Tokyo Heist

( 10 )

Overview

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

When sixteen-year-old Violet agrees to spend the summer with her father, an up-and-coming artist in Seattle, she has no idea what she's walking into. Her father's newest clients, the Yamada family, are the victims of a high-profile art robbery: van Gogh sketches have been stolen from their home, and, until they can produce the corresponding painting, everyone's lives are in ...

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Tokyo Heist

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Overview

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

When sixteen-year-old Violet agrees to spend the summer with her father, an up-and-coming artist in Seattle, she has no idea what she's walking into. Her father's newest clients, the Yamada family, are the victims of a high-profile art robbery: van Gogh sketches have been stolen from their home, and, until they can produce the corresponding painting, everyone's lives are in danger—including Violet's and her father's.

Violet's search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery thickens, Violet's not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to solve the mystery—before it's too late.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Dangerous yakuza (Japanese mobsters), blackmail letters and FBI stings. A proficient caper spiced up by Violet's eye for art.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This art heist has twists and turns, romance, and the happily-ever-after that many will be rooting for.”—Booklist

“Renn’s fun debut takes a kitchen-sink approach, throwing together romance, mystery, and action in a way that echoes the manga that the 16-year-old Violet loves to read.” —Publishers Weekly

“Will enthrall readers who love action.” —Examiner.com

“A fast-paced and engaging mystery with a spunky protagonist.” —VOYA

“The plot has lots of twists and turns, leaving readers on edge… Readers will cheer for Violet as she uses her wits to outsmart the adults.” —SLJ

“We can't stop talking about action-packed YA mystery novel Tokyo Heist…author Diana Renn's first YA novel, but we certainly hope it isn't her last!” —HuffingtonPost.com

“It’s rare for YA heroines to have such specific, developed interests, and Violet filtering her investigation through her passion for manga, art, and Japan makes her seem like a real, relatable teenager.” —A.V. Club

“Young adult mysteries do not get any better than this.”—Peter Abrahams, author of the Echo Falls Mysteries

“Irresistible. I couldn’t put it down!”—Alane Ferguson, author of the Forensic Mysteries

“Adventures don’t get any more thrilling than Tokyo Heist.”—Kristen Miller, author of The Eternal Ones series

