Rated Reads

Smash and Grab

by Amy Christine Parker

Rated: Moderate

Lexi is a rich girl who thrives on doing illegal, crazy stunts, like BASE jumping off the top of a tall building in downtown L.A. Christian is a half-Mexican guy living in modest circumstances in East L.A., complete with ties to the area gangs that are forcing him (to help/protect his family) to do smallish but regular bank robberies with a few of his friends and cousins. The two literally collide a couple of times, and when Lexi’s father is arrested for mortgage fraud and Christian is compelled to plan for a much bigger robbery, they end up with their sights set on the same prey.

The two feel an immediate attraction for each other, but their circumstances pretty much eliminate the possibility of them being able to act on their attraction (so they both think). Plus, Lexi isn’t the type of girl who really falls for anyone, not really. As soon as a relationship looks like it’s headed for more serious waters, she jumps ship.

Smash and Grab alternates viewpoints between the two star-crossed lovers, as they try to figure out how to take care of themselves and their families by pulling off a huge heist. Their groups might even be able to work together — if there’s no double-crossing. And love? It could either help or hurt their causes.

This novel is a fun caper, a teen version of “Ocean’s Eleven” or “The Thomas Crown Affair” (which the characters reference a few times), with a taste of “West Side Story” thrown in for good measure. It may require some suspension of belief, but it’s entertaining, nicely paced and spiced with romance.

Rated: Moderate. There’s very little language, and sexual content is mostly limited to a few kissing scenes. There are a few brief veiled sexual references. There is some violence, including one character getting beat up badly, and serious threats from gang leaders.


I received an advanced readers copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Smash and Grab
  • by Amy Christine Parker
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: