Thieves’ Gambit

Penguin/Nancy Paulsen. Sept. 2023. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593625361.
Gr 9 Up–The Quest family is the North American crime family and Ross Quest is no ordinary teenager; she’s a prodigious master thief known for her skills in orchestrating daring escapes. However, she wants nothing more than to get away from her family and live an ordinary life. During their last heist together, Ross’s mother is captured for a billion dollar ransom. This forces Ross to take part in prestigious criminal contest the Thieves’ Gambit, an electrifying series of high-stakes and dangerous heists spanning the globe. The victor is allowed one wish. Ross believes she will win, and plans to use the wish to rescue her mother. As Ross navigates the contest, she finds herself pitted against other teens skilled in the ways of thievery. Among them are an adversary from her childhood and a smooth-talking, attractive contender. When the stakes are huge, Ross must make the difficult decision about who to deceive and who to trust, all the while racing against the deadline that her mother’s captors gave her. This thrilling adventure takes readers on a roller-coaster ride through a world of international thievery and high stakes schemes. The plot is full of heists, double-crosses, and unexpected alliances. The pacing is brisk with tension steadily building through the narrative. One of the novel’s strengths is its exploration of moral ambiguity—characters are often presented with difficult choices challenging their own notions of right and wrong. Readers feel characters’ struggles as they grapple with the consequences of their actions; this adds complexity to the story and elevates it beyond a mere adventure tale.
VERDICT A recommended purchase for any high school library, this is a compelling choice for readers seeking a fast-paced escapade filled with intrigue and daring thefts and those who enjoyed Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s The Inheritance Games or Brittney Morris’s The Jump.

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