Publishers Weekly
Renn’s fun debut takes a kitchen-sink approach, throwing together romance, mystery, and action in a way that echoes the manga that 16-year-old Violet loves to read (and hopes to create herself someday). While spending the summer with her absentminded artist father in Seattle, she finds out about the theft of some van Gogh drawings owned by her father’s patrons, Kenji and Mitsue Yamada. Drawn into the mystery of the theft, she fights with her best friend (and crush) Edge, runs into members of the yakuza, ends up in Japan with her father, and teams up with her friend Reika to search Tokyo and Kyoto for both the van Goghs and the painting they inspired. Renn keeps the action moving briskly, and if she hews to a few clichés (Violet’s manga-inspired “it’s more romantic to hide your feelings” approach to Edge is a prime example), the action, mix of genres, and large cast of characters always keep things interesting. Fans of mysteries and thrillers will enjoy this just as much as fans of Japanese culture. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kirby Kim, William Morris Endeavor. (June)
Booklist
"This art heist has twists and turns, romance, and the happily-ever-after that many will be rooting for."
Indiebound
A Summer 2012 Kids' Indie Next Pick
The L.A. Times
"Renn keeps the tension high and the pace moving in a modern, unique whodunit."
A.V. Club
"TOKYO HEIST is refreshingly free of most of the standard modern YA-fiction tropes. . . . It's rare for YA heroines to have such specific, developed interests, and Violet filtering her investigation through her passion for manga, art, and Japan makes her seem like a real, relatable teenager."
Peter Abrahams
"A terrific heroine, exciting and unexpected plot twists, and fascinating and beautifully-wrought real-life settings: young adult mysteries do not get better than this."
Alane Ferguson
"Tokyo Heist is a fast-paced, exotic reading adventure, a story where The da Vinci Code meets the wildly popular manga genre! Author Diana Renn infuses protagonist Violet with plenty of chikara (power) and Renn's fresh, spot-on author's voice is irresistible. I couldn't put it down!"
Kirsten Miller
"Fly to the coolest city on earth. Hunt for a missing masterpiece. Battle tattooed gangsters while rocking a kimono. And don't forget to try the shibazuke. Adventures don’t get any more thrilling than Tokyo Heist. You'll want to jump right inside this book and live it."
Linda Gerber
"Hidden paintings, yakuza assassins, vivid settings, artful intrigue, and a taste of manga make Tokyo Heist an absorbing tale mystery readers will love."
VOYA - Jane Gov
Sixteen-year-old Violet wishes she could magically slip into paintings, solve international mysteries, and escape the disappointments of reality like Kimono Girl, the protagonist in her own manga creation. So when she gets a chance to tag along with her artist father to Japan in the midst of a suspicious Van Gogh art robbery, it is the opportunity for which she has been waiting. Along with her best friend, Reika, the girls set out to uncover the truth of the missing sketches and the history behind a decade-old art feud. From the Seattle Art Museum to Kyoto art conservation, their inquiries drive them into close corners with the Yakuza, Japan's most notorious gang. The mystery becomes even more dangerous when the Yakuza issues an ultimatum: deliver the missing Van Gogh sketches or they will go after Violet's father. Tokyo Heist is a fast-paced and engaging mystery with a spunky protagonist. Since Violet is manga-obsessed, she views the world as scenes from various popular mangas and revisits suspicious events by drawing them into frames for Kimono Girl. Not only do these Kimono Girl interjections clarify the clues for Violet, but for readers as well. Although there are no actual drawings in the book, Diana Renn's writing mirrors a manga in text form. Readers will imagine the story frame by frame, complete with thought bubbles and abrupt emotions. Recommend this to teens who are somewhat familiar with manga or anime jargon. Reviewer: Jane Gov
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Violet Rossi, cynical and annoyed with the adults in her life, plans to spend the summer with her artist dad in Seattle. She is a creative, manga-loving 16-year-old who even has a manga alter ego, Kimono Girl. She is excited when her dad's new commission is her ticket to Tokyo for the summer. However, before they leave, his patrons have precious van Gogh drawings stolen from their home, and a yakuza, a Japanese gangster, demands they give him a painting that he thinks they have. When the teen and her dad land in Japan, the danger increases and the gangster threatens to "erase" Violet's dad if he does not receive the painting. Violet is smart and knows a lot about Japanese culture. She starts researching the case, thinking it would be good inspiration for her Kimono Girl manga, but she eventually becomes wrapped up in the mystery. The plot has lots of twists and turns, leaving readers on edge, and a hint of romance (Violet has a crush on her best friend back home). Readers will cheer for Violet as she uses her wits and outsmarts the adults. Teens will learn about Japanese culture, and fans of manga and art students will rejoice that they can relate to the protagonist and story.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
Kirkus Reviews
A van Gogh heist, a trip to Japan and a yakuza attack: Could there be a better summer? Violet's an otaku--a comics-loving Japanophile, derided as a "Manga-loid" by her school's mean girls--who draws her own manga and makes scarves out of vintage kimonos. Her dreadful summer plans (working at the comic-book store) are delightfully derailed when she has to join her estranged artist father in Tokyo, where he's been commissioned to paint a mural. But what's this? Her father's employers have been relieved of three van Gogh drawings, and Violet knows just the suspicious characters who might be guilty! The plucky detective investigates in both Seattle and Tokyo, following suspects around town in a tangled blonde wig and deciphering codes incorporated in both art and kanji. Soon the mystery begins to resemble an episode of Violet's own manga, Kimono Girl, complete with dangerous yakuza (Japanese mobsters), blackmail letters and FBI stings. Eagle-eyed Violet's sleuthing is assisted by her keen love of art, from manga to van Gogh to ukiyo-e, Japanese woodblock prints. A proficient caper spiced up by Violet's eye for art. (Fiction. 12-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142426548
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 6/13/2013
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 386,187
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Diana Renn grew up in Seattle and now lives in Boston. She has taught ESL and writing, most recently at Boston University. She has published numerous short stories and essays, and she is also the Fiction Editor at YARN (Young Adult Review Network), an award-winning online magazine featuring short-form writing for teens. She is the author of several ESL textbooks, as well as the YA mystery novels Latitude Zero and Tokyo Heist. She is an avid traveler.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2013

