Coin Heist is a novel where four students decide to exploit a security flaw at the local Mint. One wants to try it as a challenge, and the other three have various interests which all accumulate into saving their prestigious school, which is soon to close down after the principal (who happens to be the father of one of the four) stole $50 million from the school, effectively bankrupting it.
The four students are an odd bunch. The Principal’s son, Jason, is a hopeless case – skips classes and doesn’t do the homework, and is known to be unreliable and a bit of a jackass. Alice is the smart techie who notices the security flaw and wouldn’t mind proving her self worth, as she lacks friends and is fairly insecure due to her lack of height and boyish looks. Dakota is a seemingly snooty honour student who hides a nest of anxieties as she struggles to be utterly perfect in every way, and Benny is one of the very few students of colour in the school, having secured a scholarship to be there.
So Jason wants to fix the school his father has ruined, Alice wants to prove herself, Dakota wants the school to remain open so she isn’t shipped off to an even classier boarding school, and Benny doesn’t want to return to the ghetto.
All in all, the characters are what drive this story. The plot of figuring out how to pull a heist on the U.S. Mint doesn’t come across as at all likely and a lot of the details are glossed over. The book is short at 225 pages and it would have been interesting to see more detail put in to this aspect, showing the research done on the building and lining up exactly what really is in place to stop this sort of thing. Most production lines of machinery have failsafes and alarms in place to show when machinery is running when it shouldn’t be. It’s also noted just how noisy the machinery is, and in a building when everyone has gone home except for security, one would assume the noise would echo far enough so that the approaching security guards they only just escape from, would have heard the machinery that’s just shutting down…
That aside though, this is simple a fun romp you’re not supposed to look too carefully at. The ending I found to be realistic – people in charge don’t always act in the way one would assume, sometimes they’re only out for themselves, and that’s how they manage to get such a high position of power in the first place.
This is a well rounded novel that discusses social issues as well as family drama, giving it another angle than simply the heist. This is a good summer read that I’d recommend picking up.