I was surprised by Stealing Heaven. I picked it up expecting a cheery, chick-lit read - Ocean's Eleven a-la-Sophie-Kinsella. That would have been great, but what Scott delivers is about 20x better. Stealing Heaven is a serious book. Dani grows up with a mother who has indoctrinated her into a life of crime - a life that Dani is just not meant for. She's never been to school, never been able to tell anyone her real name, never had any friends - and, on top of that, there's her absent father and her mother's manic relationship with thievery. Less than ideal is putting it mildly.
But even as Dani's mom behaves in ways unbefitting a mother, Dani is able to recognise why her mother her is behaving so thoughtlessly. It's really easy for a teen to just turn around and hate their parents - but Dani doesn't because, even as a teen, she can see her mother with the eyes of an adult. I read this book wishing I could hate her mom - but I just couldn't. It is fantastic, and adds a whole new level to what could have been a simple break-away-from-your-family book.
Stealing Heaven is about a girl working out who she is, and what that means for her family. About a girl who has to wake up, take her head out of the sand, and truly examine her life. She doesn't do it for a boy - although she does have an extremely influential romance with, get this, a cop - and she doesn't do it for a friend - although she makes pals with a lovely girl along the way. Dani changes her life for herself, and it is wonderful to read.
Bottom line? A fantastic contemporary read for young adults. This book is sweet, sad, and thoughtful - you'll love it. I can't wait to read more by Elizabeth Scott!