How to Lead a Life of Crime
The public thinks that the Mandel Academy is one of the best schools in the world and that it trains students to become successful and powerful. They aren’t wrong, but what they don’t know is that the Mandel Academy teaches those who attend the school skills of crime. Hacking, embezzlement, drug dealing – you name it, they teach it. And not everyone is allowed to graduate. Only the most talented (in other words, criminal-minded) students are allowed. Flick is a pickpocket and has been selected to attend the academy. Right from the start, he is one of the academy’s most talented students. But when more and more secrets come up about the Mandel Academy, Flick realizes that there is more to it than just a criminal school. Will Flick be able to uncover those secrets and make it out of the school? Or will he fall behind and not be allowed to graduate? Find out by reading the book!
This book has multiple topics that are not appropriate for younger children. Firstly, the main character’s father was abusive and drank a lot of alcohol, and younger children should not be exposed to this topic. The school that the story is centered around teaches students how to get away with crimes such as embezzlement, hacking, drug dealing, and more. Young readers should not know about these topics either. While the amount of violence in the book isn’t much, it can be enough to scare smaller readers (violence details are below). Flick is the main character, and his brother dies, and Flick suspects that his father is the murderer. Young readers may have never been exposed to the idea that adults can kill their children, and this may greatly scare them. Another thing that might be scary to them is the topic of morgues and bodies, both of which are discussed in the book. The book also requires to have a mature enough mind to both understand some underlying jokes and to connect ideas throughout the story, both of which younger readers may have difficulty in doing. Due to these reasons, the book would be better suited for readers above the age of 15.
There are a few good messages in this story. Some of them include determination (seen through Flick’s determination to get through the school), the importance of good friends and family (seen through Flick’s want for one after he has lost some), standing up for yourself (seen through Flick’s nature), and more.
This book does contain some violence. Firstly, murder and killing are a frequent topic. There are some fights scenes, and injuries are described in some detail. Flick’s father is abusive, and he subtly talks about some of the injuries he gets from the rampages his father went on. Guns are mentioned as well. The students have chips implanted in this bodies, and for Flick, some of the details of his surgeries are detailed, including mentions of blood. Students kill themselves and are murdered. Details of some deaths are also written. One of the characters has a very violent background, and it is described in a lot of detail.
There are bad words in this book. The words used include ‘Fa**ot’, ‘h*ll’, ‘sh*t’, ‘idi*t’, godd*mned’, ‘cr*p’, ‘d**mit’, ‘a**hole’, ‘a**’, ‘pi**ed’, ‘h*te’, ‘bada**’, ‘bullsh*t’ and ‘idi*t’.
There is a little bit of romance in the book. Flick is in love with a girl, but at his school is forced to date another one. There is kissing in the book, some of it a little passionate. (any sex-related topics are detailed below).
There are a lot of adult topics in this book. Firstly, drinking and alcohol is quite prominent in the story. The story also mentions booty calls and sleeping with people, AKA having sex. Herpes and Aderall are mentioned, along with steroids. The school that Flick attends teaches students how to get away with drug dealing and different types of drugs and the way that they are taken is mentioned as well. Human trafficking, extortion, larceny, rape, torture, and organ and blood farming are also mentioned, though very briefly. Suicide, STDs, pedophiles, necrophiliacs, and LGBTQ topics are fleetingly mentioned too. The students are secretly given drugs so that they become more well-behaved.
This book was great. Like, really great. While the plot was similar to other books I have read, the author made it into something totally unique. I didn’t feel like it was related to any of those other books I have read. I loved seeing how each character changed throughout the course of the story, especially Flick. Each character’s background story was also really well done, and I thought that their characters related perfectly to those stories. At the start of the book, I did think it was boring, but the deeper you get, the more riveting it becomes. I would certainly recommend this to someone.