Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott tells the story of a teenage girl struggling to find her own identity in a life of lies and deceit that has been forced upon her. This novel addresses issues such as honesty, loyalty to family and loved ones and feelings of being torn and uncertain. Scott illustrates the life of those who live on the other side of crime, the ones mentioned in newspapers and skillfully running from the law in a believable, honest light. She also demonstrates the twists and turns of everyday life for a struggling teenager, regardless of their social status or family situation.
The first page of Stealing Heaven ends with the quote, “My name is Danielle. I’m eighteen. I’ve been stealing things for as long as I can remember.” This gripping novel follows the life of Dani, an adolescent girl who, along with her conniving, unreliable mother, travels from town to town stealing antique silver from wealthy homes. They never stay in the same place for long, so having friends and a normal life is out of the question. Unfortunately, this is the only life Dani knows. Things change when the duo arrives in a small town, Heaven, and Dani begins to realize that she is tired of her life of lies. Along her journey to find an identity, she meets her first friend, Allison, who happens to live in the house they plan to rob. In addition, she begins to develop a forbidden relationship with Greg, a young police officer who shows her the honest life she has always yearned for.
This novel is not especially moving or memorable, but it still accomplishes its goals of entertaining its readers and exposing them to original characters with a unique situation. It gives the reader a new pair of shoes to walk in, those of a criminal uncertain of her choices, lifestyle and most of all, herself. Despite this, the plot follows a fairly predictable pattern which gets old quickly. Almost everything from the storyline can be traced back to another source. For example, Dani’s prohibited romance with Greg can be traced all the way back to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Regardless of the storyline, the characters are believable and readers can identify with them. Dani’s struggle to follow in her mother’s deceitful footsteps while trying to deal with her flakiness may not be exactly familiar to most readers, but her actions, hopes and feelings are certainly easy to identify with. Her relationships with caring, bubbly Allison and thoughtful, intriguing Greg are also similar to those in life.
Through Stealing Heaven Scott gives readers a look as to what life as a criminal is like, especially if that criminal happens to be an insecure teenage girl. The characters are convincing, but unfortunately they cannot improve the predictable story line. Although the plot of the novel is easily forgettable, it is entertaining in the moment and good for those who do not want to overly exert their brain. By Rachel Boyd <email@example.com>