The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose

The Readymade Thief

Augustus Rose

The Readymade Thief heralds the arrival of an astoundingly imaginative and propulsive new voice in fiction for fans of Marisha Pessl and Ernest Cline.

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“The most must-read of all must-reads.” —Marie Claire

“A kickass debut from start to finish.” 
Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad

Lee Cuddy is seventeen years old and on the run.
 
Betrayed by her family after taking the fall for a friend, Lee finds refuge in a cooperative of runaways holed up in an abandoned building they call the Crystal Castle. But the façade of the Castle conceals a far more sinister agenda, one hatched by a society of fanatical men set on decoding a series of powerful secrets hidden in plain sight. And they believe Lee holds the key to it all.
 
Aided by Tomi, a young hacker and artist with whom she has struck a wary alliance, Lee escapes into the unmapped corners of the city—empty aquariums, deserted motels, patrolled museums, and even the homes of vacationing families. But the deeper she goes underground, the more tightly she finds herself bound in the strange web she’s trying to elude. Desperate and out of options, Lee steps from the shadows to face who is after her—and why.
 
A novel of puzzles, conspiracies, secret societies, urban exploration, art history, and a singular, indomitable heroine, The Readymade Thief heralds the arrival of a spellbinding and original new talent in fiction.



Advance Galley Reviews

A lot going on in this book. There were issues addressed that teens go through. Interesting journey by the characters. Story flow was ok. Characters were flawed and interesting. Story kept me reading until the end. Not everything in this book was enjoyable but needed for the story. Surprised I liked it since not my normal genre to read.

The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose has a lot going on. Shoplifting. Teenage angst. Child abuse. Homeless teenagers. Criminal cults. Murder. Physics theories. Ancient codes. Internet hackers. Sex trade. Drugs. Love story. Those are just the things I remember. The imaginative and vivid descriptions of the places in the book are my favorite part. The story makes for an entertaining read up to a point. After a while, too much going on becomes just that. Too much. Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/09/the-readymade-thief.html. Reviewed for the Penguin First to Read program.

This is one of the most outstanding in-depth debut novels I have read in a long time. The path young Lee Cuddy is on; betrayed by her best friend and family sent to a juvenile facility for a crime she did not do, smart enough to have tried to save up for a better life even if her means was not legal, not being caught for what she actually did but because a "friend set her up, only to have her step dad take the money, this misunderstood girl is lost and forgotten. Lee only wants love and acceptance, a better future and a way out. Homeless and on the run Lee becomes involved in further danger, her ability as a ready made thief and her high intelligence are the only aspects in her messed up life that may save her. The connections she makes on the street and in custody seem helpful but are more dangerous than she can imagine. Those she should be able to trust turn on her and those she barely knows provide help but she is forced to always wonder at what cost. everyone has an agenda from those involved in the Crystal Palace, Marcel Duchamp, he friends, her "boyfriend, even her parents, she has no one to trust but herself. This is an amazingly intricate beautifully written novel. The development of the characters and their storylines drive the plot as much as the action and suspense. It all cumulates in helping the reader feel for and become invested in Lee. Although her choices are bleak and often she is forced to live in the gray area in life she does what she must to survive. The cult she becomes entangled with as well as the hackers and criminals who help her survive the bloody trail of death the Society Anonyme has left behind sets up a suspenseful thrilling mystery well worth the read. I would recommend this book to anyone but especially those who enjoy twist, thrills, suspense and mystery.

There are things that I didn't understand about the program. Books must be downloaded, and I will never get an actual book. Boo! I didn't realize that those downloads expire. Consequently, this book expired, and I never read it. Boo! I have to read this at my computer which is uncomfortable. The download was difficult, and I never did get it onto my iPad. I can't take the "book" someplace where I can be more comfortable. Sooo...I can't review a book I've never read, but I can whine about it briefly. There. I'm done.

I received this Penguin First to Read ARC e-book in exchange for an honest review. I had a hard time finishing this one. I am usually a fan of books like this however this one felt too slow and like it kept repeating its self over and over. It wasn't exciting or thrilling. one thing i did really like about this book was the use of science and art but wasnt enough to make it a good book or one I will want on my shelf

Interesting premise but it got very convoluted in the end. I liked it enough to finish but wouldn't re-read it.

This books feels like it was intended to be "The DaVinci Code" meets "The Goldfinch" meets "White Oleander." Interesting content from the world of art, gut-grabbing suspense/creepiness in its second quarter and other ingredients made it appear poised to deliver on its potential. Unfortunately, it failed to do so. Too many illogical components (eliciting reactions from me ranging from "yeah, right...." to full-on eyerolls) and a plodding denouement (I feel asleep in its midst on two subsequent nights) left me unsatisfied. Three stars.

A Penguin First to Read ARC e-book in exchange for an honest review. Even though the books plot moved forward slowly, there was a lot of the same things happening page after page, I was still interested by the story. There were fantastic stretches when it came to looping science and art together. It was interesting but felt like over blown Da Vinci Code. The characters were hard to connect too and they did seem to follow their own personal codes unless it was easy. 2.5 stars for me.

Wow, this book was not what I expected. And I don't mean that in a good way. This novel really didn't have anything that I enjoyed. I thought that the story would move at a much faster pace than it did ... and it was seriously slow. It was also very unrealistic in terms of plot. Now, I know that sounds like a dumb comment, considering that this is fiction, but there needs to be a touch of realism in order to make the reader believe in the story. The amount of bad luck that follows Lee is ridiculous and the author's struggle to tie in art, science made me cringe. The whole novel felt like this huge struggle where the author was trying to say something meaningful.... but there really wasn't anything meaningful to say. To top it all off, the characters were all one-dimensional and didn't have anything to connect me to them. Overall, this novel failed for me on many levels and I would give this a 1.5/5 stars.

A riveting read, I could not put this book down. The protagonist, Lee, is a troubled teenager abused by a difficult step-father. A loner at school, she finally makes a friend who turns out to be less than friendly. The friend and her own homelessness take her own a rabbit hole that brings her into contact with drugs, cults, and puzzles. Lee encounters a range of weird characters, some malevolent, some sympathetic, as she tries to sort out her life and her relationships. But this is far more than a typical coming-of-age saga. Lee has to make sense of a jumble of threats that keep her running. Readers, too, will find themselves in a confusing world in which nothing is as it seems. Each time I thought I had it figured out, some new event changed the lens. And while such twists and turns sometimes frustrate me, in this case, I was so engaged with the protagonist that I didn't want to leave her side.

This was probably a good story for some people, but unfortunately not for me. This was a DNF for me. I did not and could not finish this one.

"Is he or isn't he?" That's the question that left me reeling after reading Augustus Rose's fantastic and complex debut novel, The Readymade Thief. I loved the depth of detail he put into art history, the dark web, hackers and urban exploration. I learned a lot about all subjects and thought he weaved them into the storyline seamlessly. Rose also tackles a number of serious issues such as homelessness, runaways, housebreaking, kidnapping and drug use and he does it at a level that commands respect of this first time author. I felt a renewed sympathy for homeless teens and their struggle to survive. Lee's story was heartwrenching in so many ways. I will most definitely be reading anything else that Rose delivers and am looking forward to seeing where he takes us to next.

It took me a little while to get into this one, but once I did I loved it! It's a fast paced, quick read that will have you hesitant to put it down until the end. I can't wait to see what this author does next!

I loved this. It's part mystery, part thriller, part art history nerdfest, and part damn good storytelling. It reminded me in many ways of The Ghost Network, another book I loved, but I think The Readymade Thief was more solid and was more of what I wished The Ghost Network had ultimately been. It kept me turning pages, not wanting to put it down until the mystery was unraveled and understood.

