Thursday, December 17, 2015

REVIEW: Sleight of Hand (+$15 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Sleight of Hand
Author: Natasha Deen
Series: N/A
Pages: 138
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Orca Books
Format: Kindle
Genre: Contemporary (YA/MG) 
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

On a dare from his girlfriend's brother, Javvan steals a neighbor's car. Now he's got a criminal record and a bigger problem: get a job or violate his parole. Endless interviews later and no one will hire him because of his criminal record. Whatever happened to a second chance? Finally, he gets a gig with a contractor named Kevin, and Javvan figures his life is on an upswing. Too bad Kevin's a thief and he's given Javvan one choice. Help him steal, or he'll make sure Javvan ends up back in jail.
~My Thoughts~

My first impression of the story was really good. I slipped right into the Javvan's mind and fell into step with his thinking. He's a kid who made mistake to try to get the girl he likes, and now he's a convicted criminal on probation. 

This story had some pretty relevant issues. Interracial dating for one. It was painful to see the way that Tiffany's brother told Javvan, "...white and brown just don't mix." Obviously racism is alive and well in our country, so it was realistic and it made you simpathize with the main character. The book also dives into the criminal justice system for juveniles and how difficult it is to get on with your life once you've been convicted. 

I also enjoyed spending some time with Javvan's family. Though their descriptions and mannerisms are quickly explained, it's painful to be in the same room with his cold and distant father, you try to shrug off his mother's calm yet persistent disappointment and eager hope for the future, and you revel in the brotherhood between Javvan and his little brother Sammy. Especially Sammy. Javvan and his brother really showcase sibling bonding, teasing, rivalry and support all in one. I really felt the family dynamic a lot through the descriptions and tones/dialogue between characters, so that was excellent. 

The reading level was young for YA. It was definitely more early YA or Middle Grade because the vocab was pretty simple, but that didn't stop it from being a good story. Still, the complexity of the plot was easy, and while there were surprising moments, it's clearly age appropriate more for Middle Grade than anything. I enjoyed the tension and I'm sure I've got little cousins around here somewhere who could do with some good lessons on justice and doing right and wrong who would love this story. 
~Try an Excerpt!~
I see my chances for a new life die in the eyes of the interviewer. It’s always
in their eyes. They go flat, lifeless. And it always happens toward the end of the
interview. Doesn’t matter that I have work experience or that I’m willing
to do any job and put in long hours. Doesn’t matter that I’m a good student
and on the track team. They ask that fateful question, and I have to answer
honestly. That’s when their eyes go dead. It’s all,

“Thank you, Mr. Malhotra. We’ll call you.”

They never do. This interview’s no different. Bike courier job. After-school hours, weekend gigs. I could work around my mom’s schedule, make sure there’s always someone to take my little brother, Sammy, to his after-school stuff. I’d told all of this to the interviewer. She’d smiled, called me a good son. Not always, but I don’t tell her that. Then she’d laughed, said the job was mine.

Just as I am breathing the tightness out of my chest, she says, “Oh, shoot.
Last question.”
~Meet Natasha!~ 
Natasha Deen’s family moved to Canada to escape the racial violence and political unrest of Guyana, South America. Her other books include Burned, Sleight of Hand, True Grime, and Guardian, which was a 2015 CCBC Best Pick for Kids and Teens, and nominated for a 2015 Sunburst Award. Natasha lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her family, where she spends A LOT of time arguing with her cats and dogs about who’s the boss of the house.
Natasha will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. I'm surprised to note that this is YA/MG. Pretty full on synopsis.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mary. Hope you're having a great start to your Thursday!

  2. Thank you so much for hosting me, Andra, and for the amazing review. What a fantastic post to wake up to!

  3. "... where she spends A LOT of time arguing with her cats and dogs about who’s the boss of the house...." I can believe that, LOL!

  4. Thank you for the excerpt, I enjoyed reading it :)

  5. I liked the excerpt, thank you.

  6. Thanks for sharing the excerpt and your thoughts, sounds like a terrific read, Good luck with the tour and Have a Wonderful holiday season!

  7. Thanks for the excerpt and giveaway

  8. Thanks for sharing your honest review, I'm looking forward to checking this one out :)

  9. Interesting book! Thanks for the excerpt!

  10. Really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

  11. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?