After running away from military school, Flick is living in the streets of New York City surviving as a pickpocket. One day a mysterious man approached Flick and offers him an opportunity to get revenge on his father. Flick is offered a spot at the prestigious Mandel Academy, where his father went. Mandel Academy is not your ordinary high school, its students are all varyind degrees of criminals, from pickpockets and prostitutes to serial killers. Flick quickly rises to the top of his class until Mandel throws a curveball at him; his ex-girlfriend Joi enters the Academy and only one of them will survive to graduation.
When I first saw this I was intrigued. The plot sounded interesting and amusing. For some reason I got it into my head that this was going to be more lighthearted than it was and I was surprised how dark and violent it got. Flick was a very interesting character, he is super smart and while he is a thief he has a heart. He wants to avenge his brother’s death by destroying his father, who murdered Jude, and he is also in love with Joi. At Mandel Academy Flick has a hard time accepting that he has two choices: do what Mandel wants and hurt people or fail and be “expelled,” not likeing either choice Flick tries to find a third “spectacular” choice. Joi was another great character, I liked her from the beginning when she is taking care of street children that she finds. She is smart and kind and when she enters Mandel Academy we see a completly different side of her that makes her awesome! Who knew Joi had so many great secrets!
Even though this book was not what I was expecting I was pleasantly surprised. There was tons of action, great characters, and the plot kept me guessing what was going to happen next. There was a lot of violence so this is definintly meant for an older teen audienc. The overall situation of powerful corrupt leaders in out country seemed very plausible and while there may not be a real Mandel Academy, there is probably a very similar school out there. Just to add some more plausibility to this book, when the book was published it was compromised according to the author Kirsten Miller. You can read about it here on her blog or check out the book’s website for more info. I’m not sure how true it is but you can decide for yourself!