Sunday 29 March 2009

Stealing Heaven / Elizabeth Scott

Summary - Dani has been trained as a thief by the best—her mother. Together, they move from town to town, targeting wealthy homes and making a living by stealing antique silver. They never stay in one place long enough to make real connections, real friends—a real life.

In the beach town of Heaven, though, everything changes. For the first time, Dani starts to feel at home. She's making friends and has even met a guy. But these people can never know the real Dani—because of who she is. When it turns out that her new friend lives in the house they've targeted for their next job and the cute guy is a cop, Dani must question where her loyalties lie: with the life she's always known—or the one she's always wanted.

Review - I celebrated the generosity of Elizabeth Scott with an E.Scott-a-thon last weekend and this was the book that made the biggest impact on me. The book is honest with a style that I can recognise as distinctly Scottish (meaning Elizabeth not the country) in tone. Having been an excited E.Scott vlog watcher of late, I can hear her reading each word to me so I - 1) possess a vivid imagination, 2) am going bonkers or 3) Elizabeth Scott has mastered teleportation and is in fact reading to me.

Dani is a character I haven't come across before. A teen always on the move, assuming different identities, robbed of friends. It's a truly sad existence and yet Dani doesn't allow herself or the reader to feel this sadness instead we get a wonderfully spiky internal dialogue that I couldn't help but lap up. The need for stability is essential to a child's upbringing and yet Dani has been robbed of this. Her mother is beautiful, glamorous and very good at what she does, but her parenting skills are found wanting. Despite this high risk, high reward silver thieving family business, Dani is missing out on many aspects of life we take for granted.

In growing as a person, experiencing (or should I say glimpsing) a normal existence with normal friends and a possible love interest - Dani realises how constrained her life really is. That she wants more, needs more and her mother isn't providing that. It's the story of a child realising her mother can't give her what she requires and Independence. The end of this story is perfect, it's not happily ever after but it resolves everything nicely. Dani's mother however is a real piece of work. She frequently angered me to a degree that threatened my blood pressure and the book's pages. There is one act that occurs in the past that involves the mother's boyfriend that particularly mortified me.

Greg is a character that reminded me a lot of fellow cop, John After (Jennifer Echols' Going Too Far) but they are also vastly different. The patience that this man must possess to tolerate Dani's fiestiness, snark and distrust is unbelievable but you buy into it. You believe that he's spotted something special in her and that he wants the best for her. I wouldn't say that I sympathised with Dani as much as empathised with her situation and I do feel that the story brought her to a very realistic conclusion. One of hope, something she was very much in need of.

A great read with finely drawn characters and a distinct voice.

Published: 2008
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Publisher: Harper Teen
Origin: USA
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Elizabeth Scott's Official Page


Alea said...

I'm definitely going to get this when it comes out in paperback here!

Thao said...

This book leads me to Elizabeth. It sounds so original and fun. I wish I could read it soon.

Janssen said...

Ah, I love Elizabeth Scott. I just finally got a copy of Something, Maybe this last week. Everything she writes is terrific.

H said...

This looks really interesting.