written by Lian Tanner
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2010
Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.
BLURB: Welcome to the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime. Goldie Roth has lived in Jewel all her life. Like every child in the city, she wears a silver guardchain and is forced to obey the dreaded Blessed Guardians. She has never done anything by herself and won’t be allowed out on the streets unchained until Separation Day. When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie, who has always been both impatient and bold, runs away, risking not only her own life but also the lives of those she has left behind. In the chaos that follows, she is lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of a thief can understand the museum’s strange, shifting rooms. Fortunately, Goldie has a talent for thieving. Which is just as well, because the leader of the Blessed Guardians has his own plans for the museum—plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a daring thief to stop him. . . .While I am not normally a big fan of dystopia stories, I found the premise of this book intriguing. I mean a museum with shifting rooms, a boy named Toadspit, and a runaway girl?! What is there not to love. And I did find myself really enjoying this story. The museum wasn't exactly what I was expecting but it provided lots of things to think about. I think the theme that spoke to me the most was the power of freedom of choice. Goldie ran away because she wanted to be able to choose how to live her life. Ironically, she is forced into thievery by choosing to run away. Of course she is manipulated into it, but she really didn't have many options. Goldie learns that while she has the freedom to choose once she has escaped Separation, she doesn't have the power to choose the consequences of those choices. This book would make a great book for class discussions about right and wrong, choice and consequences, and the power of the past to determine our future.
Museum of Thieves is a thrilling tale of destiny and danger, and of a courageous girl who has never been allowed to grow up—until now.
I appreciated the fact that Goldie and Toadspit have adult mentors. Many fantasies these days have young people facing challenges and horrible circumstances on their own. Unfortunately this may be true in the real world to some extent, but as a teacher I always hope that somewhere along the way, every child will find an adult to help and mentor them into adulthood.
NOTE ON CONTENT: There is a moderate amount of violence in this book as Goldie and Toadspit and their mentors try to stop the Guardians from unleashing great evil, but there is no swearing or profanity or anything else inappropriate.