Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Review of Tokyo Heist

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Title & Author:
Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn
Viking Children’s
Publication Date:
June 14, 2012
Hafsah (THANK YOU!)

Sixteen-year-old Violet loves reading manga and wearing scarves made from kimono fabric, so she’s thrilled that her father’s new painting commission means a summer trip to Japan. But what starts as an exotic vacation quickly turns into a dangerous treasure hunt.

Her father’s newest clients, the Yamada family, are the victims of a high-profile art robbery: van Gogh sketches have been stolen from their home, and, until they can produce the corresponding painting, everyone’s lives are in danger — including Violet’s and her father’s.

Violet’s search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery thickens, Violet’s not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to solve the mystery — before it’s too late. – Goodreads

It’s no secret how much I’ve been looking forward to reading Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn – and once I got it, I admit, I held off reading Tokyo Heist for a bit because what if it didn’t hold up to my expectations? I would be devastated! (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does crazy things like this.)

Thankfully, Tokyo Heist totally lived up to my expectations. I was immediately sucked in by Violet and her love of manga and art and the cute boy and the MYSTERY. I was a little worried for about 20 pages because I was like DO THEY EVEN GO TO TOKYO I NEED TO KNOW but duh, they do. Silly impatient me.

Okay, let’s start with Violet. I know absolutely nothing about Manga, and my knowledge of Japanese culture extends to reading the blog of a girl I know who studied abroad in Japan for a year. So I don’t know a lot, basically. But Violet is so into manga and Japanese culture and I kind of loved living vicariously through her as she explored Japan for the first time.

Also, I absolutely loved the way Violet incorporated her real life mystery into the manga she was actually creating as the story went on – Kimono Girl sounds kind of awesome and I would definitely read the manga if it were a real thing!

And, Violet is ballsy. As much as I love to read about mystery, I don’t know that I would have the guts to snoop around Seattle and Tokyo when Japanese gangsters are involved, you know?

Another thing I loved about Tokyo Heist is that it wasn’t entirely focused on romance. Oh, there’s romance alright – and it’s MY FAVOURITE KIND – but Violet is way more focused, for the most part, on who stole the bajillion dollar Van Gogh painting and what not, which kind of rocked. It bugs me when books are focused solely on romance, and Tokyo Heist definitely balanced everything very well. Plus, Reika, Violet’s friend, played a huge role in the story and I am all about the friendship.

THE CULTURE. I loved the way Diana Renn integrated various Japanese words into Violet’s vocabulary and how, as Violet was introduced to important customs in Japan so were we – but not in an overly “I’m teaching you this is how it’s done” kind of way, you know?

Plus, the setting was AWESOME. I loved how Diana Renn beautifully described all these different areas of Japan and now I’m officially traveling there. Basically.

And I loved how the art thievery/mystery was set up. All sorts of important details are included throughout Tokyo Heist, and I was able to put them together myself, which I loved – it makes me feel SMART.

Okay, I have fangirl-ed like crazy over Tokyo Heist and over Diana Renn, and in case you couldn’t catch my drift – you should go pick Tokyo Heist when it comes out. Tokyo Heist is a fun and thrilling book featuring art thievery, cute boys, foreign settings, and mystery galore.

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