The ReadyMade Thief had me both wanting to bow down to the author in homage or wring his neck. Often at the same time. Lee Cuddy, the protagonist, is targeted by what appears to be the most inept secret society ever concieved. Somehow though Augustus Rose pulls it off. I had a revelation while reading, (Screaming at a character that is drifting through the story doesn't change what they are going to be doing.) Lee is an interesting character. A very damaged young woman who allows life to sweep her along. There is some growth from her character but everyone she has any contact with is using her. She is leery of their intentions but often after the interaction. She desperately wants to be loved, be taken care of, allowed to grow. This is not to say she doesn't take as well. Strictly from the technical aspect of writing Augustus Rose has this nailed down. I enjoy authors that make you think, using words that I'm forced to look up. I think I know but the context seems wrong only to discover that his usage is spot on. Can you hear the swishing of my robes as I prostrate myself before him. He also brings a dead artist into the storyline. Explaining his works, while also moving the story on by these explanations. I was somewhat unfamiliar with the artist so I spent a few hours familiarizing myself with his work. Thank you for that Mr. Rose. From a storyline perspective the ending is a bit anticlimactic. It doesn't do justice to the slow build towards all the answers. Maybe that was the authors intent. Life can be pretty screwed up but still work. So I bow down to you Mr. Rose for an enjoyable read, just don't get to close because I still have some pent-up frustrations.

I enjoyed the first 3/4 of this but the end was a bit of a let down. There were so many crazy turns and I loved each of them. The comparison to the first book by Marisha Pessl is spot on.

I don't know what exactly I expected from this book, but it definitely wasn't this. For some reason, I thought this book was a memoir. The first part of it reads like one. I thought it was going to be a memoir about an angsty teen, with a crappy home life, but then it takes a crazy turn, and then another even crazier one, then another, and another, each crazier than the last... So, it is written as kind of a memoir, but a fictional one. The first line of the book explains that Lee was 6 when she first stole something. The first few pages explains her parents not getting along, her mom always being angry, her dad being a charming singer/songwriter that everyone was drawn to and could have made it big "if things had been different." She loved hearing him sitting with his friends, laughing and telling stories, but he sometimes disappeared for a few days at a time, and at 7 years old, he left for good, disappearing without a word. She noticed that he took mote than he usually did, but she expected him to return any day. After a week, she asked her mom. "Her mom looked down at her dispassionately. 'He might come back tomorrow, or he might never come back. I can't tell you which, I think you better just get used to it.'" Again, I don't know what I expected when I started this book. The beginning was about what I expected, but then, it took a bunch of crazy turns, and ended up being a story I never would have anticipated from the title. Lee's father is gone. He disappeared. Her mother is a shell of who she once was, and her new crazy boyfriend moves with without Lee even noticing. Then, she gains a friend who wants to "save" her, and that goes horribly wrong. However, while the first chapter might have given me some background, the next chapters is what the book is really about. This book starts out with an introverted teenager, who started stealing at an early age, and takes such drastic turns, that the beginning of this story could be a separate book than the second half of the story. Actually, the further I got into the book, the beginning chapters could have been several different books. The authors takes what starts out reading like a memoir and turns it into an AMAZING work of fiction that entertains, shocks, surprises, and makes readers laugh, cry, and feel a whole range of emotions in between that I know I didn't expect to feel, going into a book with a tie like The Readymade Thief. The book just goes in so many different directions that no one would ever expect. I didn't quite get most of the art references, but I did get some of the scientific & physics references. That didn't really matter too much in the end, though. Even if you know nothing about art and don't understand the references or explanations, I guarantee you will understand the rest of the book, especially the ending. I was in total shock of this book before I finished it. The author did an excellent job of including little details that at first may seem unsubstantial, but later end up making a huge impact in the story. Anyone who likes conspiracy theories or has ever found themselves wrapped up in learning about one will love this book, but even those who have never believed in or been fascinated by a conspiracy theory will like it, because in the end, its not about the conspiracy theory, its about a young girl and the relationships she makes trying to figure out where to go and what to do after being betrayed by her family and friends. This book had me hooked almost immediately, even when I thought it was a completely different story! I read this book in two nights, and I would have read it in one, if I didn't absolutely have to do to bed at 2am the first night or could have started reading earlier, instead of doing homework that night... This book really just baffled and delighted me! It was smart, suspenseful, well written, funny at moments, and just an all-around gripping story! I definitely recommend it to anyone! I received a copy of this book for free from the publishers, via First to Read, in exchange for an honest review.

The Readymade Thief was an intricate and complex debut f on the author Augustus Rose. Lee Cuddy has always felt like she was a ghost. She makes friends with Edie and starts a side-business during school of stealing things for others. Until she gets caught and her friend throws her under the bus and she gets sent to juvenile detention. She makes her escape and being on the run, she enters a world that she has long been the center of. She gets caught up in the underground world of men who are obsessed with the work of Marcel Duchamp, a drug that turns people into mindless, compliant beings and Tomi, a boy that captures her heart with creeps and hacks that has a few secrets of his own. So many characters, twists and turns and the mystery surrounding Lee will keep you turning the pages.

I loved about 70% of this book, but it disappointed me a bit in the end. The mystery ultimately ended up letting me down a bit and the action and suspense that had kept me reading dissipated far too quickly. I thought this books was going to be one thing, but it was more. In the end though, where I had flown through most of the book with my normal reading speed, the end seemed to slog. The action just hit a wall. I think this book was very imaginative and unique, and I would recommend it but I was disappointed in the end of the story and wished that the intrigue and action that had been seen throughout the book had continued. It just seemed to end too cleanly for some reason, especially with the mess that Lee was in through most of the book. Overall, I would give it 3/5 stars.

This book wasn't what I thought it was going to be, but I enjoyed it. It started out a little slower than I usually like, but it still held my interest. I was really looking forward to the secret societies and puzzles the description promised, and I was sad that we didn't get a chance to try to solve the puzzles with Lee and Tomi. The author left some clues for us to figure out who was on what side, but left very little for us to figure out in regards to all the artworks and machines that the story centered around. I feel like I needed to know more about art history to enjoy this more, but it wasn't completely unenjoyable. I expected a little bit more character development and emotion throughout the book, but I found it to be completely lacking any emotion at parts. The whole conversation between Lee and the Priest near the end could have showed a lot more of what was going through Lee's head rather than the old man just doing a lot of talking at her. I was a bit disappointed we didn't get to see if Annie was safe, either. Lee checked up on Edie, who wasn't even a good friend, but didn't make sure Annie was safe after the fire. I felt that supporting characters had more personality than Lee... Derrick had a strong personality show through. Annie showed some personality. Steve had personality, though some of the things he did seemed out of character for how Lee described him. Her mom seemed very flat, but we didn't see her much, so that wasn't too bad. Tomi showed a bit of personality after we got to know him a bit more. Lee just seemed to go along with anything and flit back and forth between caring and not caring too often to really get a feel for her actual feelings. Overall, it was a nice read. I think this was a pretty good first novel and I'm interested to see where the author will go from here.

You will find little emotional content in The Readymade Thief, and while that's usually a turnoff for me, it works well in this action-driven conspiracy story. Comparisons to The Da Vinci Code are unavoidable, but the delinquent youth protagonist and the mystery being science- and alchemy-based rather than about Jesus made it mood interesting to me. Rose puts his homeless, pregnant teenage protagonist, Lee, through a LOT - much more than we could expect to believe in the timeframe - and the narrative could have been culled into something much tighter with a better emotional punch. Still, it ultimately drew me in more than the first chapter suggested, and I stayed up too late two nights in a row to finish it before my digital ARC expired. I appreciated what must have been years of research into abandoned buildings, the deep web, and the art and conceptual theories of Marcel Duchamp. I learned a lot, and it was an inspired conceit for a puzzle mystery. The imagery was fantastic throughout, and I can see this hitting the big screen.

I not really sure how I feel about this one. This story definitely wasn't bad, only it seemed to be all over a place. It was as if this book wasn't sure what it wanted to be. There were parts of the book that definitely seemed to drag. But the story was intriguing enough that I wanted to finish the book. Lee's character got quite annoying to me at times, and I don't know if that was on purpose or not. This story was definitely an "well that escalated quickly" type of story. Things were constantly falling apart rapidly, then there would be a lull and it would all happen again. This is the type of book I would recommend to others, even if it was just to get their opinion of it.

