Genre: Heist, YA
Publication date: February 19th, 2019
by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
For Nari, aka Narioka Diane, aka hacker digital alter ego “d0l0s," it’s college and then a career at “one of the big ones," like Google or Apple. Keagan, her sweet, sensitive boyfriend, is happy to follow her wherever she may lead. Reese is an ace/aro visual artist with plans to travel the world. Santiago is off to Stanford on a diving scholarship, with very real Olympic hopes. And Bellamy? Physics genius Bellamy is admitted to MIT—but the student loan she’d been counting on is denied when it turns out her estranged father—one Robert Foster—is loaded.
Nari isn’t about to let her friend’s dreams be squashed by a deadbeat billionaire, so she hatches a plan to steal just enough from Foster to allow Bellamy to achieve her goals.
-A copy was provided by Knopf Books for Young Readers for review-
I love a good heist book and 2019 truly seems to be the year of heist books but unfortunately, Immoral Code was not everything I wanted it to be. It’s the kind of book that has good bones but ultimately, neither the writing style nor the pacing worked for me.
The entire time I was reading the book, the characters voices felt sort of inauthentic? But upon reflection I don’t think the fact that they were all self-aware makes them inauthentic, I am an extremely self-aware human being, but I think self-awareness doesn’t always translate as well in writing. This book is written in a very free, stream-of-consciousness style and yes, human beings constantly think that way but also, I don’t want to hear every single thought an MC has.
Throw in 5 povs and it’s basically just confusion galore. I was at least a quarter of the way into the book before I was able to even differentiate whose chapter was whose. WHICH, YES, the heading tells you which character it is BUT STILL. They all read EXACTLY the same. It took me a while to figure out who was in charge, who the crew was committing the heist for, etc.
SPEAKING OF THE HEIST. I was pretty fucking sad that most of the book is actually planning for the heist/getting to the location. The heist itself doesn’t take place until about the 65% mark (based on where I was at in the kindle version) and was honestly not nearly as exciting as I wanted it to be.
There is also a lot of unnecessary drama that could have easily been avoided if the characters, who have been best friends for a long time, just did the bare minimum and COMMUNICATED WITH EACH OTHER. One of the characters is really having a hard time wrapping his head around the moral implications of what they are going to do. He agreed to be part of the heist (which he shouldn’t have) but then has second thoughts. No one takes even a minute to have an open conversation with him about what is going to happen. Everyone is defensive and accusations are thrown and feelings are hurt. ALL OF THIS COULD HAVE BEEN SO EASILY AVOIDED it hurt.
I really don’t have anything good to say about this book aside from the fact that it was tolerable enough that I got to the end and didn’t hate the ending (but also felt that the ending made everything feel pointless.) I don’t think Immoral Code is even an inherently bad book. I personally had a lot of issues with the stream-of-consciousness writing style which made it a lot harder to enjoy the book.
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