Monday, December 31, 2012

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn


When sixteen-year-old Violet agrees to spend the summer with her father, an up-and-coming artist in Seattle, she has no idea what she's walking into. Her father’s newest clients, the Yamada family, are the victims of a high-profile art robbery: van Gogh sketches have been stolen from their home, and, until they can produce the corresponding painting, everyone's lives are in danger -- including Violet's and her father's. 

Violet’s search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery thickens, Violet’s not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to solve the mystery -- before it’s too late. 


There aren't many stand-alone mystery books in YA, are there? 

Well, if Diana Renn's Tokyo Heist is any indicator, more mysteries are needed. Immediately. Or maybe just more of her mysteries. 

It is annoying to no end when a mystery book's mystery doesn't make sense. (Cough... PLL... cough... HACK...Such guilty goodness...) You know what I'm say'in/ insinuat'in: 

Why would Ali's killer be someone that the readers already know? Why give clues to whom the killer actually is? That's too boring. Wait. I know! Let's throw in a random evil twin sister halfway in without notice and see where the tide takes us! Yay! 
*All is well and spoiled* 

For those of whom averted their eyes at the spoils, what I'm trying to say is that I want a plot twist I can see coming. Ack! That sounds horrible. What I'm really saying is that I want plot twists... not plot zig-zags. I want where the story is going to make sense! With Tokyo Heist, I couldn't always fully grasp where the mystery was heading, but I could most of the time get an "something's not right" feeling and always look back and see how the plot got where it got. 

Violet is a protagonist I really loved. Yeah, sometimes her manga and Japanese-culture obsession got on my nerves, but only because she took it too far on occasion. I was about to jump in the book inception-style to beat her up after about the tenth time she complained about not having the Japanese word for courage.  Most of the time, though, I loved it. She had a unique passion, and she stuck to it. Her devotion to her manga tied in well with the missing art; seeing how Renn made Violet's passion help her solve the crime was delightful.

Tokyo Heist gets four stars.

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