Parents' Guide to

How to Lead a Life of Crime

By Julie A. Carlson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

School-for-criminals mystery turns very dark and violent.

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Known for her adventurous tween series Kiki Strike and her romantic teen series The Eternal Ones, Kirsten Miller ventures into darker territory with HOW TO LEAD A LIFE OF CRIME. As with her other novels, readers will will jump right into the action, and they'll root for Flick to solve the mystery behind Mandel Academy (think Hogwarts for hardened criminals) and get the bad guys responsible for causing terror within its hallowed halls. The novel also weaves the story of Peter Pan, Wendy, and the Lost Boys into the narrative by having Flick envision his dead brother as Peter Pan, and sees Joi as a stand-in for Wendy.

The first part of the book is realistic and gritty, with a thrilling mystery for Flick to solve. But toward the middle, it strays into science-fiction territory that might leave some readers scratching their heads. All in all, the novel leads readers on a roller-coaster ride of emotions and contains many surprises.

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