Most stories dedicate their main characters to the path of ‘good’ and ‘righteousness’, but what about the characters that aren’t so good?
These books focus on the ladies and gentlemen who aren’t so good; the anti-heroes, the villainous ones, and those who aren’t exactly on the ‘straight and narrow’.
Six Of Crows – Bardugo, Leigh
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price―and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don’t kill each other first.
Hate List – Brown, Jennifer
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.
Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends, and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with her role in the tragedy that took place, in order to make amends and move on with her life.
Heist Society – Carter, Ally
For as long as she can remember, Katarina has been a part of the family business—thieving. When Kat tries to leave “the life” for a normal life, her old friend Hale conspires to bring her back into the fold. Why? A mobster’s art collection has been stolen, and Kat’s father is the only suspect. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.
The only solution is to find the paintings and steal them back. Kat’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history—and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.
Artemis Fowl – Colfer, Eoin
Twelve-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl has discovered a world below ground of armed and dangerous–and extremely high-tech–fairies. He kidnaps one of them, Holly Short, and holds her for ransom in an effort to restore his family’s fortune. But he may have underestimated the fairies’ powers. Is he about to trigger a cross-species war?
Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns – Dao, Julie
Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her.
Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high? Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.
We Were Here – De la Pena, Matt [Axis 360]
When it happened, Miguel was sent to Juvi. The judge gave him a year in a group home—said he had to write in a journal so some counselor could try to figure out how he thinks. The judge had no idea that he actually did Miguel a favor. Ever since it happened, his mom can’t even look at him in the face. Any home besides his would be a better place to live.
But Miguel didn’t bet on meeting Rondell or Mong or on any of what happened after they broke out. He only thought about Mexico and getting to the border to where he could start over. Forget his mom. Forget his brother. Forget himself.
Life usually doesn’ t work out how you think it will, though. And most of the time, running away is the quickest path right back to what you’re running from.
Don’t Get Caught – Dinan, Kurt
10:00 tonight at the water tower. Tell no one. -Chaos Club
When Max receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, he has to ask: why him? After all, he’s Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life. He’s Just Max. And his favorite heist movies have taught him this situation calls for Rule #4: Be suspicious. But it’s also his one shot to leave Just Max in the dust…
Yeah, not so much. Max and four fellow students-who also received invites-are standing on the newly defaced water tower when campus security “catches” them. Definitely a setup. And this time, Max has had enough. It’s time for Rule #7: Always get payback.
Let the prank war begin.
Son Of The Mob – Korman, Gordon [Axis 360 only]
Vince Luca is just like any other high school guy. His best friend, Alex, is trying to score vicariously through him; his brother is a giant pain; and his father keeps bugging him to get motivated. There is just one thing that really sets him apart for other kids his father happens to be the head of a powerful crime organization. Needless to say, while Vince’s family’s connections can be handy for certain things-like when teachers are afraid to give him a bad grade as they can put a serious crimp in his dating life. How is he supposed to explain to a girl what his father does for a living? But when Vince finally meets one who seems to be worth the trouble, her family turns out to be the biggest problem of all. Because her father is an FBI agent-the one who wants to put his father away for good.
Genuine Fraud – Lockhart, E.
Imogen lives at the Playa Grande Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. She spends her days working out in the hotel gym and telling other guests how she was forced out of Stanford.
But Imogen isn’t really Imogen. She’s Jule. And she’s on the run from something. Or someone. Which means . . . where is the real Imogen?
Rewind: Jule and Imogen are the closest of friends. Obsessed with each other, even. Imogen is an orphan, an heiress; she and Jule spend a summer together in a house on Martha’s Vineyard, sharing secrets they’d never reveal to another soul.
But that was months ago. Where is Immie now? And why is Jule using her name?
Catwoman: Soulstealer – Maas, Sarah
When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has.
Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, the city looks ripe for the taking.
Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever—she may be Batwing’s undoing.
One Of Us Is Lying – McManus, Karen
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
How To Lead A Life Of Crime – Miller, Kirsten
A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.
Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.
Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?
Monster – Myers, Walter Dean
Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I’ll call it what the lady who is the prosecutor called me. MONSTER.
FADE IN: INTERIOR COURT. A guard sits at a desk behind Steve. Kathy O’Brien, Steve’s lawyer, is all business as she talks to Steve.
Let me make sure you understand what’s going on. Both you and this king character are on trial for felony murder. Felony Murder is as serious as it gets. . . . When you’re in court, you sit there and pay attetion. You let the jury know that you think the case is a serious as they do. . . .
You think we’re going to win ?
It probably depends on what you mean by “win.”
Sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. A Harlem drugstore owner was shot and killed in his store, and the word is that Steve served as the lookout.
Guilty or innocent, Steve becomes a pawn in the hands of “the system,” cluttered with cynical authority figures and unscrupulous inmates, who will turn in anyone to shorten their own sentences. For the first time, Steve is forced to think about who he is as he faces prison, where he may spend all the tomorrows of his life.
As a way of coping with the horrific events that entangle him, Steve, an amateur filmmaker, decides to transcribe his trial into a script, just like in the movies. He writes it all down, scene by scene, the story of how his whole life was turned around in an instant. But despite his efforts, reality is blurred and his vision obscured until he can no longer tell who he is or what is the truth.
Pretending To Be Erica – Painchaud, Michelle [Axis 360 only]
Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again. Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She knows every detail of the Silvermans’ lives, as well as the PTSD she will have to fake around them. And then, when the time is right, she “reappears”—Erica Silverman, brought home by some kind of miracle. But she is also Violet, and she has a job: Stay long enough to steal the Silverman Painting, an Old Master legendary in the Vegas crime world. Walking a razor’s edge, calculating every decision, not sure sometimes who she is or what she is doing it for, Violet is an unforgettable heroine, and Pretending to be Erica is a killer debut.
Death Prefers Blondes – Roehrig, Caleb
Teenage socialite Margo Manning leads a dangerous double life. By day, she dodges the paparazzi while soaking up California sunshine. By night, however, she dodges security cameras and armed guards, pulling off high-stakes cat burglaries with a team of flamboyant young men. In and out of disguise, she’s in all the headlines.
But then Margo’s personal life takes a sudden, dark turn, and a job to end all jobs lands her crew in deadly peril. Overnight, everything she’s ever counted on is put at risk. Backs against the wall, the resourceful thieves must draw on their special skills to survive. But can one rebel heiress and four kickboxing drag queens withstand the slings and arrows of truly outrageous fortune? Or will a mounting sea of troubles end them―for good?
Far From You – Sharpe, Tess [Axis 360 only]
Four months ago, a dark secret led to the murder of Sophie’s best friend, Mina. Forced into rehab for an addiction she has already overcome, Sophie is out again and in pursuit of the person who killed her best friend, but can she get to them before they get to her?
Pretty Little Liars – Shepard, Sara
In ultra-trendy Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four beautiful girls are hiding very ugly secrets. High school juniors Spencer, Hanna, Aria, and Emily have grown apart since their best friend Alison DiLaurentis went missing three years ago. But now someone is sending them anonymous notes, threatening to reveal their darkest secrets. There’s only one person who knows that much about them, but Ali’s gone . . . isn’t she?
H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) – Walden, Mark
Otto Malpense may only be thirteen years old, but so far he has managed to run the orphanage where he lives, and he has come up with a plan clever enough to trick the most powerful man in the country. He is the perfect candidate to become the world’s next supervillain.
That is why he ends up at H.I.V.E., handpicked to become a member of the incoming class. The students have been kidnapped and brought to a secluded island inside a seemingly active volcano, where the school has resided for decades. All the kids are elite; they are the most athletic, the most technically advanced, and the smartest in the country. Inside the cavernous marble rooms, floodlit hangars, and steel doors, the students are enrolled in Villainy Studies and Stealth and Evasion 101. But what Otto soon comes to realize is that this is a six-year program, and leaving is not an option.
With the help of his new friends: an athletic martial-arts expert; a world-famous, beautiful diamond thief; and a spunky computer genius — the only other people who seem to want to leave — can Otto achieve what has never been done before and break out of H.I.V.E.?
Sting – Watson, Jude
Twelve-year-old March McQuin forgot rule number one for cat burglars, which is how he and his twin sister, Jules, found themselves dangling upside down twenty feet above a stone floor at three in the morning. Their target was a set of stunning diamonds and it should have been an easy job, in and out. Except another thief got there first. March and Jules were lucky to escape with their lives, and one measly stone.
Now the botched heist has created a world of trouble. The stone they grabbed was the Morning Star, one of a trio of famous sapphires, and it’s cursed. The theft put the twins and their friends in the crosshairs of Interpol, the FBI, and a vicious adult gang of international criminals. And worst of all, the only way to break the curse and set everything to rights is by somehow managing to steal the other two sapphires in the set.
Break out the black gloves. Lay out the masks. There’s a full moon coming, and jewels to steal…