April 1, 2013

Review: How to Lead a Life of Crime by: Kirsten Miller

How to Lead a Life of Crime by: Kirsten Miller (2013)
Publisher: Razor Bill (Penguin)
434 pages
Genre: YA/Thriller

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?

My Review

This book is not for the faint of heart, but it sure did rock my world. I've never read a book quite like this before and let me tell you…I’m still salivating over it. It is unique and disturbing, in an awesome kind of way. I'm going to keep this review short and sweet, because I want you to realize how awesome it is and go get a copy for yourself. I don't want to give away all of its great secrets.

Warning: this book is graphic, there is blood, cursing, and much more. The book is titled How to Lead a Life of Crime, and the Mandel Academy is trying to teach just that to teenagers, no horrible criminal topics are left untaught. I’m warning you because even after reading the synopsis I didn't realize it would be so dark. It was one of those books where I read it and thoroughly enjoyed it, but it kind of made me feel dirty. I was so entranced and thrilled and the writing was superb. I can’t tell you how many times my mouth feel open in disbelief. I laughed a lot, even though at times I felt like I really shouldn't. Wait until you read about the different classes these kids take, hilariously horrible.

All the characters were interesting but the main character Flick was complex, entertaining, awesome and bad. Here is one of my favorite lines by Flick. It was one of those...did he really just say that moments.
“Still, she’s a little too Disney princess for my taste. Some guys like perfection, but I've never been interested in playing with dolls.” – pg. 132

So you are probably wondering if I think this book is so incredibly awesome why am I only giving it 4.5 stars? There are two reasons. First, it took roughly 50 pages into the book before I finally became interested enough to sit down and read it for more than 15 minutes. Second, the climax could have been a little better.

I honestly think this book would get more teenage guys to read. Although I’m recommending this book to pretty much everyone (and I mean everyone) I think they would enjoy it the most.

If you're looking for a stand-alone novel to read, this one is a sure bet. I don't run across a lot of stand-alone novels and this one soared above my expectations. If you don't mind some intense fighting and other badness then you will love it.


  1. A stand-alone? Yes! I've seen this one around, but it hasn't really grabbed my attention until now. Will definitely need to check it out :)

  2. This sounds like my kind of book! I like to claim a wide range of tastes but sometimes I can be such a boy when it comes to fighting and gory-stuff in general. For some reason I had this as maybe- read on Goodreads but I just bumped it up to to-read and requested it at my library! Thanks for recommending! :)

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

    1. I can't wait to see what you think of this book! It was a great read, better than what I expected.


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