Author: Kirsten Miller
Published: February 21st 2013, by Penguin Teen
Series: Stand alone book
Genre: YA, fiction, dark humour
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?
This book was absolutely brilliant. It’s a very dark, dangerous book with a lot of black humour and I loved it.
So what this book is basically about is a young boy seeking to get revenge from his father. He is enlisted to the ultimate privileged academy, Mandel Academy, to help him get the revenge. However, this school isn’t an ordinary school where student learn Maths, English and Science. Students at this school learn subjects such as hacking, fighting and all sorts of other criminal acts. In addition, students seem to disappear each week. The school has a dark secret and Flick aims to reveal it when his girlfriend is also enlisted in the school.
The character Flick is a very admirable character. He has suffered a lot and the only way he can see to alleviate that suffering is if he seeks out revenge against his father. In fact his made it his lifelong mission to do just that. Flick is the only way in the book that has a humour, even if it is a dark and he uses that side to his personality in order to get by with things. Whilst everything at the academy comes easy to him, he also has an emotional and human side, which is something that nearly everyone at the school doesn’t have. There were many instances where Flick went out his way to save another fellow student. I loved Flick, especially when you know he was fighting his own demons too. Flick constantly hallucinates his little brother as Peter Pan and talks to him on a regularly basis. Despite the fact knowing it’s just his subconscious, he finds peace whenever Peter visits him.
Joi is Flick’s girlfriend and before she was enlisted in the academy, I just assumed she was a very sensitive girl who didn’t have the attitude to protect herself in a brawl. Boy was I wrong. Once she entered into the academy, she knew exactly what she had to do in order to take down the academy. Not only is she extremely smart and cunning but she very quickly mad herself known and reached the top of the ladder. She even surprised Flick. I think she was really kick-ass.
As I said before, the book is a very dark book. There is a lot of blood, deaths and other gruesome secrets. It’s not your average light-hearted young adult book. Nearly all the students here are either psychopaths or sociopaths (this two similarities is a central part of the book) and have no feelings when it comes to killing. It’s like Hunger Games where the weakest are eliminated.....but inside a school. The principle is even more insane compared to everyone else and there are some things he does that are just absolutely shocking.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book!
“Where's the course called How to Lead a Life of Crime? That's what this is about, isn't it? You've got everyone thinking this is the best school in the country, but it's really just a Hogwarts for hustlers.”