Scoop of the e-e-evening: Heist Society

Heist Society sells itself--hops off the shelf and into the patron's hands. Girls take one look at the words "Ally Carter" and "heist" and beeline for the front desk. Or, depending on their taste, it's the sunglasses and "society" that do it. Either way, librarians, don't bother getting up. They'll come to you.

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected. Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help. For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history--or at least her family's (very crooked) history.

I haven't met a lot of readers who are as apathetic toward the Gallagher Girls as I am. I like the books okay, but Carter raises more questions than she answers about her heroine, leaving some of the plots to resemble filler episodes. Society, however, is just the sort of novel I was hoping to enjoy in Carter's previous work.

The characters have a history outside the novel's time frame, and you know they have a future beyond the final pages, too. There are inside jokes and stories and an extremely attractive family atmosphere. The heist is legit and the book stands on its own two feet, but I hear there is a sequel being written as we speak. Hurray.

Dialogue is witty, rarely becoming too witty. The 3rd person prose gets inside the head of a life-long thief: "She'd absolutely adored the library--an entire building where anyone could take things they didn't own and feel no remorse about it."

A couple of weeks ago, I overheard (can you overhear things on the internet?) some people gasping at the fact that Society's film rights hadn't been optioned yet. Last night, I gasped along with them. If even Alice Cullen were to say, "There isn't going to be a movie," I'd reply, "Check your batteries, Magic 8. This novel was written to be filmed."

Luckily, things have changed since January--Warner Bros. picked up the adaption last week.

I had the whole thing planned: Kat is Emma Roberts, of course. Hale... Alex Pettyfer is the obvious choice. But there's the accent. Jeffrey Sumpter? He'd make a great Nick, if they could just trade accents... (though on second thought, they look like brothers.)

Then I noticed this little note: While in the book the protagonist is her teens attending a boarding school, the studio is going to age the adaptation a notch so that the characters are in their early 20s.

Wait, what? Speaking purely from a consumer POV, a) we already have Ocean's 11 and The Italian Job and How to Steal a Million and b) the average age of an Ally Carter fan is closer to 12 than 21. Seriously. The boarding school scene was their ticket. A teen movie would have set this apart. Now, who knows what will happen. Twill be interesting, for sure.

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