Hardcover, 383 pages
Published March 15th 2012 by Razorbill
Wally was adopted from a Russian orphanage as a child and grew up in a wealthy New York City family. At fifteen, her obsessive need to rebel led her to life on the streets.
Now the sixteen-year-old is beautiful and hardened, and she’s just stumbled across the possibility of discovering who she really is. She’ll stop at nothing to find her birth mother before Klesko – her darkeyed father – finds her. Because Klesko will stop at nothing to reclaim the fortune Wally’s mother stole from him long ago. Even if that means murdering his own blood. But Wally’s had her own killer training, and she’s hungry for justice.
Well. Okay. This book.
I didn’t like it. For various reasons. Which I shall go into in probably great detail and I apologise for that but you don’t have to read if you don’t want to.
I disliked Wallis so very much. It’s never a good sign when you don’t like the protagonist you are supposed to be rooting for.
Wallis leaves home because no one understands her. She is an adopted kid who has questions about her heritage and since her adopted mother doesn’t seem to want to answer any questions about who she is and where she comes from, she runs away from home and sleeps on the streets.
This totally trivializes the experiences of kids who find themselves on the streets because they honestly don’t have a place to go to. Wallis is rich, she has never gone hungry or wanted for food. She’s simply throwing a tantrum because she can, because she knows she has a place she can fall back on should this street thing not work out. There is a realization of that later on in the book but it’s a pretty brief one and Wallis does not think about it too much after she is done admitting her stupidity.
The book romanticizes about the meaning of being on the street. It does not talk about the details, the filth and the like, it doesn’t look too closely on what it means to live on a street. Also, the money thing. They sell one stone and have eight grand and they go spending money like they’re swimming in it. And I don’t know if the author is a fan or what, but a specific website is mentioned twice. “Friendfinder” that helps you find friends for the cost of $79.95 which Wallis pays quite willingly and which ends up being unhelpful. Then she uses it again, paying the same amount and it ends up unhelpful the second time around. You’d think she would have learnt her lesson the first time, eh?
The whole search Wallis goes on is rather pointless and you will understand when/if you read the book. Honestly, the whole book felt like the special effects were hiding the lack of a true story, individuated characters and something substantial. There are car chases, people dying and killed and bad guys galore. Two guys win over an entire squad. A treacherous cop and a treasure hunt. And the Russian version of a mafia. This could have been a fun book. It was not.