Thursday, August 18, 2016

ARC Review: Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor

Title: Thieving Weasels
Written by: Billy Taylor
Published: August 23, 2016 by Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Group)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Skip O’Rourke is dragged into one last con . . . but he doesn’t know the con’s on him in this funny, page-turning debut YA for fans of Winger and Ocean’s Eleven.

Cameron Smith attends an elite boarding school and has just been accepted to Princeton University alongside his beautiful girlfriend, Claire. Life for Cameron would be perfect, except that Cameron Smith is actually Skip O’Rourke, and Skip O’Rourke ran away from his grifter family four years ago…along with $100,000 of their “earnings” (because starting a new life is not cheap). But when his uncle Wonderful tracks him down, Skip’s given an ultimatum: come back to the family for one last con, or say good-bye to life as Cameron.

“One last con” is easier said than done when Skip’s family is just as merciless (and just as manipulative) as they’ve always been, and everyone around him is lying. Skip may have given up on crime, but there’s one lesson he hasn’t forgotten: always know your mark. And if you don’t know who your mark is . . . it’s probably you.

Witty and irresistibly readable, this standout debut will always keep you guessing.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at BEA. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I first learned about this book at BEA. It was a part of a panel discussion with some books I was really excited to read, and it sounded fantastic and a book I would love. Unfortunately, it was not all what I was expecting. And sometimes that can be a good thing but in the case of this book, it made for an only okay read.

I went into this book expecting it to be a well-plotted heist novel. And honestly that was the one thing that was closest to what I was hoping for. While it wasn't so intricately plotted, there were moments from the book that came back in a big way when it came to the ultimate conclusion. Things fell together in an interesting way and there were even a few surprises. However I think a few things just felt like left field reveals to me. I like my mysteries to have clues pointing me in the direction of the ultimate reveal and that's not what happened here. But I think because of a certain aspect of this book, it couldn't do that. I can't fault it for that, it just isn't what blows me away.

I think however the pacing may have one of the things that also made this only an okay read for me. This a book that took a little while for the heist storyline to kick in. I typically don't mind a book that slowly builds to an interesting conclusion but it took until about 3/4 of the book for me to really be hooked. Because that's when the heist or scam aspect of the story really got going. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing, but by then I was just not feeling very interested and it was hard to pull me out of that feeling.

But this is a short read, which may actually have been one of the things that didn't work for me either. It only took me about a day to read it, and honestly that was to it's benefit, it didn't drag and was easy to get through. But I think perhaps that was because this was a basic story. I would have like a little more especially when it came to the main plot around the heist. The ARC that I read is only 250 pages but the finished copy says that it's 320 pages. I really hope that those extra 70 pages bulk up the heist aspect. If there was a more complex story then I may have enjoyed it a little bit more.

What I also think may have helped me connect with the book, especially in the beginning is if I had enjoyed the characters. I usually love characters who are morally grey and odious, especially thieves and crooks. That was one of the main reasons that I wanted to read this book. But the characterizations, especially the secondary characters, felt a little flat to me. Skip was okay. I respected his desire to get away from his family, and I honestly don't mind the methods he used to achieve that but he just didn't jump off of the page to me. I think that was the case with a lot of the characters, they were interesting enough but not totally engaging.

But I think that explains my feelings of the book, interesting enough but not totally engaging. On the whole Thieving Weasels was an okay read. It had some interesting moments including a heist/scam with some surprises and dubious characters but in the end, I didn't quite take it to the next level.

I give Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor 7 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow/Bypass. As I said, the finished copy may have more of what I was missing so if you are interested in this book then maybe wait until then to read it or borrow a copy of the book. It was't what I was expecting and it only ended up being okay for me.

Have you read Thieving Weasels? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I hadn't heard of this before but the Winger and Oceans combo sounds intriguing!

  2. Bummer. I passed on this book at BEA. It sounds like I made a good choice. I started Spontaneous two days ago, and I'm really enjoying it so far. The sarcastic tone (something I usually hate) is making it a really fun read despite the combusting teenagers. :)

  3. I really wasn't a fan of Skip, so I liked this one less than you did. I was okay with him at first, but the book just seemed to go downhill for me. And I agree that the heist details could have been way better.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  4. Hmmm, not really drawn into the book by the blurb, and after reading your review I'm gonna be skipping it.