The Readymade Thief

Viking. Aug. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9780735221833. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780735221857. F
It's a bit of a challenge to describe this first novel, which feels a little like David Mitchell wrote The Da Vinci Code and mixed in a bit from Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers. Seventeen-year-old Lee Cuddy would probably be the first to tell you that she's no model kid. She steals, sells drugs, and has had more than her fair share of run-ins with the police. Still, she has good grades and plans for the future, including college with her best friend Edie. But when Lee takes the fall for a drug deal gone bad, her college plans evaporate and she finds herself homeless and on the run from both the law and a shady underground organization that believes she possesses something of great importance. Enter Tomi, a gifted hacker, who takes Lee under his wing and introduces her to urban exploration and the art world, all while evading those who pursue them. Rose has created an excellent twisty plot set against a richly textured backdrop, but his characters feel a bit sketched. We don't get to know Lee particularly well, and the people around her feel a bit like foils to help move the story along. But what a story it is!
VERDICT Give this one to readers looking for an unputdownable literary summer escape. [See Prepub Alert, 2/20/17.]
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