Haverford Friends is a prep school in Philadelphia whose funds has been pilfered by the headmaster. This translates to revoked scholarships, the suspension of the student budget for extra-curriculars (i.e. no more Bollywood Club, Queer Straight Alliance and Stock Market Watchers… among others) and, of most imminent importance, frozen chicken fingers for the upcoming prom’s menu.
To curb this impending disaster and save their beloved alma mater, four unlikely students band together, put their collective brilliant young minds together to rebuild the school’s 50 million dollars endowment… by robbing the U.S. Mint.
You have to admit, it is quite hard to ignore that premise because it could go either of two ways and one of them is in a blazing glory of camp and satire. Especially with how this started off. I was really curious how exactly these high school kids will execute their supremely noble, idiotic plan and every scenario I imagined renders me speechless from the sheer stupidity of it all. Wouldn’t it be a terrible waste not to bear witness to that? But “fun, suspenseful and compelling thriller” you say?
Unfortunately it took the other road. It was hardly compelling, the suspense level was practically non-existent and I suspect is as fun as a rectal exam. For both parties. Because instead of actually robbing The Mint of 50 Million Dollars in quarters and dimes, Operation EagleFly centered around forging a couple of hundred collectible faulty coins and fencing them in the market for a hefty sum.
Not only was the actual planning ridiculously flawed, much of the book was focused on detailing the extremely mundane lives of four shitty people with a stake at the welfare of Haverford Friends leading up to the actual heist. There’s the secretly bulimic queen bee, Dakota, who’d be sent to a boarding school if HF shuts down; Jason, the headmaster’s pothead son who has fallen from grace in the social strata with his father’s stunt; Benny the scholarship jock and Alice the Math geek who is quite possibly the shittiest of this shitty band of shits and whose stake in the whole heist lies in her desire to hump Jason’s leg and eliminating anyone who might stand in her way.
”And Alice, you’re great at math and tech stuff. I’m sure you can figure out the computer part.” She gave me her dazzling smile, which was only slightly less luminous than her bright blue eyes and highlighted hair. It hit me right on the flattery bone. Damn her. “So it’s airtight. And of course, I’ll help with the organization.”
The last thing I wanted was for her to distract Jason with her boobage, but if we let her in, we could at least continue with the plan.
There’s some serious reverse Betty and Veronica dynamic going on between Alice and Dakota. One I have no interest in revisiting at this day and age. I think Alice missed out the memo that corrected the misconception that math nerds who look like a feminine Harry Potter are given free pass to hate and judge the popular rich blonde just because she’s popular, rich and blonde.
Not to mention that the only thing worse than a self-proclaimed genius is a self-proclaimed genius who single-handedly sets to motion a shit-storm that wrecks a poorly-planned heist by fucking up the one thing people are expecting of her: to be smart.
To make matters worse, it really is much far too soon to read a YA-contemporary book told from the alternating POVs of the high school archetypes. Not when I’ve just read one done so very well in what feels like days ago. And definitely not one that veers too closely to false advertising. Also, what is up with the funky names? Junibel? Chadwick? How these people have yet to commit filicide is beyond me. But I digress.
For a while there, I thought this was going to be taking a crack at that YA-heist genre the way Scary Movie spoofs teen-slasher films. And I’m still not quite sure if I am meant to read it as such or take it seriously. Because if it was aiming to mock something, this was either too subtle, too serious or too fail. I make no issue about the writing and the delivery, apart from it being exceedingly soporific for a supposed heist, was quite straightforward. The dialogue was okay but did its extremely unsavory cast of characters no favours.
They’d both purposely blown off the costume idea, the idea that made Mixed Metaphors memorable, because - did I even have to spell this out? - it was itself a metaphor for our name. And here I was in a red tartan suit jacket, a canary yellow plaid tie and green-and-brown plaid Doc Martens. “What’s the point if we don’t all do it? Now I look like an asshole.”“Nah, you just look like you’re Scottish.”
And that was the best this had to offer. Move along.
ARC provided by the publishers.