Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 340 Pages
Publication Date: April 1st, 2016
Source: ARC via publisher
Stars: 4.5 out of 5
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
The first thing that caught my attention about Don’t Get Caught was the originality of its premise. A young adult novel that’s pitched as an Ocean’s Eleven meets The Breakfast Club is a book that I was meant to read and love. Luckily, this book did not disappoint because I can honestly say that I that this book will be one of my top 10 favorites of the year.
I absolutely loved how all of the characters were so well developed, whether they were students, parents, or teachers each of them had a distinctive voice in the story. Like The Breakfast Club we have our five high school stereotypes as main characters. First we have the jock, Adleta, he’s a lacrosse player who is under a lot of pressure to be the best and win by both his father and Mr. Stranko. Next we have the class clown, Wheeler who as it turns out is not just dumb. He’s actually pretty smart and has a wide variety of often times illegal, but impressive skills. Out of the five of their pranks I liked his the best, they were over the top and gloriously fun to read! Then we have Malone, the artist, who is sarcastic, funny, sensitive and amazingly skilled as an artist. Next is Ellie, the most complex character out of the five. I can’t really talk about her as a character without spoiling the ending but I will say for being a preachers daughter she was the most devious out of the five of them. Last but not least, our main character and narrator, Max who was such a fun character to read. He was not only the hilarious and endearing mastermind of The Water Tower 5 but was also the one who developed the most as a character. Throughout the novel Max bases his decisions on what would “just Max” and “not just Max” do. Which at first I kinda thought that it was weird but as the novel progressed I understood how he felt and why he made a lot of “not just Max ” decisions. I think that we all feel the same way as Max at one point in our lives, that we are just suffocating in our own mediocrity and want to do something different and exciting, hence the pranking. Especially after a classmate says this during philosophy class;
“Nobodies can be good people. They’re just not very important. Like Dan over there. He’s nice and people like him, but he’s not special or anything.”
I looked up from my notebook, wondering just who Tami was talking about because there isn’t any Dan in our class.
Then I saw where she was pointing.
And everyone was looking my way too.
This is my life.
“My name’s Max,” I said.
Tami did a perfectly executed whatever shrug that made my face burn.
“We’ve been in classes together since kindergarten,” I said.
Another aspect that I adored was the writing, the author, Kurt Dinan has such an incredible and unique writing style. He isn’t concerned with being philosophical, and doesn’t come off as pretentious instead he tells a story that made me laugh and captivated me. I especially like how the narrative is constructed in a series of heist rules – Heist rule, #1,#2,#3 etc. even the ending is somewhat similar to a heist movie! That being said, I definitely do think that there could be a sequel to Don’t Get Caught. You know what, scratch that I NEED a sequel to this story.
Don’t Get Caught is one of those wonderful books that I think that everyone could enjoy, whether you are young or old. It is so much more than a novel about a ragtag group of misfits pranking people. It is a humorous, unique and insightful debut novel with characters that everyone can and will be able to relate to.
Thank you so much Sourcebooks and the Irish Bananas Tours for providing me with a e-arc copy for review. In compliance with FTC guidelines, I must state that I received this book for free and was in no way compensated for my review.
ABOUT KURT DINAN:
Kurt Dinan is a high school English teacher living in Cincinnati. His debut novel, DON’T GET CAUGHT, will be released in April of 2016. He is represented by Kerry Sparks of LGR.
3 Finished Copies of DON’T GET CAUGHT (US Only)
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