Review: Tokyo Heist

I received this book for free from Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Tokyo HeistTokyo Heist by Diana Renn
Published by Viking Juvenile on June 14, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 364
Format: ARC
Source: Blog Tour

The perfect mystery for fans of Ally Carter's Heist Society!

Sixteen-year-old Violet is thrilled when her father's new painting commission means a summer trip to Japan. But what starts as an exotic vacation quickly turns sour when a priceless sketch by van Gogh is stolen from her father's client and held ransom for a painting by the artist. The problem is that nobody knows where the painting is hidden, and until they find it, all their lives are in danger.

Joined by her friend Reika, Violet searches for the missing van Gogh in a quest that takes her from the Seattle Art Museum to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery deepens, Violet's not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to find the painting and the criminals--before it's too late.

First Sentence: “The wind, the rain, my soaked Converse sneakers: I blame it all on my dad.”

Tokyo Heist is my first and last experience with DAC ARC tours. I signed up a couple of months ago, I think, and have since withdrawn from the Debut Author Challenge (though I continue to do my own non-age-specific debut challenge). Since that is a requirement for the tours, I am not going to be joining any more of them. However, I have NOTHING against DAC ARC Tours. They have been very professional and nice, even though this experience was more drama-filled than some, since the first ARC disappeared somewhere along the way. So thank you to DAC ARC Tours and to Penguin for making it possible for me to read this ARC.

Tokyo Heist would make an excellent read for younger readers looking to transition to YA or for middle graders. The content, writing, and characters definitely would fit with that age group well. Violet definitely felt like a young 16 to me. There were definitely times where she would be trying to figure something out and I would be headdesking at how obvious this particular part of the mystery was. This was not the case with every single clue by any means, but did happen more than once. I also couldn’t believe that the FBI was impressed by some of her suggestions, since most of them seemed pretty obvious; maybe they were just being nice.

Of course, Violet does do some serious sleuthing too, along with the Scooby Doo variety. Where Violet and Tokyo Heist really shine are in the sections focusing on artwork. As the mystery progressed into more art-based research and sleuthing, the pace definitely picked up and I was less able to point out the obvious solution.

It’s also great that you can totally tell how passionate Violet is about art, both other people’s and her own. In fact, the artistic descriptions were so vivid that I occasionally sort of felt like I was reading a manga rather than a novel. This would have made a stellar manga or graphic novel, btws. It would have been like Inception, when it got into the Kimono Girl scenes!

Part of what made Violet seem so young was her manga obsession, which was also something I enjoyed, being a lover of manga as well. However, Violet takes it a little too far, as a young teen might do. Whenever she’s stuck in her mystery-solving, she asks herself “WWVSD?” (What would Vampire Sleuths do?), because that is her favorite manga. She also tries to figure out how to handle her crush on her best friend by looking to manga for advice. Friends, I adore manga, but DO NOT DO THIS. No wonder she’s having so much difficulty with her romance, poor dear.

Tokyo Heist is a fun read full of Asian culture (ftw!). If you’re looking for something light with an entertaining mystery and some diversity, Renn’s book is definitely worth picking up.

Favorite Quote:

“Edge is not movie-star cute. Maybe the space between his front teeth and his slightly chubby waistline have kept him from being a total girl magnet. But those are two things I happen to love about him. And the way his hair falls into his eyes. Oh, and his clothes. Today he wears a crisp white button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. A 1940s waistcoat, brown twill pants, and spectator shoes.”

4 responses to “Review: Tokyo Heist”

  1. This sounds cute. when I was in middle school i gobbled this type of novel up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I am glad you finally got to read it.

  2. Oooh. Present tense? Not usually a fan. I’ll try it though because I really wanted to read this one. Great review, Christina.

    • Christina says:

      Awww, I don’t care how an author tells a story so long as it grabs me, which is mostly up to the characters. This one is cute and fun, but, I think, better marketed to younger readers.

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