Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stealing Heaven

Scott, Elizabeth. 2008. Stealing Heaven.

I love Elizabeth Scott. I do. It's true. Bloom and Perfect You were excellent examples of YA romance at its best, its finest. Stealing Heaven is the third novel by Elizabeth Scott.

First sentence: "My first memory is staring through a window into a house that isn't mine."

Meet Danielle. (Or Dani). Though if you were to meet her yourself, she would probably be using a different name. Danielle and her mother, you see, are professional burglars. Yes, you read that correctly. Her mom raised her daughter to be a criminal, a thief. Silver rules their lives.

"Because of silver I can pry the molding off a window without making a sound. I know how to test for plate even though I don't usually need to. I can drive a car, climb into a house, deal with growling dogs. I know exactly how much your average nineteenth century tea service weighs--in troy ounces, even, and how many pieces it has.
For silver I learned to read, write, work numbers. For silver I learned the names of every plantation from Virginia to Florida. I can tell you which ones we've visited, which ones we want to, which ones we never will. I can tell you how to find someone's house no matter where it is. I can tell you what to do if there is silver inside.
The story of my life can be told in silver: in chocolate mills, serving spoons, and services for twelve. The story of my life has nothing to do with me. The story of my life is things. Things that aren't mine, that won't ever be min. It's all I've ever known. I wish it wasn't." (103)

It wasn't necessarily easy to make a thief a sympathetic heroine. But if anyone could do it, it would be Elizabeth Scott. Danielle, though eighteen, has spent her whole life being manipulated, crafted, trained to do her mother's bidding. That doesn't excuse it. And Danielle would be the first to admit it. Danielle knows that her life is wrong. She's aware that this is the last thing she should be doing. She wants a normal life, a normal family, a normal everything. She just doesn't know how to break away from her mother. She doesn't know how to say no, to reject this lifestyle without rejecting her mother.

Life is complicated. Danielle learns this perhaps for the first time when she and her mom enter the town or community of Heaven. This is the first place--that we know of--where Danielle gets a glimpse of what life could be or should be. A glimpse of what it would be like to have a friend, to have a boyfriend. The love interest. Kyle. Any guesses on his occupation?

I can't say that Stealing Heaven would be my first pick of Scott's three novels. But it was a good, solid read.

You can read the first three chapters here.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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