Immoral Code by Lillian Clark
Publication Date: February 19, 2019
Summary from NetGalley:
For Nari, aka Narioka Diane, aka hacker digital alter ego “d0l0s,” it’s college and then a career at “one of the big ones,” like Google or Apple. Keagan, her sweet, sensitive boyfriend, is happy to follow her wherever she may lead. Reese is an ace/aro visual artist with plans to travel the world. Santiago is off to Stanford on a diving scholarship, with very real Olympic hopes. And Bellamy? Physics genius Bellamy is admitted to MIT–but the student loan she’d been counting on is denied when it turns out her estranged father–one Robert Foster–is loaded.
Nari isn’t about to let her friend’s dreams be squashed by a deadbeat billionaire, so she hatches a plan to steal just enough from Foster to allow Bellamy to achieve her goals. Fast-paced and banter-filled, Lillian Clark’s debut is a hilarious and thought-provoking Robin Hood story for the 21st century.
ARC provided by Knopf Books for Young Readers via NetGalley for and honest review.
This is a fabulous debut about five kids who get in way over their heads. I really enjoyed spending time with these teens. They are close friends who know each other well, but perhaps not as well as they think. The story is told through all of their points of view, and it was fascinating to spend time in each character’s heads. This is less about a heist and more about morals and how to navigate life in your senior year.
Nari is the mastermind of the heist and she is the one with the tech abilities to pull it off. Although it is never directly stated she may have done some less than legal things on the dark net, but has never gone this far. She is the strongest advocate and fiercest believer that what they are doing is the right thing to do.
Keegan is the moral voice although he struggles with giving voice to his objections. He was one of my favorite characters. Listening to his inner dialogue was like a manual to right vs. wrong. He really struggled with the pressure of wanting to do what was right and not disappointing his friends.
Reese was another favorite character. I loved her descriptions of her friends moods and emotions, in artists terms using colors and vivid prose. She also had a a lot going on at home that colored some of how she felt about the heist.
Santiago was such a sweetie, and had his own struggles with confidence and standing up to his parents. It was interesting to have a character with Olympic hopes and what that meant for his future. His feelings for Bellamy also interfered a bit with his ability to think straight about what they were doing.
Bellamy was the smartest of the group and you would think she would be the one to protest the most. But I can totally understand why she wouldn’t. A father who can’t even acknowledge your existence, and then ruins your chance to go to MIT would make anyone mad. She does right in the end.
The plot was great. For the most part the story is about the inner struggles and the relationships of these five friends. The heist was not a big part of it. The whole heist actually felt pretty authentic too. It wasn’t over the top and felt like something a group of high school students would come up and accomplish. The aftermath was a bit over the top maybe? I’m not sure it would have quite played out the way it did, but it was a satisfactory ending.
Overall a great debut. If you like stories that have moral gray areas and a group of friends who support each other even when they are not sure what they are doing is right, than I highly recommend this book. If you are looking for a fast paced adventure, this doesn’t quite fit the bill.