    Ok

    I could not even finish it. The author kept going back to manga and it made the book choppy. Also the characters were predicatable and the plot was mediocore. But for a debut the idea was not too bad.

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  • Posted March 16, 2013

    4.5/5 stars Source: Received an ARC from Jen Ryland/YA Romantic

    4.5/5 stars

    Source: Received an ARC from Jen Ryland/YA Romantics.

    "A Missing van Gogh Painting
    A Burglarized Mansion
    A Ransom Note
    Two Japanese Gangsters on the Loose
    Four Destroyed Paintings
    An Unexplained Suicide
    And Two Girls who must solve the mystery, save the art, and catch the criminals."

    This caught my interest for being a YA relatively uninterested in romance as well as for its contemporary Japanese setting. Though there's more to the story, these statements are fairly accurate.

    Our main character is Violet and she adores manga, so much so that she is drawing her very own incorporating some of her real-life interests into the art. She plans to continue adding to it over the summer while staying with her father and working at a comic book store. However it seems that her father was unprepared for her arrival, not even telling his girlfriend about Violet's existence! This does not start the holiday off well but the situation picks up when Violet discovers she is going to accompany her father to Japan so he can paint a mural. She also gets to flex her detecting muscles when she learns about a missing van Gogh painting and sketches and the Japanese mobsters who are after her father's patron. Can Violet crack the case?

    While writing my summary above, I realized that there are so many little threads in this book (including several I didn't feel like could fit in that already stuffed synopsis). I think that one of my big enjoyments was seeing them all come together especially since they seemed so bewildering in the beginning. Of particular enjoyment to me was Violet's attempts at detection, which she incorporates into a new manga, allowing her to puzzle items out. My disappointment though was that while the drawings are described in depth, they are not included. This is a great example of how artwork could enhance a reading experience and I feel like this was a missed opportunity.

    As I mentioned, there are a lot of threads in this book and though most are juggled and brought in well, I would have liked a lot more about two in particular. One was Violet's relationship with her father. He hasn't been very present in her life since she lives with her mom but he also loses himself in his art even when she is around. She is able to challenge him on his disengagement but I wasn't fully satisfied.

    The other element was Violet's romance. For a long time, she's been in love with her best friend but is afraid to jeopardize their friendship. Consequently, when there are movements toward romance, it is not swoony and dreamy but is instead based on their solid longstanding but mostly unseen and unfelt by the reader friendship.

    Overall: A really fun ride through artwork, deception, and love with an exciting Tokyo/Japan backdrop. Highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    Good

    This book was ok but was sometimes boring

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  • Posted August 11, 2012

    Diana Renn's impressive debut YA novel, "Tokyo Heist,"

    Diana Renn's impressive debut YA novel, "Tokyo Heist," transports heroine Violet from the comfort of her Seattle home to Tokyo's criminal underworld in a gripping, beautifully rendered mystery that engages the reader from start to finish. Renn blends artful characterization, fast-paced plotting, and acute cultural insight in a way that allows for a deep understanding of Violet's personal journey, along with broader truths about art and culture in the U.S. and Japan. In "Tokyo Heist" we witness the emergence of a major new talent in the YA genre. Violet and Reika, along with the Yamadas, will win your heart and engage your senses. Well done!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    *Review published on Mundie Moms on 7/15/2012* [...] I love he

    *Review published on Mundie Moms on 7/15/2012*

    [...]

