April 23, 2013

Review of How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller



A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.

Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.

Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?

add to goodreadsHow to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
Publication Date:  February 21, 2013
Publisher:  Razorbill

Available for Purchase:
Chapter-Indigo | amazon | B&Nkobo|TBD | indiebound

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I couldn’t find a trailer, so here’s a song!

** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

Gabby NewI have been dying to read How to Lead a Life of Crime by author Kirsten Miller. Everything in the description sounded absolutely up my aisle and after finishing the awesome first chapter I knew that I was in love with this novel. Everything that I was hoping for and more happened in How to Lead a Life of Crime and I couldn’t be any happier. This novel is definitely the kind for readers who want to read a novel that is the Delcroix Academy series (by Inara Scott) meets every worthwhile action movie I’ve ever seen.

How to Lead a Life of Crime follows the life of main character Flick, a teenage pickpocket and runaway with a tragic past. When a man picks Flick up to perform a job for him, Flick finds himself in the same world he tried to escape and yet it’s a whole other side of the spectrum. At the Mandel Academy, a notorious New York school with only the best students, teens are learning a lot more than how to calculate numbers. They’re learning how to commit proper frauds, how to get rid of a dead body and how to kill anybody who stands in their way. Flick agrees to attend the school on one condition: He gets some dirt on his father who killed Flicker’s mother and little brother.

 Inside of the Mandel Academy killers and street thugs are brought in to become the future of the world and are viewed as ‘Prodigies’. However the students who are not the best of the best are killed as a form of expulsion from the academy.  As Flick delves deeper into the Mandel Academy he learns about the dark secrets being kept within the Academy’s walls. He then discovers that the Academy’s headmaster isn’t who he appears to be and that he has a much darker agenda for Flick.

I’ll admit that my only real problems with How to Lead a Life of Crime was how off the pacing was and how some scenes with Joi came off as unrealistic compared to the rest of the novel. Other than that I have no complaints. I have no reason to complain about anything. I found that the plot was so easy to get lost in and every single chapter ended with me needing to know what would happen next. The one thing that really kept me interested were all the possible antagonists for the story and how nobody is ever as they appear to me. The biggest surprise would have to be who Gwendolyn really is and what Mandel is searching for in the dead bodies. Mandel is delusional and obsessed with producing sociopaths from the Academy. The lengths that that man would go to shocked me and there were tons of moments when all I wanted was for Flick to beat his face in or kill him. Two things our main character really is capable of.

I’ve never really come across a character like Flick and I think that he is the type of guy a lot of female readers will swoon over. He’s got the tall, dark and brooding thing down. However what I really liked about Flick was his personality and mind. Flick is a loyal character whose motives are solely based on revenge and I really enjoyed that. What I also loved about him was his caring for his love interest Joi even after being apart from her for so long and how he wishes things could have gone better between the two of them. Gah, those feels. What really had me interested in Flick despite all of those things was Peter Pan; the figment of Flick’s imagination/image of his little brother that appears around him.

I’d recommend How to Lead a Life of Crime to fans of action novels, readers who are looking for a novel that they  won’t want to put down and those of us who just want to read a boarding school novel that is NOT like any others out there.

About the Author:


Author of the Kiki Strike book series (All Ages) and the Eternal Ones book series (Ages 13+).  Latest novels are How to Lead a Life of Crime (Razorbill, 2/2013) and Kiki #3 The Darkness Dwellers (Bloomsbury, 1/2013).

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook


  1. I can’t wait to read this one, it sounds so good. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  2. Chapter by Chapter

    Thanks I can’t wait for you to read it too

    – Gabby

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