Children's books and book reviews - reading resource for kids, teachers, librarians, parents

Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Thieves Like Us* by Stephen Cole - young adult book review


Thieves Like Us
by Stephen Cole
Young adult 352 pages Bloomsbury USA April 2006 Hardcover    

In Thieves Like Us, author Stephen Cole introduces readers to a group of teenagers with remarkable talents. First is Jonah, a computer hacker with an amazing knack for solving codes. Patch is a one-eyed locksmith who can crack any lock in a matter of seconds. Motti can get the gang through any security system. Con is fluent in eight languages and can use her charm to convince anyone to do anything; she calls it mesmerizing. Tye is a Haitian expert on transport and a human lie detector.

The five of them have been brought together by Nathaniel Coldhardt. He gives them fancy clothes, big-screen televisions - any material possessions they could want - plus lots of cash if they can complete their missions.

What they do for Coldhardt in return is simply make use of their magnificent talents. Their benefactor is hired by various people to do their dirty work for them. The five teenagers, who call themselves Coldhardt's children, are thieves, this much is true. They are the best thieves in the world, with their diverse and very useful talents, as well as their special training in martial arts.

When Jonah is taken from a youth detention center, where he is serving a one year sentence for theft, he doesn't know what to think. Con and Patch rescue him, make his fantasies of escape come true (though, he thinks, those hadn't really included a kid with a fake eye or a gorgeous blonde), and he is asked to join their family, to be one of Coldhardt's children. On one hand, it is a good life, better than anything he has known before. On the other hand, it is terrible dangerous and immoral. And what happens to him later, when he's been as useful as he can be to Coldhardt?

He comes to care for Patch, Con, Motti, and Tye, though, and, no matter what he thinks about Coldhardt or what they're doing, he has to help when two of the group are kidnapped by Samraj, who wants the ancient secret Coldhart has been employed to steal. Will they find it? What, exactly, will they do with it if they do? And, most important to anyone involved, what exactly is it?

Stephen Cole's pulls you in, leaving you breathless until you're finished with the last page. When ancient tombs, global corporations, and secret societies are all involved, it's got to be an interesting story. It's more than that, though; it's the story of finding the first place, in your entire life, where you really belong, the way Jonah does.

There are other recent stories about young people brought together because of their remarkable talents for purposes that might be frowned upon by law enforcement. Kiki Strike: Inside The Shadow City is one title that comes to mind. This book stands out in that small selection of books, certainly, but also in the world of young adult fiction as a whole. Few authors can match Stephen Cole's storytelling ability and creativity.

On the negative side, one of the threads of the story - Jonah's curiosity about previous children of Coldhardt - is not resolved, leaving an unfinished feeling at the end of the book. Hopefully, that means Stephen Cole is writing a sequel, but I found no mention of it. I hope that's the case.

Even if there is not a sequel, Thieves Like Us, with its likeable characters and fascinating storyline, is an all-around fabulous book.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

click here to browse children's board book reviews
click here to browse children's picture book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young adult book reviews
click here to browse parenting book reviews
web reviews
  Jocelyn Pearce/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

For grown-up fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction book reviews,
visit our sister site Curled Up With a Good Book (