Review: Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

life after theftLife After Theft
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Harper Teen
Age Group: Teen
Source: Library
Good Reads  |  Amazon
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary from Amazon:

Aprilynne Pike, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Wings series, shines in this stand-alone novel that offers a humorous twist on ghosts and is perfect for fans of Ally Carter, Rachel Hawkins, and Kiersten White.

Kimberlee Schaffer may be drop-dead gorgeous . . . but she also dropped dead last year. Now she needs Jeff’s help with her unfinished business, and she’s not taking no for an answer. When she was alive, Kimberlee wasn’t just a mean girl; she was also a complete kleptomaniac. So if Jeff wants to avoid being haunted until graduation, he’ll have to help her return all of the stolen items. But Jeff soon discovers that it’s much easier to steal something than it is to bring it back.

Paying for your mistakes takes on a whole new meaning in this hauntingly clever twist on The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Rating

3 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

My Thoughts

Life After Theft is actually a hard book for me to review.  I guess I should say right off the bat that I absolutely enjoyed Life After Theft.  It was a fun book.  However, I originally was interested in this particular book because of these sentence “Paying for your mistakes takes on a whole new meaning in this hauntingly clever twist on The Scarlet Pimpernel.”  Those words right there – The Scarlet Pimpernel – got me so excited about this book.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is an okay book.  I’ve read it, and it’s good.  It does have some unfortunate stereotypes, which just shows that is’s a product of the time it was written.  However, I LOVE the CHARACTER of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

I have to explain why I love the Pimpernel so much to adequately explain my feelings for Life After Theft.  So, The Scarlet Pimpernel is this hero who lives during the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution.  Basically, the French government is chopping off the heads (via the Guilloutine) of all these aristocrats.  The Pimpernel, however, through many different disguises, is able to save a lot of the nobles from decapation.  But that’s isn’t why I love him so much.  Well, of course saving people is totally admirable, but what I love so much about this character, is how he fools everyone.

So, (minor spoiler), The Scarlet Pimpernel is actually Sir Percival Blakeney, a noble from England.  To avoid suscpicion (I mean, he is on and out of Paris all the time) he creates this persona for Percy.  Basically he acts like a fool.  Someone who is obsessed with fashion, and really doesn’t have a thought in his head.  And that is what makes me love him so.  He isn’t afraid of making himself look the fool (even though he is quite brilliant) so that he can save people’s lives.  And the scenes where he’s acting like an idiot are so much fun.

My favorite movie adapation of The Scarlet Pimpernel is the one with Anthony Andrews, and oh my gosh, he’s perfect as Percy.  The way his voice changes when he goes from being stupid Percy, to genuine Percy is amazing.  And it’s quite funny, too.

Anyway, so you can see what I love the character of The Scarlet Pimpernel so much.  So, I was sooo hoping to see a character similar to this in Life After Left . . . but there wasn’t.  In fact, Life After Theft is really not much like The Scarlet Pimpernel at all.  Since I am so familiar with the story, I could pick out the simmilarities, however Life After Theft isn’t a direct retelling.  That’s not a bad, thing, though.  I really like when author’s take the basic idea of a classic, but change it around to work for them.

But, what I was a little disappointed in, was that there wasn’t a Percy character.  Jeff, who is the main character in Life After Theft, is a totally nice guy.  I really liked him.  But . . . he didn’t have to act one way infront of everyone as a disguise.  And that’s what I really wanted; that’s what I love so much about The Scarlet Pimpernel (the story).

I liked the story of Life After Theft.  I thought it was really interesting story, a mean girl’s ghost stuck on Earth until she returns all the stuff she stole.  And Jeff being the only one who can help her.  Again, it really didn’t have that Pimpernel feeling, and if I wasn’t so in love with TSP, I probably wouldn’t be disappointed at all.

I do have to say, that Jeff didn’t feel like the mastermind behind the whole “return all the stuff” project, which was sad.  I wanted him to be the leader, like Percy was.  This is a small gripe, though.

There are quite a few secondary characters in this one, and I thought they were all well-developed.  Of course, there’s Kimberlee, the ghost that only Jeff can see.  She’s not really all that nice, but there are some layers there.  And then there is Serafina, the sort of love interest (this really isn’t a romance, though).  I loved that Sera wasn’t a perfect angel, and that she had a past that she was dealing with.  And that Jeff still liked her anyway.  Jeff’s parents were cool, although my parents would never be that way (and I had very easy going parents).

So I definitely liked Life After Theft.  It’s just that I didn’t get the Pimpernel feeling, which is what I was hoping for.  Although I really liked this book, if I wasn’t a huge fangirl of TSP, I think I would have liked this book more.  Who else is a huge Pimpernel fan?  And have you seen the Anthony Andrews version?

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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7 Responses to Review: Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

  1. Hi! I’m so sad I haven’t been around but for some reason WP is not sending blogs to me anymore and today they all popped up! Here I am! I’m so glad you mentioned the Scarlet Pimpernel detail. I have not read it and I didn’t realize LIFE was supposed to be anything like it… and you are so right. This character does not exist. So weird it was marketed this way. Agree though this book was fun and entertaining and I really liked the male POV here. Could have used a little bit more detail I think and the Serafina relationship could have been taken a little slower but I thought it was a great read esp since I don’t normally read books with ghosts! Great review!

  2. Christina says:

    Great review! I felt the same way about this book. I thought it was entertaining, but I really didn’t get a Scarlet Pimpernel vibe either. I thought it was just me. haha. One thing that I did like, along with Estelle, was the male POV, but I think the cover of this book may turn many male readers off. It wasn’t my favorite Aprilynne Pike book by any means, but the concept was fun.

  3. Aww I was at first like YAY SP..then I was sad because if it doesn’t have much similarity it would be a pass for me!

  4. I really hate when book jackets or summaries compare it to another book and then it doesn’t even come close. I’m glad you enjoyed it though! I’m craving standalones right now so this might be one that I pick up.

  5. I’m really going to have to give this author a try some time. This isn’t the type of book I would usually enjoy but if I see it at the library I’ll give it a try. Too bad it lacked the element you wanted to see in terms of the Pimpernel aspect.
    Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  6. Kayla Graham says:

    I’ve never read The Scarlet Pimpernel or Life After Theft. Life after Theft sounds really good though it reminds me of a movie I once saw where this girl was also a ghost and she had to attend to some unfinished business before she could move on… I love the concept of this idea. It’s always fun to see how the ghost character changes and grows. Thanks for the great review!

    Kayla @ K.G. INC

  7. Candice says:

    I haven’t read The Scarlet Pimpernel – but whenever I see sometihing about it I think about you! 🙂 Have you gotten to read Across a Star-Swept Sea? It’s a retelling of SP!

    I started this book and it was cute… I enjoyed it… but then I put it down and didn’t really feel like picking it back up. I’d like to, just because it was an e-galley, but meh.. I’m in no hurry to!

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