When Ocean’s Eleven meets the Breakfast Club, this is how Don’t Get Caught is described, and I’ve never heard a blurb so accurate. You know, sometimes they just put references, for the sake of it, and you realize the book has NOTHING to do with it? Well, thankfully, this was not the case. Here, we get a perfect recipe between heist movies, high school stereotypes, questions of identity, all of it surrounded by epic, epic pranks, and a load of fun.
OCEAN’S ELEVEN: HEIST MOVIE AT ITS BEST
I’m a huge Friends fan, so, if you don’t like it, or haven’t seen it, let me apologize, but this book could be summed up in one quote from that glorious show: “The messers become the messies!”. It all starts when Max, infamous, average student, gets an envelope in his locker: an invitation from the Chaos Club, the club without faces whom always manages to pull of the best, craziest pranks, and never, ever get caught. An invitation to crime, an invitation to move out of his comfort-zone? Max can’t resist. But when he, and four other students, meet at the scene of the crime, they realize they’ve been framed, and punished for a prank they didn’t commit. And that’s when the messers become the messies. Seeking revenge, Max finds allies in this unlikely group of new friends. From now on, there won’t be rest ‘til the spotlight is on, right on the Chaos’ Club invisible faces. I have to say, just from reading the synopsis of this book, I knew it was going to be a lot of fun. The whole idea of pranks kind of reminded me of many other books, Pretty Little Liars included, with a less extreme fate, obviously. From prank to prank, I just found myself flowing through the pages quickly, wanting to know what would happen next, who was the Chaos Club, really, and what crazy idea they would have. And I had a smile on my face the whole time. Kurt Dinan’s writing is simple but good, it’s easy to read, without useless or complicated metaphors, and it’s a load of fun. I often found myself smiling while I read, because of the story, the characters, everything.
THE BREAKFAST CLUB: WE’RE ALL PRETTY BIZARRE
Another great thing about this book, is the set of characters: surrounding our main character, Max, we have four very different, yet very interesting secondary characters. As we go on, we get to meet each of them, peel off a little bit the layers of their personalities. It was great to see that there was more to our main character than Max, or, Just Max, as he calls himself. That was the most fun part of the book: we got to see how hard it is, to fit in, and to define yourself while you’re in high school. Influenced by the people around you, by who you are and who you’re supposed to be, how, exactly, are you supposed to really KNOW who you are and WANT to be, deep inside? This whole question of identity, this choice between Max, before he decided to go to the Water Tower, and after he decided to seek revenge, is at the heart of this book. As we go on, and as the pranks get more and more dangerous and mean and potentially criminal, Max struggles to know if he’s doing what the person he wants to be would be doing. What it really means to seek revenge, or to just want justice. The other four characters weren’t left out: we got so many interactions between them, we got to know them a little bit, too, and to see that the author really wondered about all the layers a person can have. For instance, Wheeler, playing the “criminal” role from the Breakfast Club, was more than just, a criminal. We can take all of the characters from that book, associate them pretty easily with a Breakfast Club character, and find out that they’re more than just what they’ve been labeled to be. Now THAT was good. I have to say, I don’t know if it’s me being difficult, or the fact that I just ate this book too quickly, but, if the interactions were fast and the whole story was a quick-read, I missed a little bit getting to know each of the characters. Aside from the main character, with four different people, it’s hard to focus on all of them and to dig deeper with each of them, I guess.
If you’re looking to have a good time, a smile on your face, and a book to read in a day, you should try Don’t Get Caught. This book is entertaining, a lot of fun, but it’s also questioning identity, revenge and justice. My only wish would have been to be a little more surprised with it. If the pranks and their ideas surprised me, I guessed the ending and who really was behind all of this. And hm… it ends with a point where it should have been a coma, or at least another chapter. That was frustrating. I don’t know if this leaves an open door to a sequel, or if it just leaves an open door for us to stare at in wonderment, but… WHY are you doing this?!
Final rating: 3 drops!
Thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me a digital ARC of this book via NetGalley. This did not in any way influence my thoughts about this.
Do you want to read Don’t Get Caught? Do you like books with pranks? Share your thoughts in comments!
Kurt Dinan, Don’t Get Caught, Published by Sourcebooks, April 1st 2016.
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.