Monday, February 15, 2010

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
Copyright 2008
Harper Teen - YA
307 pages

Danielle is 18 years old and she's a thief. Her mother has trained her to live under false identities, scope out the homes of the wealthy and then help steal their silver. She and her mother can never stay anywhere long enough for her to do normal things like go to school and develop lasting friendships.

When Danielle and her mom move to a small town called Heaven, things change. Danielle starts to make friends and, even worse, realizes she's falling for a police officer. Then her mother becomes gravely ill. With so many alterations occurring in her life , Danielle has some serious decisions to make. Should she continue pursuing the only life she's ever known? Or, is it time to transform herself into someone new and follow her dreams?

I have mixed feelings about Stealing Heaven, the first book I've read by Elizabeth Scott. I liked Danielle and I adored Greg, the police officer who pursues her. And, Danielle's unexpected, new best friend was a really lovable character. But, there were some niggling little annoyances and one big one. First, Danielle's mother never addresses her by name; she refers to her as "baby", as in: "I've been out a lot, been seen a lot, and this is a small place, baby." I hate that. "Babe" is fine, but "baby" as a term of endearment (if that's what it is) drives me nuts. It's a personal issue, but one that really grates my nerves.

Second, I really disliked Danielle's mother. Not only does she think it's fine and dandy to keep her daughter out of school and involve her in breaking the law on a regular basis -- she's insistent. She doesn't want Danielle to change. I suppose the testing of loyalties makes for a nice bit of tension but it still ticked me off. Should she continue to do whatever her mom, essentially the only person she's ever really known, says she should? Or, should she listen to Greg, a man who makes his living putting handcuffs on people like Danielle and her mother?

In fact, Danielle's mom is just a terrible mother, all-around and . . . . SPOILER ALERT!!!! I'M ABOUT TO GIVE AWAY A SHOCKING REVELATION THAT YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO KNOW IF YOU PLAN TO READ THE BOOK!!!!

. . . the biggest thing that bugged me about Stealing Heaven was the revelation that Danielle's mother, who casually slept around, allowed one of her flings to sleep with Danielle and even encouraged him. That nearly made me throw the book across the room. Involving her daughter in theft was one thing, but encouraging statutory rape (Danielle was 15 at the time) and then standing in the hallway, kissing the guy and laughing at her daughter was just a bit too much.


I continued to read, although I could never soften toward Danielle's mother one bit and kind of wished someone would lock her away and throw away the key so Danielle could get on with her life.

Some positives:

1. Stealing Heaven is a quick, light read with a heroine who is confused but basically good at heart.
2. Apart from the fact that her mother called her "baby" (sound of fingernails on chalkboard), I thought the dialogue was well-written and I liked most of the characters.
3. The ending is pretty terrific.

3/5 - If you're going to come up with a character who sinks as low as Danielle's mother, I want to see her punished. I've knocked off a couple of points for Disturbing Crime Encouraged by Mother and the minor annoyances I mentioned. Overall, an average read - good writing, but too disturbing for this chick. If you plan to let a teenager read it, I'd advise reading the spoiler and talking to your teenager to make sure he or she knows just how wrong Danielle's mother was.

In other news: We had our 4th snow, last night!!! It was just flurries and Mr. Snowman has gone bye-bye (actually, he's Mr. Snowball, now), but I am not jaded. I walked outdoors in bare feet to take some lousy pictures of white dots. It was fun.

Speaking of which - my feet are cold. I still can't get used to that. Being barefoot and going out in flip-flops are just facts of life in Mississippi. On our Big Snow Day, we took a side jaunt to buy some fuzzy socks at the 70%-off winter sale. There's just no excuse for paying full price on fat socks when you live in It's Ding-Dang Hot And The Humidity's Likely to Kill Ya If the Skeeters Don't country.

