About the Book

Title: Thieving Weasels
Published: 2016
Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Cover Story: Coming This Fall to the Disney Channel
BFF Charm: Nay
Talky Talk: Keep the Change, Ya Filthy Animal
Bonus Factor: The Con
Relationship Status: Not My Type

Cover Story: Coming This Fall to the Disney Channel

Think your family’s tough? Skip O’Rourke’s family is so bad, it’s criminal. Literally! [Audience laughter] Between his wise-cracking uncle, his scheming mom and his no-good cousin, Skip wishes he could lock up his past and throw away the key. Literally! [Audience laughter] Skip wants to raise the bar on his life, but what if that lands everyone behind bars? [Zoom in to Skip’s face as he shrugs and winks. Audience laughter] Find out this fall, only on the Disney Channel!

The Deal

Armed with a beautiful girlfriend and an acceptance letter from Princeton, Skip O’Rourke’s future looks bright, which is exactly why he shouldn’t be surprised when his past rears its ugly head. He comes from a family of con men after all, and everyone knows that the moment you think you’re home free, there’s already chains wrapping around your ankles.

Turns out that Skip’s mother, whom he hasn’t seen in years, landed in a mental institution after she tried to commit suicide, and her brother blames it all on Skip for disappearing several years prior. Uncle Wonderful drags him back to Long Island to make good with his mom, but Skip knows that when it comes to the O’Rourkes, there’s always more to the story. If he wants to keep his shiny new life, Skip will have to take one last job, and the only question is: will he play along, or he is getting played?

BFF Charm: Nay

BFF Charm that says "denied"

Beyond the fact that he has street smarts and a conscience (always a winning combination), Skip didn’t leave much of an impression on me. He’s a character straight out of a dime store detective novel, a stand-up guy with a shady background, and the broad brushstrokes of his personality composed a rather bland portrait. Frankly, he bored me, and considering the fact that he knows how to pick locks and lift fingerprints, that’s a damn shame.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Skip is in love with the rich and beautiful Claire, who feels the same way about him, except “him” is Cam Smith, a person with a totally fabricated history. Their relationship, while sweet, felt tacked on to the story and was far less scintillating than the tales of past O’Rourke swindles.

Talky Talk: Keep the Change, Ya Filthy Animal

I get the impression that Billy Taylor watched a lot of mob movies before writing Thieving Weasels, because the pages are peppered with lines like, “Capisce?” and nicknames like Fat Nicky and Sally Broccoli. At the beginning, I found the pulpy tone to be a fun change of pace from the usual YA style, but eventually the charm wore off, and I was left wishing for something a little less cartoonish and a little more substantial.

Bonus Factor: The Con

The U.S. President is caught hitting on Natalie (Love, Actually)

I am a sucker (zing!) for stories that feature scams, elaborate manipulations and good ole double crossing. Sure, the web of deception surrounding Skip wasn’t super complex, but I still enjoyed trying to figure out the end game.

Relationship Status: Not My Type

Look, no offense, but I need a book with a few more layers. There’s plenty of readers out there who will dig your rascally vibe and uncomplicated approach, and those people are probably more age appropriate, too. (Are you sure you’re not middle grade?) But I’ve gotta go to the mattresses the library and move on, capisce?

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Dial Books, but got cocktails nor money in exchange for this review (dammit). Thieving Weasels is available now.


Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.