Book Review: THE GOOD THIEVES by Katherine Rundell (Middle Grade Monday)

Title in uneven white on an orange cityscape
Genre: Historical Heist
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for THE GOOD THIEVES: title in uneven gold on a red cityscape

When the letters first arrived from her beloved grandfather—the shaking, green-inked letters, full of bewildered anger at the loss of his ancestral home and the priceless jewels within it—Vita and her mother took the next boat to New York. And now that she’s here, Vita has only one goal: To break into Hudson Hall and steal back what the sinister Victor Sorrotore took from her family.

But to do so, she needs a plan, a weapon, and faith in the pickpockets, trapeze-artists, and animal-tamers she has met along the way. With her troupe behind her, Vita attempts the most daring heist the city has ever seen. But will she succeed?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


THE GOOD THIEVES is a book that can simply be described as utterly charming. It’s a fast-paced adventure set in New York, a heist caper about family, friends, and daring to dream – all while setting things right with a good old-fashioned heist.

A heist is only as good as its crew, and Vita, Silk, Arkady, and Samuel work so well together. For a group who come together over the start of the book, some more reluctantly than others, their friendship was a lovely dynamic. I loved the loyalty even in the face of danger (and the “run away pact”). It helped pull out the focus of the book from a heist to one about deciding what matters (spoiler alert: it’s friendship, though they do ultimately succeed).

Of course, a crew needs special skills to pull off such a daring act. The children have that in spades – brains/knife thrower, pickpocket/lockpick, acrobat, animal tamer. Vita’s new friends come from the streets or the circus, so are well stocked for that already. Vita doesn’t, coming from a richer background, but she’s the brains and knife thrower – a skill she honed while recovering from polio (throwing stones at a wall).

As with all heists, you do have to suspend your disbelief a bit, I find – and that was no different here (it’s MG, so the children pulling off a heist was a given suspension, but mostly it was the “actual” plan reveal after it goes wrong that I rolled my eyes at. A certain Avengers gif comes to mind…)

Still, it’s a fun ride, and I will add the author to my list of ones whose backlists I should explore once my TBR is a little smaller (I’m actually getting there!)

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