Thursday, August 4, 2016

Review: Smash & Grab

Smash & Grab
By Amy Christine Parker
Published: July 19, 2016

LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.
CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .
Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.
Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.

My review:

Lexi is an adrenaline junkie and she and her friends and older brother regularly do risky things like jumping off of buildings or drag racing. When her dad is arrested for fraud, Lexi is sure that his boss is involved too and she wants to bring him down. Her latest plan will require going undercover as an intern at the bank and being around Harrison, her dad's slimy boss. 

Christian is a talented student with a shot at a full ride scholarship but his family is in debt to the local gang. He and his cousins and friends rob banks to keep their loved ones safe. Christian dreams of escaping it all one day. He runs into Lexi and realizes she could be the "in" he needs to get intel at the bank but she's not quite what he expected. Maybe working together they can both get what they want and get out alive.

Lexi is pretty adventurous and brave but I had a hard time relating to her. She seems to have a very privileged life even with the financial changes since the bank seized their assets (except for their college funds which were in Lexi and her brother's names). She is not as easy to sympathize with as Christian and I struggled with her motivation for the heist. I could understand wanting to find the truth but she is taking a lot of risks and putting her friends and even her dad's case at risk too not to mention the hurt she caused to people at the bank. (Perhaps I am just more sensitive about this with a sister who used to work at a bank that was robbed three times while she was there.) I also found it hard to believe that Lexi had just finished her sophomore year at high school. The characters felt more college age and no explanation is given for their special skills that the average teen wouldn't have. 

I felt bad for Christian and how much he has to deal with. I really wanted him to find a way to break away from his situation and take down the bad guys. There is a huge difference between the way Christian and his friends view the heist and the way Lexi treats it as more of a lark. While she later grasps the danger it was just irritating and jarring to see the vast difference between herself and Christian.

There is some chemistry between Lexi and Christian and teen readers may enjoy the "bad boy/good girl" romance but I don't think it has the time to develop the way the relationships in the Perfect Chemistry series or Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series do. I found I was more invested in finding out how the heist would turn out and Christian's story than I was in the romance.

Overall I liked this book in spite of its flaws. It was a fun, quick read and even if I had issues with Lexi, I liked Christian. As long as I was willing to suspend disbelief, I enjoyed the story--though not as much as Ally Carter's Heist Society novels or the Ocean's Eleven films.  The Heist Society series was definitely lighter in tone but readers who liked that series might like Smash & Grab too. Another similar book is Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley


  1. Awesome review! This one sounds fun and I enjoyed Stealing Heaven and love Ocean's Eleven, so I will have to check this one out. Thanks for putting it on my radar, Christina!

  2. Great review! I didn't love this one as much as you did but I totally understand what you're saying re: it being quick and fun. I think that the romance wasn't developed and am so with you re: Lexi.

    my review


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