Friday, April 10, 2009

The Good Thief Hannah Tinti

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti This was a really great read. It came out last year. It was a NYT notable book of 2008. 13yr old Ren grew up at Saint Anthony’s orphanage in New England. He never knew his parents someone dropped him in the slot like all the other unwanted babies. Ren, is missing his left hand. Though he only has one hand, Ren’s a skilled thief. It helps ease his mind about the future and possibly never finding a home. One day Benjamin Nab comes to the orphanage claiming Ren is his long lost brother. Father Jon believes the tale, allowing Benjamin to take Ren. Though he soon finds out Benjamin is not his brother but a con artist. The first night out Benjamin steals a horse, and the two return to the city where Benjamin’s partner Tom is waiting. Tom is a former teacher turned con artist with a lice filled beard. To make quick cash Benjamin and Tom dig up bodies for a doctor. When Ren goes with them one night to the graveyard, a body they dug up is still moving. Dolly a killer by trade was buried alive. Ren and Dolly quickly become friends. This was an excellent story, filled with great characters. This book may be labeled as fiction but it’s a YA novel. The Good Thief is Ren’s story and no more then a year passes from beginning to the end. I know decisions must be made, and it was decided the Good Thief belonged in fiction. In the short term it seems like the best choice, especially with all the end of the year praise for the novel. I remember customers coming in with the newspaper cut outs looking for it. However that was back in December early January. With fiction its out of sight out of mind, readers have moved on to the next hot picks. And yes this happens in YA as well, but it not always about the newest releases but rather finding books young readers will really care about. Young readers don’t care if it came out in September or Tuesday as long as they like it. If I had read this earlier I would’ve been recommending it like crazy. It’s fast paced, reluctant reader friendly, filled with adventure, murder, lies and deceit. It also has what I think is some great YA humor. Ren’s Uncle McGinty blames him for his sister’s death. So kidnaps Ren locking him in his office. McGinty owns a mouse trap factory. Ren discovers mice living in McGinty’s office. If a child enjoyed The Graveyard Book, Last Apprentice Series, The Thief, 100 Cupboards, books by Shannon Hale I’d put the Good Thief in their hand. Even if they didn’t I’d still suggest The Good Thief because its simply a great story. In the long run if Good Thief continues to sell it will be because children’s librarians and booksellers have embraced it as the beautiful young adult read that it is. Ages 12 up

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