ARC Review: SMASH & GRAB by Amy Christine Parker

Random House Books for Young Readers
July 19, 2016

About the Book:

Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story. Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!

LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.

CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .

Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.

Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans ofPerfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.


Rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm torn. I honestly don't know how to rate this book.
On the one hand I thoroughly enjoyed it (who doesn't like heists, drama, romance and excitement all packed into one?) but on the other I feel like I have never eye-rolled in my entire life as much as I did with this one.

Two things I love the most about Smash & Grab. First, it's different from all the usual YA contemporaries I read which is a relief. I love how it's so much more complicated than the typical teenage angst and family drama I encounter. All the "boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love but it turns out they can't be together because of so and so reasons" storyline just gets old real fast. So yeah bonus points to Amy Parker for venturing into the world of thieves, heists, highs, gangs, Mafia and... teenagers. I mean don't get me wrong I do not condone stealing or any form of crime for that matter but there's a reason I read books and that's to live and experience the world some other way. If I'm escaping reality I might as well go all out right?
Anyway the second thing I love about this book? The romance. Definitely the romance. The chemistry between Lexi and Christian just felt so natural. And considering the romance wasn't the main focus of the story and felt barely there I didn't think I would feel as strongly for them but I did. There was definite swooning on my part. SWOONING. Because Christian... just... *sigh*

What I didn't like however and I guess it affected me more than I realized (if my rating is any indication) is how over the top unbelievable everything was. The way they robbed the bank? They made it seem like anyone (and I mean ANYONE) can do it. "Wanna rob a bank?" "Yeah sure let me just go get my crowbar and mask. Oh and a change of black clothes too." I mean I would have been fine with it. If they were robbing a FREAKING VENDING MACHINE. I've read Ally Carter's Heist Society and I didn't end up feeling like I could steal anyone's precious painting whenever I want. This book however... I can't. I just can't.
Oh and the ending? That was too perfect and waaayy convenient. There are times that a perfectly wrapped up ending works for a book and this time is not it.

All in all I love the author's writing. It pulls you in from the start. I would definitely watch out for more books from her. But I just can't for the life of me get over how unbelievable and unrealistic this was.

I received an e-arc to read and review.

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