Actually, this story is a 4.5/5 for me. It’s one of the most exciting novels I’ve read so far, considering that the protagonists are con artists – young, teenage con artists who hustle pool, pick pockets, count cards, and pretend to be prostitutes.
Have you seen that film 21, based loosely on the real-life story of smart kids playing the Vegas scene? Grift is a bit like that, only better, with a set of characters that are interesting, likeable, detestable, and moving. They are smart, witty, sympathetic, and so cool you want to keep cheering for them.
Despite targeted to younger adults, the story has a gritty and dark feel. What saves this situation from spiraling into a case of illogical violence and unfathomable tragedy is the optimism and hope the characters embody.
The story is fast-paced. I got hooked, from the very beginning, and I really couldn’t put it down till I finished it (in like a day!). The novel opens with a young hooker who lures her john into the room. Then, she “accidentally” lets slip her real age – seventeen – and after she drinks medicine for a headache, she collapses and starts foaming at the mouth.
And that is our introduction to our main character, Piper, who, after her customer leaves, gets up and leaves with the money, cool as a cucumber. Life is fine and dandy until Piper’s younger sister, Sophie, is kidnapped by a mobster and Piper has no choice but to gather $10 million in three days.
I was intrigued and every chapter and page pulled me action after action to see what Piper and her friends would do to rescue Sophie, and it goes without saying that Piper is a kickass protagonist whose last plan to get a lot of money was so badass you would just love to see this story get turned into a movie and see the action on the silver screen! She is one tough girl. And her friends? You’ve got Rob, a young pickpocket who stole from a hundred people in one night, Kim, the card counter who can hack into casino databases to erase her files, Mars, the laid-back billiard player who can hustle like a mafia, and of course, Jesse, the enigmatic con artist who thrives on the challenge and thrill of deceiving people.
Weakness? What weakness? Well, there’s a reason it’s not quite a 5/5, although it’s quite trivial. The chapter titles are a bit weird – in a way that it doesn’t blend well with the tense atmosphere of this gritty YA suspense novel. Also, I personally have something against multiple exclamation points and questions marks in a sentence or quote. One interrobang is enough to portray the emotion, I think. The rest was a bit of an overkill.
Should You Read It?
Seriously? I want more!
The characters are interesting; the Vegas life is intriguing and scary. This is a must-read, and if you enjoyed other YA novels like James Patterson’s Maximum Ride, you will love Grift. Trust me when I say you will not regret it. The story is awesome.
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About the Author
Jason Mosberg lives in Los Angeles where he works as a screenwriter. He has optioned several feature screenplays to independent financiers. He loves LA far more than he hates it.
He wrote his first novel Grift while staying in cheap hotel rooms in Las Vegas. He hates Las Vegas far more than he loves it. When he’s not writing, Jason can be found playing soccer, walking, and over analyzing everything.
Having grown up in Delaware, Jason attended Wake Forest University before he lit out for the west coast. His top five TV shows of all time are The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under, and Twin Peaks. His one vice is claw machines.
On the book side, he is represented by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger.
You can follow Jason on Twitter @ThreeStoryJason.