This book had a whiff of Dan Brown and *The DaVinci Code* to it. I found it fast-paced and fairly well-plotted. The characters were somewhat flat, but the focus on Marcel Duchamp and his Societe Anonyme leant the proper air of mystery, oddity, metaphysical imagery. In fact, I have a new interest in Duchamp and his influence on conceptual art.

For me, the story lagged too much. Unfortunately there wasn't enough to keep my attention. While it worked for some, it wasn't for me.

I found "The Readymade Thief" to be engaging, intriguing, frustrating (on the protagonist's behalf), and more than a little creepy (as intended, I'm sure). The author effectively kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next. Some of the subject matter was WAY over my head, but that didn't hurt the story. I feel as though some of this tale is yet untold. There may be more to come in a future volume.

I just finished reading The Readymade Thief and have very mixed feelings about it. Some parts were really great -- in many ways it reminded me of The DaVinci Code except with a younger protagonist. The plot was complex with lots of twists and turns and a huge puzzle to solve, and Lee Cuddy was definitely a protagonist that I could sympathize with and root for since she is clearly an underdog for much of the book. Where I struggled was with pacing and the fact that the book seemed to spend way too much time on things that didn't seem all that relevant to the main storyline. The seemingly unnecessary scenes left me bored several times throughout the novel and I nearly gave up on it a couple of times. I am glad I stuck it out though because the second half of the book reads a lot better than the first half and I thought the ending was very satisfying. Thanks to Penguin First to Read, the author, and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy of this book. It in no way impacts my review.

This book was an absolute page turner. Admittedly, I didn't understand all of it - unless you're quantum physics expert, you won't either. I am also not an "art person." I like a pretty painting as much as the next person, but conceptual art is not my thing. However, the story is a suspenseful, complicated, twisty thriller, reminiscent of a Dan Brown novel. There were a couple of plot points that were left unresolved for me, but that may not be the case for everyone. As a parent, it scared the crap out of me - knowing what could be out there when they are teenagers. Lee, the protagonist, is sometimes believable as a teenage girl, sometimes not. Also, I don't think you can go through what she did and maintain a pregnancy, but a man wrote this book, so there you go. All in all, I would definitely recommend this book.

This book engulfs a lot of completely different things and mashes them into one story. It's a bit complicated at times, but it took me for quite a ride. Part scavenger hunt, part drug manufacturing and exploitation of runaways. Lee, is quite a complex character who is a smarter teen than a lot of adults I know. Life takes a lot of twists and turns and I hope it works out for her in the end.

Well this book is certainly interesting, so much so that I still don’t fully know what to make of it. The Readymade Thief is a love letter to Marcel Duchamp, a French-American artist that became famous in the early twentieth century for his influence on conceptual art. He is most famous for his readymades, manufactured pieces that he turned into art. His stance on what constituted art is an idea that could be applied to the novel. “An ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist.” It’s art if the artist says that it is art. There are connections if that’s what you want to see. Duchamp’s life and work are threaded throughout the story, even some very small references that are hard to miss. The study of Duchamp’s work I think made for an interesting aspect of the story, and I liked the ideas about the fanatical secret society and the dark sort of humor to the plot. I have to commend Augustus Rose for his skill in creating a narrative flow that was so easy to take in. For the first half of the book Lee appears lost, like she’s treading water. It had a dream-like feel to it as Lee drifts in and out of different events. As the story goes on and the mystery starts to unravel Lee finds herself completely immersed. This steady shift in tone is reflected beautifully in both the pacing and the prose, from a drug-fueled haze to cold sobriety. So why do I feel so undecided about this book? The devil is in the plot itself, which to me felt like it had too many holes and not well developed enough at points. Most of the Crystal Castle plot feels like it was thrown out of the window and I found it underwhelming. Then there was Tomi, the hacker. If there is one thing that is difficult to write about hackers and the deep web. I won’t go into many details about it due to spoilers, but there were a lot of pieces of this portion of the plot that was just plain illogical and almost pointless. I even checked with a friend of mine that is a student in cyber security to be sure. Frankly the deep web is almost romanticized in the book when it really shouldn’t be. Also while I know that convenience was important for creating the dreamy flow that I mentioned earlier, a lot of things seemed a little bit too convenient to be believable a lot of the time. A good portion of the plot was easy to predict, but I was still compelled to read because I wanted to know more of the why than the what. This book was a pretty cool read overall if you can get over the hangups that I had. It is the type of book that will leave you feeling confused right along with the main character throughout the entire book. All in all it was a mixed bag of mostly good things. It’s definitely an experience and worth the read in the very least to appreciate the tone and the feel of the writing which was really great. It’s the type of story I could easily see adapted to a television drama that I would watch in a heartbeat.

What an addictive, intriguing book! It combines mystery, art, urban exploration, secret societies and alchemy into a fast paced adventure. Lee Cuddy is a seventeen year old runaway who because of her looks finds herself the center of a conspiracy and hunted by a secret society. As she moves from place to place seeking safety, she finds lies and betrayal. The characters and plot are well developed; I was drawn into the story from the beginning and the interest was kept until the end. I’ve gotten a little tired of serials but, in this case, I’m really hoping for a sequel.

I was completely enamored with this book. I appreciated how no nonsense the main character, Lee, was. I enjoyed the mixed themes of this book, but especially enjoyed the detail that it provided on Duchamp.

This book grabbed my attention from the first page. I liked the main character Lee and thought what happened to her in the beginning with her family was horrible. But also realistic. I love books that make you care about the characters and you can relate. I will definitely be watching for more books by this author.

I don't know if I liked this or not? It was disturbing yet fascinating. The book was a bit dense, but the things that rose to the surface were enjoyable. A mix of odd things: art, urban exploration, drugs, physics and secret societies.

I enjoyed The Readymade Thief. I would like a hardcover first edition – I also liked the cover art – for my library. Lee is a well-rounded and believably flawed protagonist with an interesting personality. Tomi and the other characters worked for me as well. I also I also enjoyed the title revelation. The novel has a fairly long fuse – mystery/thriller isn't my usual genre, but once the story got rolling I wanted to know how it ends. The ending was not my ideal ending, but it was satisfactory. What made this a good read for me is that it took me beyond the book and introduced me to Marcel Duchamp – someone I was ignorant of. I have come across Dadaism over the years, but I didn't look further than the meaning of the word to understand the context of its use. Rose does an excellent job weaving Duchampism, and an interest in Marcel Duchamp, into this novel. An Internet search resulted in several great links. After few extended intermission It was more fascinating reading/watching Rose weave Duchamp and his Société Anonyme into The Readmade Thief and seeing where he was going with it. Rose also does an excellent job blurring the lines of fiction and the reality of Duchamp. To the point that his knowledge of Duchamp's oeuvre has believable depth/authority.

I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't get passed the first third portion of the book. The story sounded like something I would enjoy - conspiracies and secret societies. I figured it would be like the Da Vinci Code. The story moved very slowly and I felt confused with all the backstory. I'm sure that eventually it all connects together, but the slow pacing wasn't for me.

Much of this is written as backstory and there weren't a lot of scenes, particularly through the first few chapters. Or maybe that's just the way it seemed because the writer's style felt so emotionally removed. This one has really interesting premise, but it's not for me, I'm afraid.

I had a hard time reading this book. There was just too much going on and some of the things made it hard to read. Like the main character. Lee was very irresponsible and unlikable. I felt bad when bad things happened to her but she kept screwing up so it was kind of her fault. The art history of this book might have been enjoyable if I was more informed on art history and actually interested in it. For me it just made the book drag on longer than it seemed to need to. I did enjoy the mystery and suspense of the story plot but having unlikable characters and all that history made it harder to enjoy. I guess this just wasn't my style of book. Ill still give it three out of five stars because it was well written and obviously researched, just perhaps maybe too much research and not enough story.

