This is such a cute, fun book! I mean, it's not cute in the fluffy-kittens-and-chirping birds way, but it's just filled with adorable people who happen to be stuck in some pretty dire situations. The people are cute and adorable, even if everything going on around them is desperate and dangerous. Does that make sense?
Basically, it picks up where Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens ended, sorta. It's hard to explain. It uses the story of Oliver Twist as its backstory, only it turns out that the orphan called Oliver was actually a girl named Olivia disguising herself as a boy to stay safe on the nasty streets of London. Once she finds a home, then her disguise ends and she can grow up into a young lady. Except she still disguises herself as a boy and goes out into the streets to help care for other street kids.
And then one day, she runs into a guy now called Jack who used to be her friend the Artful Dodger. Sparks fly. Lots of sparks. The "I want to punch your face until my hand turns numb" kind of sparks AND the "I want to kiss you until I can't breathe" kind of sparks. Which made this kind of the perfect summer read for me, because I'm way more willing to read about romantic sparkage in the summer than I am any other time of year.
There's all this plot stuff about Olivia getting engaged to this other guy, and Olivia trying to protect some street kids from a big baddie, and Jack trying to steal things because of reasons, and this Big Bad trying to ruin their lives because they're in his way. But I know when I re-read this one day, I'll be reading it for the characters, not the plot, as they're what I liked so very much.
Particularly Good Bits:
Olivia blinked up at Max and wished she didn't have another's kiss to compare his to (p. 120).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-13 for a lot of kissing scenes, some violence, and some innuendo. This is leaning toward the adult side of Young Adult while still hovering on the outward edges of Clean Fiction.