Title:  The Long Game

Author:  Ben Rose

Genre:  YA, Coming of Age


In a world where hustle is the name of the game, teenaged Vinny Il-Cazzo is the greatest player ever. He speaks a language of his own (I learned a bunch of phrases like “dig the scene but gradually” for taking a moment to get one’s bearings, and “claws sharp” for being intelligent) There are two huge problems in Vinnie’s life. One, his parents are con artists who taught him how to be a criminal. From shoplifting and credit card fraud, to scamming restaurants out of free food, he becomes an expert. Two, he is in love with a girl named Steph who is being abused by her father and has to “go underground” with her mom and sister to escape.
The majority of the story is Vinnie’s search for Steph. As he travels, he finds ways to camp on the beach, obtain free food, get hotel rooms for cheap, and help other people who need his skills in order to survive.

My one critique is that while searching for Steph with whom he is infatuated, he is all up in it with every girl he meets. It made me feel like he wasn’t very loyal to Steph. I admit that the author handles this problem well, but it is sad anyway.

Eventually Vinnie’s own morals lead to lifestyle changes for the better. The ending was satisfying and felt true.

I couldn’t put this book down. I loved it that much. Kids need to read this and discuss it. In certain places it’s almost a survival guide for our present day.

Reviewer: Shazam

Age: 11

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