It's hard to believe this is a first novel. I loved the book and found it hard to put down. Very thought provoking. I can't pin this to any one genre. Part mystery, part art history, part sci-fi... And utterly fascinating. I found Lee, the main character, believable perhaps because of my own teenage experiences and her lack of trust was unsurprising. Augustus Rose is an excellent wordsmith. I definitely recommend this novel. I received a free electronic copy from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.

I requested this book because it had been compared to Ready, Player, One, a book that I enjoyed. Unfortunately, The Readymade Thief didn't live up to that comparison. It was hard to work up sympathy for Lee who made one bad decision after another and made no attempt to get help in any of her desperate situations. I skimmed over the information on string theory and quantum physics as it wasn't interesting and made the story longer than I felt had to be.

Rarely have I felt so passionate about a new author and debut novel that I not only called a regional bookstore about an author signing, I emailed my friends to encourage them to attend. “The Readymade Thief” by Augustus Rose has sent me into an unpaid, handselling frenzy. The blurb from Penguin Random House may mislead some readers, letting them think this one of those ubiquitous teen coming-of-age fantasy novels featuring an at-risk young woman. Rose takes many of the themes found in genre novels and spins them into a kaleidoscopic whirlwind of physical and metaphysical insight. While this may sound challenging, at its heart “The Readymade Thief” is a literary mystery-thriller, featuring a secret society, disappearing teenagers, uber-geeks, the darknet, drugs, raves, and…oh yeah… a kick-ass heroine. Somehow, Rose manages to meld physics and art without losing track of the twisty plot or sacrificing the novel’s pace. I received an advanced copy of this book in electronic format from firsttoread.com in exchange for an honest review. This review has been posted to: Goodreads.com Amazon.com wrotetrips.wordpress.com Facebook.com/WroteTrips

I finished this book last night and still haven't determined how I feel about it. Mr. Rose has presented a very intricate and detailed story of a young woman who becomes a thief in high school as a way to save money. After wrongfully being incarcerated for drugs, Lee escapes and begins life as a homeless meandering runaway. This is where the story takes an odd turn. Lee gets involved in a drug underworld that is tied to the artistic workings of Marcel Duchamp. This is where the book somewhat lost me. I think a previous knowledge of the artists and his works would be extremely helpful. At one point I started looking into the piece that plays a central part of the book: The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors. Honestly, that only confused me more since Mr. Duchamp was part of the Dada movement (think Picasso). I think the end result is this: I like how Mr. Rose writes. He created some great characters but ultimately Lee is the only character fully developed. I hope he writes more and I intend to read it. I liked this story of Lee and her struggles. I did not like the technical steampunk feel of the art and the reanimated Société Anonyme (related to Duchamp) and felt it interrupted what could have been a better book.

While the writing is fine and the level of research into Duchamp admirable, I just couldn't get into this novel. The beginning was slow with its high school cliches, and then when the drama ramped up, it was almost too sudden. Had the beginning been tighter, I think the sudden plunge into deep conspiracy would have flowed better, but as it stood, I just couldn't get my attention back into the details.

Overall, I thought The Readymade Thief was ok. At times I felt the story was all over the place - as if maybe there were too many themes going on.

I really enjoyed this book, a somewhat dark and twisty story that reminded me in some ways of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, but darker, and about the art of Duchamp instead of books. I enjoyed the twists and turns and was both sad, and relieved, when he author didn't take quick backtracks out of the hard places he put the characters. Like real life, nothing is clearcut, and no one is always honest. A winding suspenseful story that has a wonderfully human protagonist (like most real people sometimes you love her and sometimes you wonder what she's thinking!)

Augustus Rose is an amazing writer, and he has a way with words that leaves the reader amazed; he is so gifted at writing that it almost feels like you are there with the main character as events are unfolding. However, I could not get into this book as much as I wished, which is a bummer because I really thought that I would like this book. It's a bit slow, and the plot didn't capture me after a while. That being said, Rose is, again, a fantastic writer, and I wish him the best of luck in this book and his future endeavors.

To be honest, I didn't finish this book. A little less than half way I gave up. The plot and main character didn't grab me enough to want to continue. What I read I found to be slow going with no real transition between the chapters or areas of the story.

I received an advanced copy of this book in electronic format from firsttoread.com in exchange for an honest review. This review is also posted to goodreads.com I was intrigued when this was posted in advance of the release: “The Readymade Thief heralds the arrival of an astoundingly imaginative and propulsive new voice in fiction for fans of Marisha Pessl and Ernest Cline.” Those are some big shoes to fill and unfortunately, the attempt falls a bit short. Don’t get me wrong, this was an entertaining read. I am giving it three stars as it kept me turning pages. However, with such hype, I think I was destined to be a bit disappointed. The author wanted to write The DaVinci Code, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Special Topics in Calamity Physics all in one book. The story itself is multi-layered but none of the layers were ever developed deep enough to make this book “one for the ages”. As a debut, the author did a fine job and I look forward to future attempts to expand his story telling ability. I’ve read a few books lately that have tried to recreate Lisbeth Salander and has failed. It is the same here; the main character – Lee Cuddy – makes bad choice after bad choice. Her relationships are never solid and she actively acts to keep it this way. The story is centered around artist Marcel Duchamp and a secret society but the premise was weak and forced; the outcome left a lot to be desired.

Augustus Rose, I must say upfront, is an excellent wordsmith! His writing skills lead the reader smoothly through the page turning journey to enlightenment and enjoyment that is not always found in “first book” authors. Mr. Rose has an active imagination, drawing us into areas in which most readers are not imbued with a sturdy foundation: alchemy, string theory, Cubism, or pataphysics. This, at times, halted the plot development as the reader quickly accessed Wikipedia to skim the background of Marcel Duchamp and his artistic creations, or to try to figure out “string theory.” This is not to say that the reader should feel imposed upon to follow these clues, however, when the main character is an abandoned 17-year old girl, dealing with the social issues confronting runaway children, the reader wants to understand all the forces that are in play. In the end, none of these theories really mattered. Therefore, the plot was slowed and weakened while the reader waded through the layers of imaginary solutions, especially the two encounters in the missile silo as well as Duchamp’s concepts of the unified field theory. Using a teenager to lead us to the explanations of these complicated theories of science and philosophy is incongruent. I hope that Mr. Rose will write again, but hopefully with a plot in the realm of understanding that transcends imaginary solutions. (three stars)

