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City of Saints & Thieves
Cover of City of Saints & Thieves
City of Saints & Thieves
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya. In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as...
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya. In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as...
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Description-

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.

    In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city's most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill's personal study, she knows exactly who's behind it.
    With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City's local gang. It's a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she's been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she's overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.
    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-

  • From the book ONE

    If you're going to be a thief, the first thing you need to know is that you don't exist.

    And I mean, you really have to know it. You have to own it. Bug Eye taught me that. Because if you do exist, you might snag someone's eye who will frown and wonder who you are. They'll want to know who's letting you run around. Where you'll sleep tonight. If you'll sleep tonight.
    If you exist, you won't be able to slouch through a press of bodies, all warm arms and shoulders smelling of work and soap. You won't be able to take your time and choose: a big lady in pink and gold. You won't be able to bump into her and swivel away, her wallet stuffed down your pants. If you exist, you can't exhale and slip through the bars on a window. Your feet might creak on the floorboards. Your sweat might smell too sharp.
    You might.
    But I don't.
    I'm the best thief in this town.
    I don't exist.
    I've been sitting in this mango tree for long enough to squish seven mosquitoes dead. I can feel my own warm blood between my fingers. God only knows how many bites I have. Ants are exploring my nether regions. And yet Sister Gladys, bless her, will not sleep.
    Through the windows I see her bathed in the light of the common room's television. Her face shines a radiant blue, and her belly shudders with laughter. Feet propped up on a stool, her toes bend at odd angles like antelope horns. I won­der what she's watching, relaxed now that all the students are asleep. Old Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reruns? Churchill Raw? What do nuns think is funny?
    I check the time on my phone and briefly consider coming back tomorrow and lifting that ancient television once and for all. Shouldn't she be praying or something?
    Eight mosquitoes. My stomach growls. I clench it and it stops.
    Finally, the sister's head slumps. I wait for the rhythm of her breathing to steady, then slowly lower myself over the wall that surrounds the school.
    A guard dog materializes from the darkness and rushes toward me.
    I put my arms up. Dirty leaps on me, slobbering all over my face. "Shh . . ." I say to his whines. His wagging tail thumps my legs as I walk toward the washroom at the end of the dorms.
    "What took you so long?" Kiki asks, pushing open a creaky window as I approach.
    I wince at the noise and look around, even though I know there's no one in the tidy yard but Dirty. He leans against my thigh, panting happily as I rub the soft fur between his ears. Dirty and I are old pals.
    "I think Sister Gladys has a crush on Will Smith," I say.
    My sister grunts and pushes a white bun through the bars on the window meant to keep thieves like me out. It tastes sweet, store-bought. I give a bite to Dirty, who wolfs it down in one gulp, licks his lips, and whines.
    "Everything okay?" I ask between bites. "The penguins aren't beating you up too bad?"
    She shakes her head. "You?"
    "No penguins up on my roof. Can't fly."
    "You know what I mean, Tina."
    "I'm fine," I say. "Hey, I brought you something." I rum­mage in my bag and pull out a pack of No. 2 pencils, still wrapped in cellophane. I slide them through the bars.
    "Tina . . ."
    "Wait, there's more," I say before she can protest, and fish out a notebook. It has a cartoon of happy kids on the front, and the words SCHOOL DAYS! in dark, emphatic capitals.
    I push the goods toward her. Her eyes linger on the tat­toos that cover my arms.
    "The nuns will give me school supplies," she says. "You don't have to steal them."
    "They'll give you the reject bits. You don't have to depend on their charity. I can get you better."
    "But...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 7, 2016
    Tina has been living on the streets of (the fictional) Sangui City in Kenya since her mother’s murder at the home of Roland Greyhill, her mother’s employer and the father of Tina’s half-sister, Kiki. Recruited by the Goondas, a gang of orphans and street kids, Tina is the only girl trained to become a foot soldier. As she learns skills to become an accomplished thief, she lives by a series of rules, including “Rule 3: thieves don’t have friends” and “Rule 15: a rule from my mother: run.” As Tina gets closer to exacting revenge for her mother’s death, she discovers that she may not have all the facts. Debut author Anderson, a former aid worker, deftly addresses issues in the region in this fast-paced thriller, highlighting the struggles of refugees in war-torn eastern Congo and the human rights violations that women in particular face. Using a smattering of Swahili, Sheng (street slang), and French, Anderson adeptly uses language to bring Tina’s world to life as she carefully traces her heroine’s history to reveal a shocking truth. Ages 12–up. Agent: Faye Bender, Book Group.

  • Kirkus

    December 1, 2016
    Anderson's debut mystery novel features a Congolese teenager bent on revenge.In fictional Sangui City, Kenya, lives 16-year-old Tina, a black Congolese refugee. Tina has two purposes in life: take care of her mixed-race half sister, Kiki, and avenge their mother's death. Five years ago, Mama was murdered, and Tina believes the culprit can only be the rich and corrupt Mr. Greyhill, her mother's white former employer and lover. To survive, Tina has embedded herself as the wiliest of thieves within the ranks of the Goondas, a powerful gang in the city. After a Goonda heist on Mr. Greyhill goes wrong, Tina finds herself in cahoots with his mixed-race son, Michael, to find the true murderer. Michael wants to prove it wasn't his father, and Tina goes along with it so that she can resume her plan for vengeance. Along with her black tech genius partner in crime, Boyboy, they find themselves in the depths of Congo, looking for answers that could cost them their lives. The narrative is guided by Tina's rules for survival, which reveal a strong yet vulnerable character. While much of the novel is fictionalized, it exposes both the very real corruption and greed of the mining industry in Congo and the women who pay the price. The novel is peppered with Swahili words and phrases, and Anderson makes an effort to paint a picture of the country. A story full of twists and turns, proving nothing is ever as black and white as it may seem. (glossary) (Thriller. 12-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from January 1, 2017

    Gr 7-10-Tina has been developing her plan for revenge against her mother's killer for five years, and it's finally time to set it in motion. But things don't go quite as planned when she breaks into Roland Greyhill's palatial estate in the hills above bustling Sangui City, Kenya. Greyhill's son, Michael, who was Tina's best friend when her mother worked as a maid in the house, catches her downloading information from his father's computer. His condition for not turning her in? Teaming up with him to prove that his father is innocent of murder. Tina staunchly believes in Roland's guilt-he and her mother had been having an affair, and her mother's body had been found in Roland's private study. But Tina feels she has no choice but to play along. Their investigation involves members of the local gang Tina joined after her mother's death, smugglers, oil company executives, and a dissolute journalist, and it takes Tina, Michael, and her friend Boyboy into the remote area of Congo where Tina was born as they try to learn whether something in her mother's past led to her death. Themes of war-time horrors, post-traumatic stress disorder, economic disparity, and colonialism are seamlessly woven into a solidly plotted, swiftly paced international murder mystery that's laced with just a hint of romance. VERDICT Highly recommended for teens looking for a gritty, suspenseful, immersive read driven by a tough, smart, realistic heroine.-Stephanie Klose, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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