Rules for Thieves

Twelve-year-old Alli Rosco has spent most of her life in an orphanage in a city called Azeland. Belligerent and sarcastic, she sabotages every effort the sisters make to find her an adoptive home. Although she's close to aging out, she decides one day, "why wait when you can run?" She manages to evade the sisters in her scramble up and over the orphanage wall, but is struck by a magical curse when a law enforcement officer known as a protector tries to catch her in the city. She is saved from another protector by a boy named Beck, who turns out to be a member of the legendary Thieves Guild. Alli learns that her only hope to survive the curse is to go to the very expensive Healing Springs, and her only chance to get the money for the cure is by joining the rule-heavy Thieves Guild. ("Stealing is necessary to survive." "Don't draw attention to yourself, and you won't get caught.") But one unspoken rule may end up being the hardest one to abide by, even for tough-girl Alli: "Don't think too much about who the marks [targets] are. Looking at what they carry, not who they are, makes it easier to ignore the lurch in my stomach that might, maybe, be guilt."

Alexandra Ott's funny, thrilling debut, Rules for Thieves, will have readers flipping pages from the very first scene. Alli is a lovable, whip-smart protagonist. The growing bond between her and Beck as they wisecrack their way through their dangerous Guild task will make the surprising conclusion all the more heartbreaking even as it leaves her with a sense of hope she's never experienced. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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