Truly this story defies labels and classifications. It seemed to morph as I read, representing many different genres, existing almost in a dimension beyond what we’ve discovered (very apt, really, considering what it’s about). The book follows Lee through just over a year in her life. When we meet her, she is a normal-ish 17-year-old high school student, trying to fit in and make friends and stealing/selling drugs to make money for college. But then things take some pretty crazy turns, a betrayal from a “friend” that lands her in juve, abandoned by her family and, eventually, on the run. Homeless and without friends/funds, Lee thinks she finds refuge with a group of others living “underground,” but things are definitely not what they seem. Somehow, Lee gets sucked into the world of a hidden society, founded by a group of fanatical men attempting to decode the secrets of a higher understanding, a mix of science and art and alchemy, left behind by the early 20th century French artist Marcel Duchamp. A society that, for some reason, thinks she holds the key to Duchamp’s secrets and seem willing to do anything (literally anything), or go through anyone, to get their hands on her. And she meets a young artist/computer genius, Tomi, who may or may not be involved with this secret society, that nevertheless manages to insinuate himself deeply into her life (and maybe her heart?). This was an interesting mix of page turner and slow-moving plot development. I am not actually sure how else to describe it. I was literally always on the edge of my seat, because you never knew when the next development, or devolvement, would happen – it was always fast and sudden. But at the same time, I sometimes felt like some of the details (especially regarding the descriptions on the specifics of “creeping” - the practice of exploring abandoned buildings, “thief training” – for last of a better term, and some of the art and philosophy discussions) dragged on a little. I’ve taken a whole day between finishing and writing this review to think about how to categorize this story, but, as I mentioned above, it truly is unclassifiable. I actually wrote to myself at the beginning, probably through the first third or so, that I got a creepy 21st century Oliver Twist sort of vibe. Then, things started to turn a little more mystery/thriller, lots of danger and looking over one’s shoulder at all times. As we start to learn more about the S.A., the secret society tracking Lee, things turn super theoretical and philosophical and treasure hunt-y (with a Dan Brown sort of vibe, but grittier, gothic-ier, crepuscular - in general, way cooler than Dan Brown). And throughout it all, there’s a heavy air of classic tragedy, with everything that Lee deals with, feeling left behind, let down, unable to trust anyone, and struggling to get by without a home or way to make money. Honestly, I have no idea how the author got all that into one book in a way that truly does fit together. Plus, the amount of research, on such a huge variety of topics – from juve to alchemy to hacking/the Darknet to Duchamp, just to name a few - is impressive, really. A couple things rubbed me the wrong way while reading – there were some times where a person, or persons, took care of or helped Lee to an extent that seemed unrealistic to me (not because I don’t have faith in people, but just based on the logistics of the situations). I felt like Lee was able to accomplish things that bordered on too fantastic/lucky just one or two too many times (like her return to the Silo at the very end, and what she finds there). At times, as I mentioned earlier, I got a little lost in the descriptions/explanations and things slowed down more than I wanted them too. And, though it is, in fact, totally realistic/possible, it just made me sad how alone Lee was at times. However, on a larger scale, there were a lot of things I loved about this book. I think Tomi was amazing, as a character in general and also the way his relationship with Lee was written and developed with time (even after things…changed - *no spoilers*). I loved reading (almost) every scene he was in. And though I don’t know anything about it (so this could be a completely false representation of it), the parts related to the Darknet/Subnet, the characters there, and the various roles it played in the story were some of my favorite parts to read. The way that Duchamp and his art and theories and followers’ devotion was woven through the entire story was done with great skill. The small things, like the way each section is named after one of his works, were nice touches. But it’s the overall feel that it most impressive. It’s the way that the book is focused around his art and the theories (whether true or not) spun around them regarding science and alchemy and explanations for the world that connect everything and was simultaneously written to match. At one point, Duchamp is quoted as saying “…the artist is ‘a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing.’” And that metaphysical outlook is exactly the inspiration for the way this story based on his works was written. The way the author creates that feel throughout the entirety of this tale was beautiful. In addition, you could really tell how much time and effort went into each of the details in this story. There are no ends left hanging or unexplained side storylines. At all. That alone is evidence of the care the author took. But it’s more than that too, everything is tied up very adroitly. “What do you do when the one true thing in your life turns out to be a lie?” This quote turns up about a third of the way through the novel and, for me, really represents Lee’s story from start to finish. It is by no means a happy story, but somehow, you still come away from it feeling hopeful for her. Augustus Rose takes Lee, and us readers, on a wild ride in this genre-defying novel. And it’s a ride a recommend you take.

The first half of the book was scattered and all over the place making little sense to me. Once I was halfway in things started clicking and the first half made more and more sense. The way the book is written matches the mystery within. Overall it it was an enjoyable ride. Once I made it past the story setup, it was a book I couldn't put down.

A ‘Readymade’ Novel.. ----------------------------------- Creative overall.. but with a very ordinary plot.. Could’ve used the Conspiracy Theories & Mind-blowing twists here in much better -faster- plot. The Duchamp Code ------------------------------ A young girl became a ‘ready-made’ thief due to her sad, lonely childhood. Mysterious 1920s-style parties for selective teens.. ..some mysteriously disappear after.. ...or back with ‘lost’ behavior.. Then our young protagonist “heroine?!” finds herself amidst all that..all by chance.. Discovering that she has been watched by some strange mysterious cult or organisation for a long time. And, also by chance, amidst her tragic, bizarre falling apart life, she steals something that made everything more bizarre.. A ‘Readymade’ Art.. by a visionary artist from the early 20th century..Marcel Duchamp.. the inventor of this kind of art.. ~~~~~ {{ The Readymade Art ; “An ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist.” }} ~~~~~ And That's exactly what I felt about the plot.. The Plot's very ordinary.. kinda slow -too slow for my taste- It lingered too much on the drama in a slow way.. and kept skipping wide-open-doors for a massive creepy and fast action scenes and potential wilder storylines. The drugs.. the parties.. the strange watchers.. the Darknet.. ..even the whole theories on Duchamp’s works that preceded Einstein’s theories on physics.. which introduced brilliantly interesting.... ~~~~~~~~~~~ {{“There’s a contradiction in physics that no one has yet been able to solve. Einstein’s theory of general relativity precisely explains the workings of the large- scale universe— from solar systems to planetary bodies to objects as small as a grain of sand. And quantum theory explains with equal precision the workings of the subatomic universe— photons and neutrons and quarks and all the rest. The problem is that these two theories are incompatible. They can’t be reconciled. What works to explain the macro- universe goes contrary to what works to explain the subatomic universe, and vice versa. Both can’t be correct, and yet somehow both are.” He paused, waiting for her excitement to catch up to his. “For both to be valid, there must be a theory that ties them together. A unified field theory. It’s only hypothetical, but it’s the Holy Grail of physics. There are those who say that solving it would be akin to reading the mind of God.”}} ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The whole thing is huge… yet at the same time it ended drastically as if it was just nothing you have anticipated.. I always felt The Da Vinci Code went too far... well here it didn't went anywhere for me.. May be it's just how Duchamp's love to do his work... ~~~~~~~~~ {{“ ‘Le hasard est une pute qui butine de maquereau en maquereau.’ ”}} ~~~~~~~~~~ *** The Pros *** -------------------------- ** The detailed analysis of Duchamp's Art and the theories of his scientific hints were perfect. As well as the parts of the mind and consciousness, the chances... it was so deep.. the dream to change chances...control minds.. But where did that lead us? Who knows... may be that's what Duchamp intended from the beginning.. ~~~~~~~~ {{“It’s French. Translated it means . . . something like ‘Chance is a whore who flits from pimp to pimp.’ ”}} ~~~~~~~~ Also the Darknet use, it came here so well and detailed a bit to serve the story..that was interesting. Also naming each part with an Art by Duchamp was fun specially when adding a scene with the reference to the title. ~~~~~~~~~ *** The Cons *** --------------------------- The Problem with the story is the plot is so slow... kinda not much happening as it could have. It's kinda full of Lee’s (the protagonist) drama... normal tragic separated parents... small stealings to shoplifting to theft to professional thief (That's why I called her a 'Readymade Thief' herself. - not just a thief who stole a 'Readymade'.. brilliant title really.) The sad thing is that it's very detailed drama as well, most of it could have removed of fastening a bit. ALSO the world of the novel building was nothing but dull ordinary 2012 normal world... It's not the bizarre sci-fi or even futuristic or original world setting. -as publishers deceived me as a 'new voice in fiction for fans of Ernest Cline.' Come on.. I didn't see a resampling but in the word 'ready' and 2 pages of her living in van at an old car dumb... And a hint of Orwellian government that never mentioned later but briefly once after the first page...- Her encounter with the creepy parts like the Silo and parties invitations and the weird eyed young girls was drown into the slow pace. Those who has been following her, the strange people ... all that almost came and gone without much explanations or answers.. ir even proper ends.. Even the character of her boy-friend-father-of-unborn-child wasn't strong for me... unlike Lee. Then I should be back to the ; *** The Pros *** -------------------------- As I said, Yet.. the detailed theories was a good read.. but detailed drama wasn't matching at all.. The drama of Lee was too much, so sad.. BUT I won't say that didn't help me feeling more sympathy for her character .. her need of a friend most of the time, her feeling of betrayal...yet she kept caring for her friends and family.. And I felt really close to her... felt the anticipations of unlocking the secret why she had been watched all that time... and kinda disappointed after. ~~~~~~~ {{ “It was a book about a man who was hired to investigate another man, unaware that the man he was investigating was himself. Only the man being investigated knew that the man doing the investigation was himself.” }} ~~~~~~~~~ -Somehow I wished for a kind of twist like this description of the novel Lee was reading... By the way, does anyone know if it was a real novel? - And then, although I was totally shocked by the calm ending… I felt satisfied with Lee’s fate and her few reunions by the end.. may be that feeling what made me won't rate it 2 and rate it 3 (it's still 2.5) I felt despite my disappointment that I cared for Lee after all.. ~~~~~~~~ {{“It means chance is a fickle bitch.”}} ~~~~~~~~ May be it's not how they made publicity for... but still it's a creative idea...just in an ordinary plot... As a Readymade Art.... The Readymade Novel.. Mohammed Arabey An ARC from the publisher Penguin. From 2nd July 2017 To 8th July 2017 Review with the pictures on goodreads ; https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2047529515 I

