I used to be enthusiastic about Ally Carter when I discovered her Gallagher Girls series, but that didn't last long. Initially I liked it and positively reviewed I'd Tell You I Love You, but then I'd Have to Kill You which was ridiculously titled but not bad. The next two in the series were awful, though. I didn't like Don't Judge a Girl by her Cover which I reviewed negatively back in February of 2013, nor did I like Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy. Normally I won't read on in a series if I dislike one, but in this case I had both novels from the library at the same time and decided to give it a try. I wished I hadn't! Cam, the main character, had become too stupid for polite words.
I got a chance to read a 'spies and thieves' author promotion collection in July 2013, titled Double Crossed and liked it, which encouraged me to give a different young adult series by this author a chance, which means she's lucky indeed when there are so many authors competing for my attention. This particular novel turned out to be better than expected when I began it, but over the course of the novel, it proved to be decidedly sluggish in actually getting on with the story, and some of it made no sense whatsoever. Worse than this, the ending was remarkably limp.
Kat is a thief in a family of thieves, but she has conned her way into a boarding school to get out of her family's way of life. Despite this, she's dragged back into that life when someone frames her father for a theft he didn't commit, and she herself is framed for a stunt on the school premises which results in her expulsion (in quite flimsy premises I have to say). The man her father appears to have crossed is a seriously bad and very powerful Italian mobster. The person who framed her and got her kicked out of school is someone she's not even angry towards. This seemed not only to be entirely inappropriate, but to be out of character for her. She wasn't remotely pissed off with him for indulging in what frankly was at best a form of harassment, and at worst an exertion of control over her - control she had fought tooth and nail to free herself from. Her response (or rather complete lack of one) simply wasn't credible, nor was her complete capitulation to fall back in with these guys and save her estranged father.
She seems the kind of character who would be so peeved that these people got her expelled from a school in which she was doing well, that she would simply disappear and ditch them all to their fate, but she doesn't. She buckles under and goes along with their scheme, which made me dislike her considerably. I began wishing we could have kept her in school and follower her career there! It might have made for more engaging reading. On the other hand, she had four fingers and a thumb. Kidding. No, on the other hand, she was a very confident and capable young woman who knew how to get things done, which was no doubt why they'd dragged her into this. She immediately takes charge and gets things moving, but her easy access to money and unfettered and unescorted travel around the world is a bit of a stretch. Did no one ever wonder why she wasn't in school?!
I had a couple of other problems. Kat was presented as a sharp operator, yet she lets a new person into their crew at the last minute when none was needed, which seemed way off to me. It felt like she was constantly pining after for Hale, her old friend, which was annoying and made her look weak and pathetic. She'd had her chance at him, and rejected it along with everything he represented, yet now she's suddenly all a-flutter over him despite the fact that he's clearly a womanizing jerk? That stunk, because it made her look really stupid, and brought back the ipecac taste of Cam from the other series.
The ending was so flaccid that it proved to be the final straw. How she dealt with the mobster made zero sense given all that had happened. Why the mobster was so obsessive about her and so convinced her father having stolen his property was another big hole in the plot. it never felt real - it felt like a big game the author was playing with me. So. overall, I don't consider this a worthy read, and I do not plan on following the series. I'm done with Ally Carter! Next author please, right this way!