    I love heist plots. They're my absolute favorite and what I like best about reading them is the anticipation in wondering just how all the pieces of the puzzle will fall. My favorite theme in stories is anything involving families. Diana Renn combines both of those in Tokyo Heist.

    What I loved most about Diana's book is that it's not told from the traditional heist point-of-view (usually the people pulling off the heist), rather it's told from the character who is trying to solve the mystery of who stole the sketches. The character of Violet, the sleuthing protagonist, is downright adorable. I loved her voice and her inner determination. I also loved how her skills in drawing her graphic story, Kimono Girl, gave her a better understanding of her artist father. Her father, a single dad who is paid handsomely to create a mural for a wealthy, Japanese businessman (the very one whose Van Gogh sketches were stolen), immerses himself in his art and demands no distractions. This leaves Violet and her quirky friend, Reika, free to pursue leads on the investigation.

    Diana also creates believable stakes. After all, Violet and Reika are teenagers and yet, they find themselves stumbling upon and logically connecting clues that the adults investigating the crime missed or simply didn't know existed. I liked the fact that they worked hard at finding the logic thread in the mystery.

    I must admit that I fell for a red herring or two and when the crime was solved by Violet, I did breathe out a relieved, "HA! I knew it!" I think that's all part of the fun of second guessing this type of plot.

    As for art, well, the theme is handled so well. The book is carefully researched and the Author's Note in the back explains how Diana was inspired to write the history of the artwork mentioned.

    For those of us who love a little romance, don't worry, there's just enough of it in Tokyo Heist to make it interesting. And those moments are presented with a sweetness that still makes me smile when I remember it.

    If you're looking for a good mystery with a great setting (it makes me want to visit Tokyo even more), and an artistic protagonist who will not give up until the right criminal is found, you will love Tokyo Heist. This heist story is beach-bag worthy. Be sure to pick it up at your favorite bookstore or library.

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  • Posted July 6, 2012

    Suspenseful, quirky, and expertly paced, TOKYO HEIST is a sophi

    Suspenseful, quirky, and expertly paced, TOKYO HEIST is a sophisticated mystery with just the right amount of romance. Manga-obsessed Violet is an endearing and feisty heroine who finds herself navigating the criminal underworld of Japan on the track of a missing Van Gogh. Meanwhile, she's trying to bridge the gap between her estranged father, tame her outspoken best friend, and recapture the interest of her best friend back home. Side characters with suspicious motives abound, and I love how Vi...more Suspenseful, quirky, and expertly paced, TOKYO HEIST is a sophisticated mystery with just the right amount of romance. Manga-obsessed Violet is an endearing and feisty heroine who finds herself navigating the criminal underworld of Japan on the track of a missing Van Gogh. Meanwhile, she's trying to bridge the gap between her estranged father, tame her outspoken best friend, and recapture the interest of her best friend back home. Side characters with suspicious motives abound, and I love how Violet incorporates them all into her own manga creation, KIMONO GIRL. Violet's sarcastic yet kind narrative voice grounds the mystery in a sweet coming of age story. Highly recommended and suitable for all ages!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    What Violet Did on her Summer Vacation

    Violet is uncertain about spending the summer with her "emerging" artist father while her mother is in Italy. Almost 16, she is an appealing emerging artist of Japanese Manga herself. With the theft of 3 Van Gogh sketches, a summer in Seattle turns into a summer in Japan. Her father to paint a mural while she is on a mission to find the stolen sketches and a missing Van Gogh. She'll need all her ingenuity, her artistic eye for detail, and imagination to decipher the clues left by an artist 20 years ago. This fast moving, entertaining novel is a fun read for teens and adults alike.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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