I just couldn't get into this one. I gave it 94 pages and quit. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

“The Readymade Thief” is a new rendition of “Alice in Wonderland.” As befitting a modern personification for both tales Lee Cuddy is a young woman of seventeen years. Her adventures through the looking glass, in today’s barely distorted Philadelphia, are harrowing, vivid and wild. In this landscape of urban decay and drug fired rage events she finds herself pursued by a sinister organization known as ‘Societe Anonyme” for reasons she cannot fathom. This gang is peopled with devotees of Marcel Duchamp, artist, alchemist, scientist, and joker. His masterwork, “ The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors,” is the altar at which these men worship. They go so far as to go about dressed in early Twentieth Century garb pretending to be the bachelors of the piece: The Station Master, The Priest, The Flunky, The Clown and others. They are further enraged when in escaping their clutches the first time Lee steals a piece of Duchamp’s art. An audacious act which only serves to intensify “S. A.’s” efforts to lay hands on her. The scaffold on which the story rests is Duchamp, his art, and references to it. If you do any research at all, you will find it everywhere: very labyrinthine indeed. The interstices are filled with well-developed characters, believable dialog, riveting scene descriptions and exceptional storytelling. But it is Lee, with her heart, her deviousness, loyalty, bravery, despair and vengefulness that makes the story sing. Congratulations to the author, Augustus Rose. He has written a story that brings to light one of the most influential artists of the last century and managed to make the story fast paced and enjoyable in the bargain. I highly recommend “The Readymade Thief” to you. Viking, Penguin Random House, and www.firsttoread.com provided an advance copy of this novel for review.

I really liked the exciting and unusual plot of this book and the surprising elements, with all the hidden meanings in art and literature. I can definitely see why this book would appeal to readers of such as Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Ready Player One, and Special Topics In Calamity Physics. However I didn't expect it to feel like a YA book so the fact that it did was a bit of a letdown for me. I also wasn't very keen on the main character - I can't quite put my finger on why, I think perhaps it was the fact that she was not fully believable as a teenage girl and seemed to have done and experienced way too much for someone of her age who was supposed to be "invisible" and not very popular. I would have preferred the story if it had been about older characters. Overall, 3 stars - I had some issues with it but it was definitely original and I will be interested in the author's future books.

What is my final review? First off thank you Viking & FTR program for this advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review.  The characters? Lee Cuddy was okay. She is a seventeen turned eighteen-year-old girl later on in the book. I found her to be a frustrating character due to the fact that she keeps making one bad mistake after another. It's like the author tried to make her smarter than what she was towards the end of the book. It fell into that typical "immature" teenager stereotype. To me, she fell a bit flat. I liked her but there wasn't enough believable words that would come out of her mouth towards the end of the novel. I gave the author 2/5 for this section. The plot(s)? I'm still shaking my head at this one. I won't tell you the ending because it was a huge letdown for me. It could have been better, I'll just leave it at that. People are dying left and right for an art piece. That is the plot. It didn't really explain why the group SA wanted her. Why Lee was so important. I'm disappointed. 2/5 for this section. The grammar, spelling, etc? This was a well-written novel for the most part. I didn't stumble over the words or anything like that. However, the prologue was written in second POV and it kicked me out of the story right away. The next problem was a weak beginning. It had wonky sentences in the beginning that were too long for me. At times, there was info dump and useless information. At one point, I felt like I was reading an art book. This is supposed to be fiction. On page 184, there is an extra pair of quotations, "Which just means he had a hand in making it."" There was no reason for that extra set of quotation marks. And the final straw, the redundancy of meaning, meaningless on page 339. Five times in one paragraph. Meaningless is a common theme throughout this book. I gave it a 3/5 for this section. The formatting? Don't get me started on the formatting. With the copy I received, paragraphs weren't indented enough for me. You would have one paragraph indented, and the next wouldn't be. Consistency would be nice. And I hope this book is checked again because I found actual editor's notes on page 231 and page 339. Just friendly advice, you might want to delete those before your release date. I expected better from a big publishing company. 1/5 for this section.  The book cover? Yes, the book cover pertains to the book. 5/5 for this section. What is the final score? 2+2+3+1+5=13 or 2.6 for a rating of 3/5 stars. What are my personal thoughts? I wish there were more dimensions with Lee Cuddy. The formatting and weak beginning killed it for me. I hope the editor does a fine job with editing this book before it's a release date. I can fault the author for the characters. I fault the publishing company for doing a disservice to this author's book. It's sloppy and unprofessional. Self-published authors would be rammed for these errors. Get it together! If I were the author, I would spit nails at the editing and formatting team. If you love science and art, this book is for you.  --As always, I'm just another asshole with an opinion.

I loved reading The Readymade Thief. What teen doesn't feel invisible some? Lee, the protagonist, has always felt that way and has some interesting ways of coping. The book picks up speed when Lee takes finds herself trapped into taking a fall for a friend and then things get weird. The characters are well-drawn. There are several villains and each one is drawn very distinctly. The reader is also in for an education about Marcel DuChamp, who is both fascinating and bit creepy. Lee's journey lets her find love and friendship, but also fear and paranoia as she navigates the underground and the dark web. All these lead her to discover plenty about herself, making this a fantastic story of coming into herself.

This book interested me when I saw it described as a combination of Marisha Pessl and Ernest Cline. The latter comparison I think was only made because there are a few references to deep web/computing but the Pessl comparison is spot-on. For the first section, I really would have believed I was reading her latest book. The story starts as a simple story of a high school outcast and then snowballs into an impossibly high-stakes game of cat and mouse. That sounds cliche but it really is a pretty apt description of what happens. However what really hooked me with this book was something I can't believe I didn't pick up on at first. The cover sort of makes it look like ready-made is two words or a hyphenated word, but it's really "readymade," like Duchamp's art. This has tons of references to Duchamp's art, it's actually a major plot point. I was looking up pieces and seeing if they were actually in the museums described. I really love art history and so seeing that as such an important part of the story really made me want to keep reading. I received this book free from Penguin's First to Read.

I received an ARC from First to Read for an honest review of the book. I have mixed feelings about this book and cannot say I really enjoyed it. It started out fine, but then slid into a science fiction format that is not my interest. While I know the World can be a treacherous place, especially for a YA of sixteen, this one seemed a lot of too much. I liked the ending and wish the storyline had been different for her after leaving home to then. The author has a very good imagination in order to come up with so many ideas and describe them so well, but I felt there were so many situations that it was overwhelming. Two and a half stars is the best I can do.

