This popped up on my Goodreads and sounded really good. I finally checked it out from the library and really enjoyed it! I’m not sure how excited I am about the upcoming Netflix adaptation but I’ll probably end up checking that out, too!
Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.
For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:
#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.
#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:
#3: Right after they enter bank, two guys start robbing it.
The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage…
I love a well-done unreliable narrator and this was a fun twist on that. Nora grew up as her mother’s pet con artist so it makes sense that a part of her would always be unreliable as a narrator. She had the elements of not trusting herself and a mysterious history painting her an a bit of a question mark and I really liked it.
Nora was a strong main character because she felt like such a real person. It seems like con artists are depicted as so badass in movies and as something very set aside from “normal” people but this book focused more on the emotional downsides of that kind of lifestyle. Nora went through scary and unsafe situations when she was with her mother and those parts of the book really made me feel for her but also admire her. The content got heavy but showed Nora’s ingenuity and strength.
While some of the content was definitely on the more intense side, the robbery scenes were still very thrilling and exciting. I loved Nora’s analytical side and seeing the hostage situation through her eyes. It really showed her intelligence while also showing just how much her past influenced who she became. Most people, as shown in the book, would freak out in this situation but Nora immediately started looking for advantages and weaknesses while profiling the robbers and planning how to safely get out of the situation.
The split narrative between Nora’s past and the present robbery was a great setup for the book. Nora’s character was developed very organically and the pacing was well-maintained. The author went into a lot of detail about Nora’s ex boyfriend and girlfriend as well, which expanded the plot and illustrated how Nora’s past was a double-edged sword when it came to having those relationships.
I loved Nora’s relationship with her sister. It was amazing to see the extent that Lee would go for her sister and I loved how tight and solid their bond felt.
This book goes into physical, emotional, and sexual abuse on top of overall manipulation. It’s been weeks since I’ve read this book and my heart still hurts when I think about these scenes. It’s not that the scenes themselves were graphic in their descriptions, it’s that the characters felt so real that what hurt them hurt me. The relationships were so well-developed that when all the characters felt this pain it was impossible for it to not feel a little consuming. All the elements in this book, from the dark ones to the thrilling ones to the sensitive ones, blended so well together and created a very emotionally-compelling book.
I would definitely recommend reading this book. It’s got lgbtq+ representation, a badass MC, a complex storyline, and great relationships. This is the first book that I’ve read by Tess Sharpe but it very likely won’t be the last.