Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Tokyo Heist
Tokyo Heist
Published: June 14th 2012 
Viking Children's Books / Penguin
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository (free shipping)
Review copy provided by Publisher for an honest review.
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.

~My Review~

I've had this book for over three months now and I'm so glad that I finally had the chance to read it. The story was just exciting from start to finish. I'm also in love with any thing Japan related so the setting definitely won me over.

Tokyo Heist is well-written, adventurous, youthful, and undeniably irresistible. Diana Renn is off to a good start and I'm now itching badly for her next work.

Let's start off with what I absolutely loved about the book:

Violet. This is a girl who like me loves all things Japanese. She's fascinated by the culture and all it has to offer, so you can only imagine how wonderful it was that she had the chance to not only go to the country, but to also help (without being asked that is) with the mystery before her. I was pointing fingers since the opening chapter as to who the crook was. To be honest, I never suspected that person to actually be the culprit. Just didn't fit my criteria I guess.
I'm also satisfied with her romantic interest, and how oblivious he was at start to her feelings. But good thing for her there was further development to her love life as the story went on.

Other characters I liked (but disliked at start) was her dad. I admired him for his artistic nature, but I would've liked him to spend more time with his daughter. It also bothered me how he failed to mention that he even had a daughter to the people he worked with. Like seriously, what the hell! I did warm up to his character later on though. 
Was there anything I didn't like?

Nada. Diana wrote without constraints. She threw out details right at the beginning so readers could understand what was taking place at the same time when Violet was finding stuff out as well. I think her technique was just pure genius and I applaud her for never making me get bored with too much. 
Her choice in setting was just tasteful. It's always more interesting when you base your story in a foreign country. There's nothing more exotic than that.

I don't think I can write any further on how awesome this book was for me. I can just tell you go pick it up if you haven't read it yet and prepare yourselves to get blown away. As of today, Diana Renn is my favorite debut author!

Diana  RennAbout the Author
Diana grew up in Seattle and now lives in Boston with her husband and son. She graduated from Hampshire College and earned an M.A. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University. After graduate school, Diana taught ESL, writing, and literature, worked in educational publishing, and authored several ESL textbooks. She also traveled whenever possible, and taught English in South America.
In addition to writing for young adults, Diana writes short stories and essays, which have been published in a variety of magazines and literary journals.
When she’s not writing, Diana enjoys bicycling and taiko drumming.


  1. This book sounds really exciting, and I love the fact that it's set in Japan! How cool :D
    It must be really good if there was absolutely nothing you didn't like about it - and you've made me want to read Tokyo Heist now!

    Catherine :)
    The Book Parade

  2. I'm totally looking forward to reading this book. I love the different setting and the characters sound great.

  3. I too have a big love for Japan, sushi, sashimi and manga so this def sounds like something I'd enjoy! Plus if you couldn't find any faults in it, I really need to read it! Thanks for the recommendation and absolutely lovely review!!!

  4. Great review! I hadn't really had this book on my radar, but you enjoyed it so much that I at least have to give it a try! :)

  5. Oh, I love how this book sounds!! And Violet? I love that name!! I hope I can read this book. And if you were mada about nada, I must to try it!

  6. LOVE the review! I'm totally going to add this one to my TBR pile! :)

  7. I have seen this around but I haven't read any reviews. Your review is compelling me to read this! I like action and excitement and let's face it I know very little about Japan. I want to meet Violet for sure!

  8. This sounds like it would make an excellent action/adventure movie. Lots of fun, danger and intrigue. Great review Shane. I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

    1. I was thinking the same thing while reading. This book embodies everything a good action film needs.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I have tagged you to receive the Liebster Blog Award, Shane! This blog award is given for blogs that have under 200 followers. Find out more at:

  10. This is the June release book I was really looking forward to- that I haven't been able to get a copy for. My library hasn't ordered it yet.


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