3 just okay stars... I received this complimentary ARC from FIRST TO READ in exchange for an honest review. Lee is a girl who is used to being invisible and only is seen by those when she can be useful to them. She finds herself taking the fall for a friend and lands herself in trouble. After escaping she is taken in by a group of people who she sees as a possible family unit. After realizing there is more to the group than what meets the eye she is on the run again after stealing something that belongs to the leader. She meets a boy who continues to help her evade the group searching for her, but really things aren't always as they seem. This book was super slow to start. I took me three times as long to read this as it does any other time I start a new book. I will say that the detail put into the history of the art and conspiracies was spot on. The plot twist I felt was not as surpising after learning everything we did throughout the book about Duchamp but that's just me. I wanted to really like this book, and maybe I will if I re read it again in the future but as of right now there was just too much conspiracy theories and scientific talk that is just not my thing. In saying that, if those things are something your interested in and you like a good plot twist, then I have to recommend this for you.

This was not my favorite. I just couldn't get over the unreasonable reality we were being feed.

Thank you to Penguin's First to Read Program for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review. Seventeen-year-old Lee Cuddy is on the run. One moment, she was a normal teenager. Now, she is accidentally involved in something so dangerous that she needs to go underground to save her life without knowing who to trust. I was excited to read this book and in the beginning found that it had a lot of promise. I enjoyed the intricate plot with a sense of urgency that I had a hard time putting the book down. Lee was a compelling heroine even though there were times that I thought she made some poor choices throughout the book. But, I reminded myself that Lee is only 17 years old and was thrown into this new life of hers. However, in the end, the book was a huge disappointment. There was so many loose ends with characters who we are introduced to but never hear from again. And, the big conspiracy never really came to fruition. We never find out the motivations of some important characters and I was left completely hanging and wondering if I just wasted my time reading this not so short book. This book is in desperate need of an epilogue to give it some sort of closure. 2-1/2 out of 5 stars.

"What do you do when the one true thing in your life turns out to be a lie?" Lee Cuddy is used to being invisible. She isn't seen by her father, who leaves without a goodbye or even a forwarding address. She isn't seen by her mother, who quickly succumbs to her new boyfriends whims and wishes. She isn't even really seen by her peers, until she becomes useful to them. "It wasn't that they teased her or ostracized her or thought her weird, but none of them seemed to see her, either." All of this invisibility makes stealing easy and she quickly graduates to shoplifting. This readymade ability quickly gives her a reputation and she finds a place in popularity as Edie takes her under her wing. But, easy come, easy go, and betrayal follows when Edie finds her the easiest way out of her own troubles. Lee quickly sees that it isn't just Edie that is quick to dispose of her. Her own mother, guided by Steve, allows her to take the fall, refusing to even give her the money she stashed for her defense. Life in the Juvenile Detention Center is worse than anything thrown at her so far, and a nervous breakdown lands her in the psych ward. But lower security also provides the opportunity for a quiet and invisible girl to find a way out. The Readymade Thief is a novel that is both fast paced and maddeningly slow. This combination doesn't seem possible, and yet it is. Every page is written so that you know something is happening, but you aren't quite sure what. The result is you feel as on edge and unsure as Lee. Once Lee escapes from JDC we are introduced to even more subterfuge and intrigue. We are thrown into the world of secret societies and underground movements. The S.A. parties continue to pop up, inviting her to join their world, except her gut instinct screams to stay away. Fear for her friend Edie, even after her betrayal, compels her to go searching and almost leads to disaster. Tomi, a mysterious young man, saves her and takes her in. He introduces her to life underground, the world of abandoned building hunts and secrets of the Subnet. She wants to trust him but every turn in her life has led to betrayal and lies. Still, it's easy to fall into his earnestness, especially given her connection to him. Lee discovers that S.A., a secret society devoted to uncovering the hidden puzzles and meanings behind the artwork of Marcel Duchamp. She unwillingly and unknowingly finds herself at the heart of their obsession. Somehow they think she is a key to their mystery, even though she has no idea how. No matter where she turns, or what she does, she finds herself a pawn in their games, time and time again. They are always one step ahead, always surrounding her, always controlling the circumstances of her life. This secret society is obsessed with more than just art. They are also responsible for a chilling new drug that leaves its users docile and empty. Creatures willing to do anything suggested with little or no reaction. Unable to take care of themselves, many of them end up in JDC or worse; the Crystal Castle. This book has a lot of layers going on in it. It is easy to get overwhelmed, or lost in the information. You want to keep pushing ahead to find out what is happening, but I found myself going back to reread portions at a slower pace to really understand what was being said. This is a book that needs more than one read through to really appreciate all the detail and nuance written into the plot. One of the examples of the level of detail and intricacy is the title. Duchamp created artworks that he called 'readymades'. Essentially, he viewed art of the time as 'retinal art'. Easy to look at and pleasing to the eye, but there wasn't anything more in depth than that. His response was to take everyday items and make minor changes to them, thus instantly turning them into art. Readymade art. The title, Readymade Thief, refers to Lee, already a shoplifter and petty thief, who has been repurposed for the societies use. Usually, reading the line of phrase that uses the title of a book is a quick AHA moment. One that makes sense in terms of a character or event. In this case, the moment isn't written out or explained by the author so much as hinted at. You are led to it, able to uncover it's meaning as you read. I think it's very clever. There is a lot of art history, specifically to the work of Duchamp. I have no idea how much is based in truth and how much created for fiction. Some parts of this history lesson got very confusing for me. It was a lot of information given. Again, I think this is an example of why the book needs more than one reading. There is just so much to dissect at once. Rose manages to pull off quite an elaborate story. There are clues placed at the very beginning that aren't noticed until they are pointed out later. Things suddenly make sense, and the level of betrayal in Lee's life is astounding. Everything in this novel is connected somehow, even if you can't see how or why, you will in the end. The pure genius is that the end answers questions you didn't even know you had. This book will be enjoyable for anyone who loves mysteries and suspense novels. The art history is impressive and I can't imagine the amount of research that went into composing this plot. It's astounding! Weaving the art into a secret society will delight any conspiracy theory lover. Thank you First to Read, Penguin Random House and Viking books for giving me an early copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review via first to read. What a horrible predicament tofind yourself in! This novel fully describes how it would be to be hunted and trapped! There are so many twists you don't know who's good!

Thank you to First To Read for the copy of THE READYMADE THIEF in exchange for an honest review. WOW! I can tell this book will stay with me for quite some time. When I began the book, it read like a YA novel, a quick easy read. But it quickly turned deep and meaningful and took me for an unforeseen ride. What a fantastic, unexpected story. I found myself completely wrapped up in it, the world around me disappeared. It was thought-provoking, challenging and mysterious. I didn't love the ending, but the rest of the book was so great, I still had to give it a 5 star rating. If you enjoy stories like The DaVinci Code, you will enjoy this.

I thought this book was really clever. I would recommend it.

I can't say I enjoyed this book. I found no reason to care about Lee, a lost, lonely teenage thief who abuses drugs and waxes nostalgic for a friendship with Edie long after being betrayed by her. The soceite anonyme had plenty of intrigue but was constantly brought down by runaway prisoner mooch Lee. At every turn she became less likeable for me. This story had a lot of great ideas, plenty of suspense but I need a main character with at least one redeeming quality. Not my cup of tea, 2.5 -3 stars.

I found this really enjoyable. It was convoluted at times, but so is reality. I looked forward to picking it up as often as I could, and I really cared about Lee and her quest. It's the kind of book that even after it ends, you'd like to be friends with her on Facebook, so you can see what she does with the rest of her life.

This book started out promising. The writing flowed well and the premise was intriguing. However, it lost the plot somewhere along the way. The scenarios got more and more outlandish and I could no longer suspend my disbelief. What I was left with was a handful of one-dimensional characters and a yarn so tangled not even an experienced reader when want to untangle it.

In this story, outsiders become readymade thieves as a way to belong to the mainstream group wherever they are. They derive no real satisfaction from the money gleaned from the sale of their wares or the thrill of the theft. Unless you buy into the central thesis of needing to belong, you miss out on most of the drive of this plot. Which is not to downplay the role that paranoia plays in keeping everything running; its the grease that moves it chapter by chapter. Sprinkle in fascination with the darknet, art, science and runaways and somehow this tale provides something for everyone. Just not enough for me. I wish there was more here: too many tropes about raves and drug addled teens turning into prostitutes after one weekend's bash and pregnant, homeless teens.

