Title: Thieving Weasels
Author: Billy Taylor
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Dial Books
Synopsis: Skip O’Rourke is dragged into one last con . . . but he doesn’t know the con’s on him in this funny, page-turning debut YA for fans of Winger and Ocean’s Eleven.
Cameron Smith attends an elite boarding school and has just been accepted to Princeton University alongside his beautiful girlfriend, Claire. Life for Cameron would be perfect, except that Cameron Smith is actually Skip O’Rourke, and Skip O’Rourke ran away from his drifter family four years ago…along with $100,000 of their “earnings” (because starting a new life is not cheap). But when his uncle Wonderful tracks him down, Skip’s given an ultimatum: come back to the family for one last con, or say good-bye to life as Cameron.
“One last con” is easier said than done when Skip’s family is just as merciless (and just as manipulative) as they’ve always been, and everyone around him is lying. Skip may have given up on crime, but there’s one lesson he hasn’t forgotten: always know your mark. And if you don’t know who your mark is . . . it’s probably you.
Witty and irresistibly readable, this standout debut will always keep you guessing.
I received a copy of this book for free from Penguin First Reads in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Skip O’Rourke runs away from his family when he is only thirteen years ago. Skip has spent his entire life breaking the law and moving from one place to another. Desperate to lead a normal life, Skip takes matters into his own hands. Skip collects his deceased grandfather’s remaining money and enrolls in a private high school. Fast forward four years later and Skip has recently been accepted into Princeton University, has a wonderful girlfriend, and is only a few months shy from graduating with a perfect GPA. Enter Skip’s uncle, Uncle Wonderful. Skip’s uncle explains to him that he is going “home” and that he needs help with a job. Initially, Skip wants nothing to do with his family, but decides that if he helps his family with this one last “job,” maybe his family will finally leave him alone.
First things first, if you are going to compare a book to Winger by Andrew Smith (AKA one of my favorite books of all time), you better be prepared to make me laugh. And by laugh, I mean seriously laugh. While Thieving Weasels did get a chuckle out of me, there was no laughing. As for the characters, they all felt subpar to me. I could understand some of the decisions Skip made, especially the ones he took to get away from his family. However, there were other decisions he made that frustrated me to no end. Skip’s decision making process did improve immensely towards the end of the book, yet by that point and time, I was already far too disinterested to become connected to the characters and their story.
It is safe to say that I am thoroughly disappointed with this novel. I believe that this book has a very limited audience and definitely makes it hard to enjoy. It was actually one of my more anticipated novels this year and that made this book even more of a letdown. You win some, you lost some. Unfortunately, Thieving Weasels was a total loss.
2 out of 5 stars
Meet The Author
Billy Taylor is the author of Thieving Weasels, a buzzy YA thriller and BookExpo America Buzz Panel selection that has been featured in Family Circle Magazine and Entertainment Weekly.com, and Based on the Movie, an adult novel that Publishers Weekly called “Fast and funny.”
He has taught and guest lectured at Gemini Ink, SUNY Purchase, New York University, and Trinity University.
He is a graduate of the Film Program at SUNY Purchase and the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University.
Before turning his hand to writing, he worked as a dolly grip on dozens of movies and TV programs including Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Longtime Companion, and My Cousin Vinny.
He lives in San Antonio, Texas with his beautiful wife, Anne, and his two delightful children who never complain and always finish their vegetables.