the country every graduate becomes a big shot in the world, everything changes when Flick meets Lucian Mandel the head of the school and is recruited to join, what he doesn't know is that it's not just a regular school, it's a school that teaches it's students to become perfect criminals. Full of dangerous games, Flick is determined to be at the top of the class.

I really liked Flick's character, he knew how to play the game to get what he wanted.  He was fierce and tough  but, he fought for the people that he cared about and never gave up even when it seemed completely hopeless. He knew what he was getting into at the school and watching him maneuver his way through his classes and his fellow students was so much fun. 

His love interest Joi, was also such an inspiring character in my opinion. She ran her own sort of homeless shelter, taking in the children who ended up on the street and taking care of them, making sure they had food, clothes, and shelter. She like Flick figures out how to play the game and play it well, and if it wasn't for her I don't know if Flick would have survived  at all.

Every single character in this book had a story, it really made it easy to get into the book, I wanted to learn more about each one and hear about their story and what brought them to the school in the first place. Miller created characters that I felt bonded too and brought my emotions to the surface which really surprised me. I do warn that their is some graphic violence and mentions of drugs and sex in this book. 

Overall, Kristen Miller really surprised me with how much depth and adventure filled this book. As far as in YA I can't think of another book that I have read that is like this one, I really felt like this book reached below the surface of it's characters and even made me think about how our world is, you know it has to be a good book when it makes me think (lol). I haven't read any of her other books but, I am definitely interested in seeing what her other work is like I enjoyed her writing a lot and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! 

Want to know more about How to  Lead a Life of Crime, check out the links below!


  1. This book looks really interesting! The first time I heard about it, I loved the title, but I didn't really know a thing about it. But Flick's history sounds really great!
    Thanks for the review!

  2. Sounds like this book is full of really in-depth characters, which I pretty much have to have to fully enjoy a novel. Great review...I keep seeing this pop up everywhere. Need to get a copy so I can see what all the fuss is about!


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