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City of Saints & Thieves    by Natalie C. Anderson order for
City of Saints & Thieves
by Natalie C. Anderson
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Natalie C. Anderson's City of Saints & Thieves is an action-packed YA mystery set in Kenya and the Congo. It stars young Christina who fled the Congo with her mother Anju as a child. The refugees settled in Sangui City where Anju worked as a maid for wealthy, married Roland Greyhill, and bore his child.

Tina's childhood friend was the Greyhills' son Michael. But when Anju was murdered in Roland's study, Tina was sure he was the killer. She fled with her small half sister Kiki, whom she enrolled in school with the nuns. Tina chose a different life, training as a master thief with the tough local gang, the Goondas, led by Bug Eye and following the orders of Mr. Omoko. But she kept apart from the gang, with her own quarters on a rooftop and a close friend in a fellow refugee, gay Boyboy (a talented hacker).

As the story opens, Tina has persuaded the Goondas to help her get into the Greyhill estate. Mr. Omoko wants valuable data. Tina seeks revenge against her mother's killer. She makes it into the study, where Michael finds her copying files from his father's laptop. He helps her avoid his father's security and makes a deal - if she delays releasing the data, he'll help her find camera footage of the murder. The trail leads them - and Boyboy, who refuses to be left behind - back to the Congo, where life is cheap.

Tina is shocked by what she discovers of her mother's, and her own, background, and almost gives up - until she's reminded of the importance of friendship and of making her own choices in life. Don't miss City of Saints & Thieves, an engrossing read with a young heroine who is just as tough and determined as she needs to be.

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