Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Book: Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn, Viking Children’s Books, On Sale June 14

Book Info: YA Mystery, Review copy provided by DAC ARC tours, Avail. in HC 384 pg.

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

More Info: Goodreads | IndieBound | Amazon

Debut author Diana Renn’s Tokyo Heist is a blast to read and is full of adventure, culture and mystery. I think a wide range of readers will fall for this one, whether they are manga obsessed like the main character Violet, follow Japanese culture, have an interest in art or just enjoy a good mystery. All of those things made the book a fast read for me and I had fun trying to solve the mystery and following along with Violet’s comic The Adventures of Kimono Girl.

Violet is spending the summer with her dad in Seattle, a fact the distracted artist seems to have forgotten. When he gets a job painting a mural in Tokyo though, Violet is over the moon. Her friend Reika is already in Tokyo spending the summer and it’s always been her dream to visit there so she’s psyched to go. But this work and sightseeing trip turns into an art heist investigation when some priceless Van Gogh sketches are stolen from her dad’s art patrons the Yamada’s. Violet needs to help find the missing Van Gogh painting the thieves demand before bodily harm comes to her or her loved ones. And the yakuza (mafia) are involved so this is serious business. The investigation takes them from Seattle to Tokyo to Kyoto in this whodunit mystery.

Violet is a great character that I think many will relate to. She has some friendship drama with her best friend Edge who she’s started to have increasingly romantic feelings for.  Also, her relationship with her dad is a little rocky and he never seems to have time for her. She does have a lot going for her though and she’s resourceful, smart and artistic. She’s a likable heroine and I enjoyed seeing her confidence grow throughout the book. One thing that would have made her story even better is if her Kimono Girl sketches were included in the book. I really want to see them or perhaps a companion Kimono Girl graphic novel. Violet is always sketching and working on her book, putting her feelings into her work and I found that very endearing about her.

Travel and culture are almost character’s themselves in the book. If you have any interest in Japanese culture at all you will find this story fascinating. I’ve always been interested in Tokyo and so this book was a treat for me to explore the city through the shopping, dining and art Violet experiences.

The romance is very light in the book, so I can see this book appealing to a wide age group from middle school age to adult. The story reminded me a lot of Ally Carter’s Heist Society actually, not a bad thing at all. Wish there were more books like Tokyo Heist – the culture, art, friendship and family issues, and mystery make it a standout in today’s YA landscape. Look for Tokyo Heist to hit shelves June 14.


11 thoughts on “Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

  1. OH! I have to get this book! As a Japanese-American and someone who has spent a lot of time in Tokyo, I’m intrigued by the subject matter of the story. (Publishers should be paying you a commission – you’ve “hand-sold” a ton of books to me! LOL)

    1. Lucy says:

      I hope you like it Debbi! I’d love to go to Tokyo someday but I’m afraid this book is the closest I’m going to get for the time being. I think we’re book soulmates – we usually gravitate towards the same books 🙂

  2. So I keep hearing good things about this one, and from your descriptions I can see why people are liking it. For some reason the plot didn’t catch my eye that much, but now I think I do want to pick it up. I like that Heist Society comparison because those books are so much fun!

    1. Lucy says:

      Like Heist Society it’s light on romance but big on adventure, art and international travel. Hope you like it, Ashley if you get the chance to read it.

  3. I’m glad you liked this one, Lucy! I read a couple of pages yesterday and the writing wasn’t all that great, but I’m going to give it a chance. Great review 🙂

    1. Lucy says:

      Sorry it’s not working out for you so far. It keeps things interesting when we don’t all like the same things I guess 🙂 Looking forward to your review, Hafsah.

  4. I loved Heist Society, and I’ve been looking forward to this since I first heard about it. And your review is just making me want to read it,that much more. i need to read something fast-paced and riveting…so really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. 🙂

  5. bookgoonie says:

    I like this cover better than the one I’d seen. I didn’t realize it was an art heist. Very excited to get a hold of this one. Van Gogh is like my favorite to heist.

  6. VeganYANerds says:

    I haven’t heard of this so thanks for posting your review, Luce! It sounds different from a lot of YA that’s available at the moment which would make for a nice change and I like your idea of adding in some graphics, I bet that would have added a special touch

  7. Great review, I’m going to put this near the top of my to-read list This sounds like something I’d enjoy; I liked Ally Carter’s ‘Heist Society’ too.

  8. […] and Los Angeles are some of my favorite city settings. Just One Day, Anna and the French Kiss, and Tokyo Heist are a few […]

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