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Title: The Academy: Thief (Scarab Beetle, 1)
Author: C. L. Stone
Rating: 4/5

Kayli is a thief, but not necessarily by choice. She needs to find a way to pay the hotel that puts up her drunk father, her brother, and herself, after all, so she resorts to stealing. During one of her afternoons as a pickpocket in a popular mall, she is stopped by a group of boys who offer to put her up with a job.

Plus, they have a mission to fulfil, and they need a thief.

For anyone who wonders, you don’t need to read Stone’s “Academy” series to understand what’s going on in this book. There are, however, references between “Ghost Bird” and “Scarab Beetle” – some of you who haven’t read the entire Ghost Bird series might be confused on some points. Spoilers until end of paragraph: Luke and Sang get the camera back in the fifth book of Ghost Bird. There are mentions of the boys from GB in this as well.

While I recommend keeping up with both series to fully enjoy the potential of this book, it is definitely not necessary.

I was a tiny bit disappointed that Stone chose to direct this book exactly the same way she directed GB. All the guys fell for Kayli, except one. I really hoped some guys would just see her as a friend, but no. Romantic interest from each and every one of them. Meh. It’s just a more “adult” version of Ghost Bird.

I do think that Kayli is a lot more realistic than Sang. I really enjoyed how real she felt. Finally, a girl who eats burgers! Her reaction to the boys’ flirting is also better displayed than in the other series; but then again, the two girls are completely different.

All in, this book makes me want to buy book 6 of Ghost Bird… This feels less of a “guilty pleasure” than GB, however, so I think anyone would truly enjoy it.

I’d like to thank Netgalley, as well as Arcato Publishing, for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.