Sunday, April 12, 2015

Review: Grift by Jason Mosberg

Why would a 17-year-old girl pretend to be a high class escort?

Piper is a con artist whose canvas is the city of Las Vegas. She rolls with a crew of young grifters including a card-counting genius, a tourist-hustling pool shark, and a pocket-picking magician. Together, this crew of teenage outlaws live with their mentor Max in the penthouse of a hotel casino. They work hard and play harder. But unlike the others, Piper must balance her hyper-real Vegas fantasy with the reality of raising her 14-year-old half-sister Sophie. Disaster strikes when the Las Vegas mafia kidnaps Sophie and demands a multimillion-dollar ransom. With only five days to piece together the money, the crew races the clock to save her.

My Rating


My Review

If anyone talks to me about books for more than thirty or so seconds, they'll learn that I appreciate the dark stuff in the way that people appreciate warm weather or fine wines. (Alright, maybe it's a little bit creepier than those examples.) I like a novel that isn't afraid to get down and dirty, and the promise of that is what drew me to Grift in the first place. In reality, plenty of teenagers are put in "adult" situations, so why shouldn't that be reflected in YA?

Well, I was not disappointed in Grift, which was a wild ride that got realistically and deliciously gritty. Piper was a great voice, in the fact that she felt like an actual teenager. Not because her way of speaking and thinking was dumbed down, but because it wasn't. She was intelligent and had personality, and enough sense she gathered from all the situations she had been in. A little something like a YA antihero (which, by the way, I'd love to see more of), I thoroughly enjoyed reading from her perspective.

A reason why the characterization of Grift was so good is because the characters all had flaws. They acted like humans instead of some kind of superhuman literary images of perfection (who may even go on and on about how "bad" they are though they do nothing wrong). These characters don't always do the right thing. They can be selfish and greedy and make bad decisions and it's so wonderfully wrong and so wonderfully human.

Despite the fact that this is contemporary, a whole new world is created in the novel. Because it gives a believable account of what it would be like for teenage grifters in Las Vegas. It almost comes out as heightened reality, and will suck readers right into the story. Not to mention high stakes that would have my acting teach salivating. Although the idea of teenagers racking up six-digits in a short amount of time to spend on a poker game seems ridiculous when looking at my college tuition rates, it definitely makes for some heart-pounding action.

Because the suspense is great, the action doesn't stop, and readers will probably be holding their breath for a couple of pages as they wait to see what happens next. I have very few complaints, and would definitely recommend the novel to those who enjoy high-stakes and taking a walk on the darker side. Grift has a very cinematic quality that makes for an enjoyable an relatively quick read.