What We Say, What We Do: A Review of The Thief

Tipping my head back, I licked the last drops of pink lemonade from my cup. I glanced around the table; my cousins and my siblings were still drinking their lemonade.

“Oof,” one cousin said, glancing at a brimming cup. “I don’t think I can drink this. I’m full.”

We made appropriate sounds of sympathy. Sighing, the cousin dumped the lemonade into the pitcher.

Another cousin squawked. “That’s gross! You’ve dumped in your backwash! I’m not drinking any more lemonade.”

“Aw, come on,” I said airily, “There’s nothing wrong with that lemonade. I’d drink it.” I picked up my glass and stared at it for a moment. Then I grimaced. I wanted more lemonade, but somehow, I couldn’t make myself drink from that pitcher.

The Thief is a Newbery Honor Book by Megan Whalen Turner. Eugenides, or Gen, claims he can steal anything—but after he steals the King of Sounis’s seal ring, everything goes wrong. He is confined to a hot, dark, stinking cell far beneath the palace of Sounis. When he is dragged out some months later, Gen finds himself hired to steal the legendary stone, Hamaithes’s Gift. But not everyone is who they seem to be . . .

Gen is a delightful character. Sassy, proud, and a talented storyteller, he kept me grinning from cover to cover. But Gen, for all his pouting and play-acting, is no fool. He knows words are often a disguise. He keeps his eyes open, watching every raised eyebrow, every angry stare, every clenched jaw. Actions will unmask one’s true feelings—which is why he is running out of time.

In The Thief, Gen tells many stories about his gods. When Gen is asked if he believes in his stories, he laughs scornfully and dismisses the notion. His captors fall silent in a shocked silence. But when they discredit his gods later, he is offended and enraged. Why this sudden change of heart? Does he truly believe in his gods despite his words?

The Thief is a wonderful book, with twists and surprises that will keep you reading far into the night. Megan Whalen Turner reveals that no matter what we say, we act on our beliefs—which is why I found myself staring at an empty cup that lazy afternoon.

Historical fiction, ages 12 and up.

You can buy this book here.