For 18-year-old Danielle, life on the road with her mother is all she’s ever known. Town to town, city to city — and all in pursuit of her mother’s one true love: silver.
Danielle and her mom — a charismatic beauty with a penchant for getting what she wants, when she wants it — are thieves. Each new place provides an opportunity for reinvention and getting to know the neighbors . . . all while looking for the next house to hit. With her father in jail and her mom becoming more and more obsessed with stealing, Danielle is becoming disenchanted with their lifestyle — but couldn’t abandon her mom.
Things change when they arrive in Heaven, a beach town filled with wealthy residents. It’s there that she meets Allison, a sweet girl who befriends her, and Greg, a handsome and funny cop who finds himself drawn to Danielle and her evasive ways. Alone with just her mother for most of her life, Danielle longs for human connections. But it’s only through forging those bonds that she begins to understand what they could cost her.
Elizabeth Scott’s Stealing Heaven is a lukewarm novel about a young woman’s struggle to let go of the complicated, dangerous life her thoughtless mother has created for her. From the beginning, I pretty much wanted to punch Dani’s mom — often called “Miranda,” if she uses any name at all — in the face. Who in the world decides this is a great way to raise her daughter? With no education, no plan, no future . . . just a flat-out life of deception and thievery? This the second book I’ve read recently where the parents had no business being parents, and it enraged me.
Putting that aside, Dani was a likable — if not totally interesting — main character. What she longs for most in the world is family, freedom, love — things any 18-year-old would hope to have. A practiced and talented thief, Dani isn’t accustomed to anyone paying much attention to her. That’s the name of their game: invisibility. But Greg takes notice of her immediately and won’t let her slip away.
Sadly, for me, Dani was a bit of a Bella Swan. Nondescript; simple; quiet; uninteresting. Guys might say “mysterious,” but I think that’s a stretch. Basically, Dani’s way of life has been shaped by the fact that she must, at all times, protect her identity . . . but she finds herself opening up to Greg in a way she never has with anyone. That’s all fine and good, but what I didn’t get was why Greg was interested in her. He makes frequent mention of the fact that she answers his every question with a question, and I’ll tell you now: that would annoy the tar out of me. I guess she’s pretty . . . that might explain part of it. But beyond that, I just didn’t get much personality from her.
Still, I finished this book quickly and never thought about abandoning it. As Dani’s web became more and more tangled and the stakes grew ever higher, I had to know what was going to happen to she and her mom — and how they were going to get out of this one. And despite his bad habit of falling for boring chicks, Greg was pretty swoonworthy.
I might have gone with a 3.5-star rating for this one, but I have to deduct points for the weak ending. I wasn’t at all happy with the resolution, and I think so much of the story relies heavily on pure coincidence — always something that annoys me. Still, a pleasant enough read for teens. Just be aware of some sexual content (and it made my skin crawl) and language. The story is darker than the colorful, lighthearted cover might suggest.
3 out of 5!