How to Lead a Life of Crime surprised me. In all honesty, I was anxious to read this, but I definitely didn't expect anything so conniving!
This book was...wow. A bit of romance, a bit of acting, a bit of betrayal, a bit of sacrifice, a bit of lying, a bit of stealing...well, a bit of everything really! Even a little scientific theory that this entire plot is based on.
There's really no good place to start this review. But let's start with the originality of How to Lead a Life of Crime, because I love its idea. The way Miller pulled this idea off was stunning and original with an engaging plot that captivates you from the first theft. There's a lack of original plots in the YA market, so the fact that I haven't read anything like this is definitely a shock in itself!
Because of the unique idea, the plot ultimately had me twisted in knots. I couldn't predict anything, and these characters' actions were so unpredictable and cold. My heart was beating furiously and if a fire was burning down my house, I don't think I'd really notice; I'd be too busy trying to figure everything out! There were so many complexities, and no question was left unanswered. There was a cause and affect for everything that happened and nothing happened for no reason: that's what happens when you deal with socio/psychopaths.
The characters...I can't even describe how manipulative, cruel, and calculating they were. Miller created the perfect criminals and they were terrifying. They made you realize just how deceiving and cruel criminals could be, and how some criminals may just be pretending to be as cold. The characters weren't lovable, but they were amazing and seemed real, albeit a bit intimidating. Flick, our narrator who had a great, compelling voice, was smart and sneaky, but not necessarily cruel—just desperate, in the way that a lot of people are capable of. He brought a lot of dry humor into the story and was a strong believer in sarcasm which made me smirk, despite of whatever situation he was currently in. However, Joi was by far my favorite character. Her abilities were shocking, to say the least. She could see what Flick couldn't and knew what was wrong and what was right and, unlike many other characters, acted on those instincts.
What was beyond different with How to Lead a Life of Crime was that enemies were allies, allies were enemies, and you never knew whether a friend was a real one or one who'd stab you straight in the back. It was a game of cat and mouse, but you never knew who was in what role. And, while fictional (for all we know!), there's something about this book that just makes you realize just how evil the world can be and how the people we look up to, how almost everyone, has a secret they're willing to kill for.