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How to Lead a Life of Crime
by Kirsten Miller

Overview - 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.
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More About How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
 
 
 
Overview
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?

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781595145185
  • ISBN-10: 1595145184
  • Publisher: Penguin Group USA
  • Publish Date: February 2013
  • Page Count: 434
  • Reading Level: Ages 15-UP


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Action & Adventure - General
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Law & Crime

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-12-24
  • Reviewer: Staff

Ever since running away from military school, 17-year-old Flick has been making ends meet as a thief on the streets of New York City; his eventual goal is to avenge the death of his brother. After a heist, Flick is recruited to join the prestigious Mandel Academy, a private school whose actual purpose is to train kids in everything from extortion to murder. Flick sees this as a chance to hone his skills and gain access to his abusive criminal father (who is on the board of directors), but he gets caught up in internal politics, especially after some of his fellow students die during training. Miller (The Eternal Ones) is fully aware that she’s making use of some familiar clichés and tropes (Flick calls the school “Hogwarts for hustlers,” at one point), but she keeps every character—from Flick’s Faginesque girlfriend to the calculating head of the school—grounded and believable, giving the story’s horrors substantial impact. The resulting book often violently belies its cute title, in ways that will have readers racing to the end. Ages 14–up. Agent: William Morris Endeavor. (Feb.)

 
BookPage Reviews

A school for budding criminals

I love a good boarding school novel. Kirsten Miller’s Mandel Academy is different—and far more disturbing—than any other fictional boarding school I’ve come across. The main character, Flick, dubs the school “Hogwarts for hustlers,” and the course catalog reads like a series of ugly jokes. “Mining the Masses: Big Profits from Little People” and “Let Them Eat Cake: Exploiting America’s Obesity Epidemic” are just two of the courses at this school that also teaches the fine arts of hacking, blackmail and assassination.

Flick, a skillful pickpocket, is a “legacy kid,” the son of a Mandel alumnus. But Flick enrolls in the academy not because he aspires to be like his dad but because he longs to take him down and expose his secret, murderous history. As Flick rises to the top of the class, he discovers just how sinister the academy is. When his “one good thing,” his girlfriend Joi, winds up at the academy, too, she shows him that there may be another option, one that will keep Flick alive while maintaining his moral integrity, one that will turn Mandel upside down.

In How to Lead a Life of Crime, Miller has created a gruesome school environment, one in which ambition turns bloodthirsty and loyalties are tested. Along the way, she raises significant questions about the origins of evil, the capability of the individual and the distribution of wealth and power. Readers might not want to enroll in the Mandel Academy, but their time spent there will certainly make them think.

 
BAM Customer Reviews

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