Fifteen-year-old Kat Bishop got a taste for returning artwork confiscated during World War II to rightful owners during the events of Heist Society. In Uncommon Criminals her passion for that cause has her at odds with everyone near to her. It has her at odds with her best friend W. W. Hale the Fifth because of the unnecessary risks she takes, such as when she ventures alone to Brazil and Russia to reclaim two pieces of art.
Her passion has her at odds with the family business of thieving. When Constance Miller and her grandson pitch the story of how the Cleopatra Emerald was stolen from their family decades earlier, Kat has no clue how much trouble the emerald will cause her. For one thing, her Great Uncle Eddie has declared stealing this jewel forbidden. Then there’s the matter of its supposed curse, one that seems almost justified as misfortune visits Kat’s plans again and again. She finds herself in the unenviable position of being conned. Kat will need all the help she can get, but she’s angered half her family and Hale. Her graceful cousin Gabrielle has sprained her ankle in the middle of a heist.
Kat isn’t one to back down from a challenge nor are the teens around her. A few twists make this an entertaining contemporary adventure that reveals more about her family’s past (but still leaves everyone guessing as to Hale’s first name). There are the bumbling Bagshaw brothers trying to help, techcrazy Simon and the impeccable butler Marcus to round out the group that Kat has at her disposal.
While this is a great young adult read, I would also be quick to recommend it to late elementary and middle school readers who love stories of spies and thieves.