"A short, easy read...Reluctant readers will enjoy the pace, the easy dialogue and the moral issues that pop up."
"Densely plotted and fast paced, making it ideal for teen readers. The characters are compelling, and Avvy's realistic motivations create a character to whom readers can relate. The crisp, efficient writing makes
Thief Girl an easy and engaging read. While the content is appropriate for teens, Thief Girl is written at a much lower reading level, thereby making it an excellent choice for students who read below grade level or are learning English as a second language...An emotionally engaging novel...Recommended."
"A well-written and suspenseful book, with a message that appeals to all teens with its simple question; Is keeping a secret worth losing yourself?"
Fifteen-year-old Avvy is a first-generation Chinese-American teenager with a whiny little brother and hard-working parents who run a food stand at the mall. Due to a zoning glitch she gets to attend Oak Ridge High, the ritzy high school across town. Helping her parents out after school, Avvy's life straddles two worlds. One evening, walking home with her brother after work, she finds a leather wallet on the street. It has already been rifled through and the only thing left is a picture of a dog. It's a nice wallet; unthinkingly, she throws it in her backpack. Later, as she pries the dog picture out of the plastic cover, she discovers a bank card tucked in behind it. When her well-meaning mother, clueless about high prices, gives her just thirty dollars to buy a new winter jacket, Avvy is sorely tempted to use the card, but she resists. Only when she gets the idea to teach martial arts to her brother, who is bullied almost every day at school, does Avvy overcome her natural unwillingness to steal. She tries using the card at an ATM machine and discovers the account has five hundred dollars in it. One thing leads to another, as she feels the ground shifting beneath her feet. Searching for herself in a world where it's much easier to remain invisible, Avvy's voice is so authentic and compelling, it will pull even reluctant teen readers right in. Set in a totally realistic world of high school classes, art projects, and hallway drama, this is a modern teen novel with emotional veracity and real intelligence. Reviewer: Nancy Partridge
Children's Literature - Nancy Partridge
Gr 6 Up—Avvy Go lives and works in Chinatown, Toronto, where the immigrant community struggles, but she goes to school in a beautiful, wealthy neighborhood that features large houses and entitled peers. When she finds a bank gift card loaded with money, the dualities of her life really begin to pile up. Avvy becomes the keeper of many secrets but she longs to tell them. She wants friends but also wants to go through school unnoticed. She wants to do the right thing and help her family but cannot find a way that does not involve stealing. Lee's tale provides all the angst of young adult fiction with a reading level appropriate for struggling readers, which is laudable. However, the story and characters are developed in a facile manner. The narrator tells readers that Avvy is conflicted but this confliction is never demonstrated. Ultimately, the story feels too light and cannot carry the necessary weight needed to propel the characters.—Naphtali L. Faris, Youth Services Consultant, Missouri State Library, Jefferson City, MO
"Bad choice, good choice always come back—like ghosts." Avvy Go's mother's words haunt her. Avvy Go, a student at Oak Ridge High School, lives in a community of immigrants across a railway bridge separating her from the older, richer part of town. Her parents run a Chinese take-out restaurant at the food court, where Avvy works, but she wants to fit in at school, to cross that bridge separating the two communities and cultures. She's tried the disappearing act, keeping to herself—trying to fit in by not being seen—but realizes that "if you act like a nobody, that's what people see.
No body." But to fit in, she makes a series of bad choices—stealing, lying and befriending her sister's enemy. A good girl with a powerful conscience, Avvy consults "The Oracle" in her school newspaper, who advises her to face up to her mistakes. Though Avvy's first-person voice is didactic, her story ends realistically, with no simple solutions—just a determination to get on with her life, as complicated as it may be. Lee's prose in this high-interest/low–reading level novel for teens is simple, adorned with an occasional glittering phrase: Avvy's brother, in his new, too-big white karate outfit, "drooped like an ice cream melting on a stick." A brisk tale with an important message. (Fiction. 10-15)