Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott

Title: Stealing Heaven
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Published: June 1, 2008 by HarperTeen
(320 pages, hardcover)
Summary: My name is Danielle. I'm eighteen. I've been stealing things for as long as I can remember.
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.
My thoughts: Danielle has only known one thing her life: stealing. Her father disappeared from her life shortly after getting arrested, and all she has left is her mother, and the silver she steals. The premise for this novel sounds really interesting, and I had high expectations since practically every reader I know loves Scott's writing. Having only read Living Dead Girl up to this point, I was expecting a lighter story with characters not quite as memorable. What I got was a poignant story line with characters that were emotional and definitely not forgettable. Dani is a mature teen who is faced with a problem she can't really solve. Even though her mother loves stealing (she does it even when she doesn't need to) Dani is worried by the fact that she's never felt the passion for silver that her mother always has.
My favorite part of this book (other than Greg; more on him later) was the way Dani has a strong draw towards what is right, but also how she's loyal to her mother. It was nice to see a genuine conflict with a teenager as its focal point. Dani was mature and intelligent. Her problems were real and serious and I loved how Scott let her deal with them. I also really liked her relationship with her mother, and how complex it got as Dani slowly realized she might be able to live the life she truly wanted to.

As proven in her other novels, Scott's uncanny ability to write like she's in her own character's heads was amazing. It really felt like Scott had lived through Dani's experiences and that she was feeling what Dani felt. The details were present enough to make me feel like I was there with the characters while also not cluttering out the story or Dani's emotions.
Lastly, I totally and completely loved Greg, the sweet cop, who honestly cares for Dani even as she pushes him away. I liked the conflicting emotions Dani felt toward him, and how they instantly connected. Greg was funny and smart and figured Dani out and still didn't judge her. Their romance was cute and sweet and I really enjoyed reading about it. Plus, Greg was drool-worthy, even with his crazy-looking hair. Scott did a great job in not over-doing the romance part, and keeping it still a main plot line.
I would've liked a little more resolution, or to have seen Dani's mom have a little bit more closure, but the ending was great anyways. It had an uplifting tone and a serious undertone that left me satisfied, but still wishing there was more. Just not in a bad way like sometimes novels can leave you. Stealing Heaven was a great read that was satisfying, uplifting, intelligent, and sweet. Like any good novel, it was intriguing from the start and through to the end.
Cover: 5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5 stars


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