How to Lead a Life of Crime
Kirsten Miller’s writing is compelling and complex, without being confusing. Creator of the Kiki Strike series, she has a natural knack for writing a page-turner with likable and relatable characters, no matter how little we can relate to their situation. This book’s concept is dark, but non-threatening to the reader. The characters were fun to read, too.
"Every character was likable and touching, and Miller’s quick wit always made me feel like I was a part of the action."
HOW TO LEAD A LIFE OF CRIME’s main character is a teenage thief/pick-pocket/con-artist (whatever you want to call him), living on the edge of society in Manhattan. He lives this life successfully, until fate brings him to the Mendel school academy, the same school where his father studied. At this school, he is the top of his class, and his goal is to finally prove his father is a murderer. At this school, everyone learns something important and new about their craft, with the hope of completing their journey into a life of crime.
I look at the main character, Flick, as a heroic character. Can someone with backwards morals be a hero? Can his goal be good by his own rules, or does he have to be working towards the greater good of man? In my eyes, as long as there is something that a character is working towards that will create change, good or bad, then that character is a hero. Flick is a heroic character. He has many goals and rules in his life, and he always attempts to follow through with them.
Joi’s character is a mother figure, someone that seems wise beyond her years. She is there to nurture and guide people to what could be a brighter future, though most of these children’s futures are very dark.
Honestly, I loved the dialogue and lengthy descriptions of the Mendel theory, but the characters were what always drew me to the story. Every character was likable and touching, and Miller’s quick wit always made me feel like I was a part of the action. I felt like no matter how foreign the subject matter was to my life, I could still empathize and relate to the characters, and that was the greatest strength of the book.
Reviewed by Ruth Vandevanter on March 1, 2013