Book-wise: I'm still reading the Beth Moore book for which I posted a sneak peek earlier today, So Long Insecurity. The first chapter was a little repetitious, but the rest of the book has been enjoyable. I will review it when I finish, of course. I haven't gotten far into Island of the Swans but what little I've read is fabulous and I'm looking forward to focusing on that book, soon. I'd say, "That'll give me time to catch up on some reviews," (oy, she's a chunkster) but making comments like that is serious jinx material. Been there, done that.

Gotta go. Happy President's Day to the Americans!

I bought this book with my very own money, earned by shoving my husband out the door regularly and sending him to travel the world without me.


  1. I just finished reading Stealing Heaven and had the same issues with it that you did. I despised the mother. DESPISED her. Which is why the ending, good as it was, bothered me, because I felt like dear old Mom got off a little too nicely, even though she's going to suffer. It was an interesting concept, though, and made me feel a tad better about my own pitiful parenting skills.

  2. Hm, I'm not so sure that's for me. I'm not sure I could tolerate Danielle's mother.

    We lived in lower Alabama for 12 years and I wore socks in the winter - I think there's something wrong with me.

  3. Cupcake,

    Thank you. Whew! I'm so glad I'm not the only one. "Despised" is the right word. That mother made me so angry I'm really surprised I didn't slam the book against a wall. But, maybe that also has to do with the fact that it was a quick read and I really liked Greg and Danielle. Still . . . I'm not sure I'll go out of my way to read Eliz. Scott, again.

    I did not think Mommy Dearest deserved her ending, even if she had a fight ahead of her. Quit picking on yourself. I'm sure you're an awesome parent.


    When I think about it, I'm surprised I finished the book because the spoiler section just made me sick to my stomach. Danielle's mother was beyond horrid; she was criminal.

    LOL! I wear socks in the winter!! All two weeks of winter! Kidding. It's been a long winter. I am loving it and getting lots of great use out of the fuzzy socks. :)

  4. Meh! I'm glad I skipped this one. Elizabeth Scott and I just don't jive. lol

  5. Andi,

    Yep, you told me you didn't like Living Dead Girl. I'll have to peek at your blog to see if you reviewed it. I was really surprised that I ended up buying and reading a book that totally ticked me off, after reading so much glowing praise of the author.

  6. Hmm...I'm torn. On one hand, this sounds like a really interesting read. On the other, I too like to see wicked characters punished. And punished bad. Will have to think about this one!

  7. Rosemary,

    Well . . . it is an interesting read. I liked the romantic aspect. But, the mom is definitely wicked and, apart from the challenge of illness, has a pretty cushy ending that's very frustrating.

  8. I went ahead and read the spoiler since I was pretty sure this book wasn't for me and now I know it is. Disturbing Crime Encouraged by Mother would've had me throwing this book across the room. And it's a Teen book?? Ugh.

    Keep those tootsies warm. There's still a bit of winter left. :)

  9. Les,

    It's a pretty disturbing crime, isn't it? I thought the book was great till that point. It was a good idea, a conflicted teen who has led a life of crime because she has no other choice and then she falls for a police officer, of all people. But, when Danielle reflected on that spoiler bit, it really made me angry. Yes, it's a YA. And, near as I can tell, the teenagers are crazy about Elizabeth Scott's books.

    Tootsies are fairly warm -- I'm wearing some fluffy, mint-green socks. :)

  10. And obviously, that should've read:

    I went ahead and read the spoiler since I was pretty sure this book wasn't for me and now I know it isn't.

  11. Les,

    I knew what you meant and I hate it when I make errors like that, too. It's hard being an English perfectionist. ;)

    BTW, I just sent that Roald Dahl book, today.

  12. Um, what Roald Dahl book? Man, my memory is so not what it used to be!!

  13. Heh. Glad I'm not the only one with a hinky memory, Les. The Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories. Remember, it has a WWII story called "Katina" that I said was my favorite?

  14. Yes!! I'd forgotten you said you were going to send it to me, though! Whoohoo! :)

  15. I've been a little poky. :)


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