I honestly could not get into this book. I tried and tried but quit about a third of the way through.

I'm in the middle when I comes to this book. It started out great and just lost my enthusiasm as I got closer and closer to the end. It had the potential to be great but I feel the author just got too carried away and didnt know how to bring us back to the feeling it had at the beginning.

If I had to give this novel a rating, I'd waver between a 3.5 and 4. Initially, the story begins at a 4, but not in a feel-good kind of way. This is not your happy beach read, but it is a compelling story, it is written in a riveting way (or at least in a way that moves the text along), and the plot is mostly unique. If I had to compare it to another fiction book, then I would say parts of it resemble The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, but that is mainly based on the fact that the protagonist has a depressing life and art is interwoven throughout the main story, helping to propel the main character along. Lee is the main character here. I give her credit for her grit and in the beginning, it is definitely possible to feel sympathy for her, but as the novel goes on, you have to grasp that she is as depressed as humanly possible or you will not be able to fathom why she does certain things. Her romance with Tomi is interesting. That definitely was a plus in the story. Another plus is that the author was able to take such a depressing narrative and still leave a trail of hope. The Duchamp parts are interesting. There is definitely a mystery/thriller, steampunk aspect to the whole urbex theme. I felt like it could have gone deeper in to Duchamp and talked more about that instead of Mr. Velasquez chapters and a few other things the editor could have removed to make room to develop the art side of things. There was more that could have happened there and even though it is the primary point of the book, there was not enough of it. The last half of the book felt rushed. I thought it tied up too quickly and oddly. The climax was kind of a let down considering Lee's mindset for a good portion of the book. It just didn't fit with the flow as well as it could have or maybe more needed to be explained. Overall, it is different. I am not one to stick with a sad story if I do not have to, but there was something about this that made me wonder how it would end and even if you do not care for the ending like me, it is still a unique and very well written story.

Still not sure what I thought of this book. There was so much going on, the twists and turns, you didn't know who was friend and who was foe. It definitely kept my interest, even if it was hard to read at times. A lot of description, it felt overwhelming at times, but great characters, a good conspiracy theory, and not predictable.

Lee is a thief, a homeless waif who gets wrapped up in a strange myriad of secret societies, urban abandoned building exploration and halfway houses that kidnap and drug children. The secret society is obsessed with an artist's last work and when Lee finds a piece of that puzzle the society will stop at nothing to get it back. Along the way she falls in love with Tomi and he introduces her to his passion of exploring abandoned museums and other relics along with squatting at nice homes of people away on vacation. Dark, mysterious, unsettling and like nothing you have read, this book is hard to pigeonhole into one genre. You will find yourself getting pulled in, eagerly following Lee into the tunnels rooting for her happiness and survival. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.

I read this book with anticipation and angst. The story was really 2 stories in one - Lee as a runaway on the streets and the mystery of the Society Anonyme. I understood Lee's story and was fascinated by its twists and turns. I live in Philadelphia and it was interesting to envision the locations mentioned. Lee was helped (followed/?) by several people in a giant conspiracy linked to Marcel Duchamp's art work. This part was story #2 - conspiracy, physics, and art history. The manner of story telling was riveting - I kept reading to see what would happen next to Lee but at the same time I found the conspiracy and the ties to Duchamp and his theories, that mirrored or even anticipated Einstein's et al, hard to follow or actually believe. I did read up on Duchamp afterwards and the author does pretty accurately reflect his art and philosophy. I can't say I enjoyed the book; it was a new style for me. Couldn't call it YA fiction either - but a fresh look at story telling.

WOW. This book was right up my alley with tons of suspense and a story line that builds and gets better and better with each chapter. I finished the book in one day because I became so involved I couldn't put it down. The main character is Lee, a young high school student who is pretty much a loner. She doesn't have any friends and she isn't close to her family. She is kind of just existing until she becomes friends with Edie and everything in her world changes, and not for the better. Edie turns her back on Lee and tells the police she committed a crime to cover for Edie's loser boyfriend.Lee goes to Jail,escape's, and becomes a runaway hiding out with no one to turn to and nowhere to go.Lee is picked up off the street by someone who says they can help her. She is a little suspicious when she is taken in by "The Undertaker", but living underground with this group of misfits is her only choice to stay out of jail. Lee discovers a dark world underground of drugs,crime,and doesn't know who is involved and who she can trust. She has taken something that doesn't belong to her and the bad people want it back. About the time you think you've figured out the story, a new twist is thrown at you and your on a new adventure. I really enjoyed how the author was able to keep my attention throughout the book, even I didn't know who Lee should trust! lol

This book was truly an original work and really reminded me of David Foster Wallace in some ways. I was kept guessing and liked that each separate book read as such, however still tied into the overall content of the book. There were times when I think that author was a little wordy, however just the sheer creativity was amazing. This is the reason I am an avid reader. Thanks for the advanced copy of this book!

This book was incredibly weird and intricately intense. I really enjoyed this one.

I could not find anything about the character of Lee to identify with, or to feel sympathy for. After the first 50 pages I had to give up on the book because I just couldn't make myself read any more of it.

Lee Cuddy steals. At first it’s for the thrill of it. Then she does it to feel needed at high school. Kids seek her out, she gets what they want, and they pay her for it. More than the stealing, more than the money, Lee’s kleptomaniac behavior fulfills her desire to feel needed since her family life is splintered after her father walked out when she was seven, and her mom’s New Age boyfriend quietly takes over as the one who speaks for both he and Lee’s mother. Lee is rewarded with a friend, Edie. It’s with Edie, in a café, on her 17th birthday, that the girls are given a flyer to an S.A. party. Since Lee is grounded, having been caught shoplifting, she doesn’t go. Edie takes another girl, Claire. Claire later vanishes. Soon afterwards, Edie hides a stash of cocaine in Lee’s locker, which lands Lee in a juvenile detention center. After 244 days, Lee escapes the detention center through a ventilation shaft. She finds refuge at the Crystal Castle, an abandoned building run by a man, known as the Station Master. He seemingly provides kids like Lee who have nowhere else to go, with a place to sleep, and food to eat as long as they do their part. There are few rules, but one has her intrigued: do not go upstairs. In her room at the Crystal Castle, Lee finds a notebook with a flyer like the one she received to a party put on by the Société Anonyme at an abandoned missile silo. In additional to the invitation, the journal’s contents provide ominous hints to the nature of the Station Master, and the danger of what lurks upstairs. Too many secrets to ignore, Lee sneaks into the Station Master’s room and what she finds frightens her. On the verge of being caught, she steals a bag whose precious contents were whispered about. She flees out the window and uses a fire escape, which takes her to the forbidden 2nd floor—the upstairs. She’s unhinged by what she sees next and it drives her to try and stop the S.A. Lee has no idea what she’s stolen, even after she’s looked at it. But, it is the one thing the S.A. has sought out and they are willing to do anything—including cold-blooded killing—to try and retrieve it. After seeing a missing poster for Edie Lee tries to track her down at the silo, fearing for her friend’s life. In the midst of feeling watched and trapped, she’s swept away by Tomi, who forever changes Lee’s course in life. Tomi not only gives Lee a place to stay, but introduces her to the world of art, urban exploration, and the Darknet or Subnet—a secret part of the internet with information not accessible to the public. Together they begin to unravel some of the S.A.’s motives and ties to Duchamp’s art work. All the time, however, there are hints that Lee is being targeted and her pursuers are closing in. Then the hints become threats, and those who know too much, or are too close to Lee, are killed. Lee remains alive, as she plays a role she was assigned, based purely on her resemblance to someone who lived decades before. She, like the object she stole, is integral to the S.A.’s desire to obtain access to other dimensions, and ultimately immortality. Lee sees them for what they are though: charlatans. This novel kept me reading late into the late, with tense action and fascinating diversions into various fields including art, secret societies, physics, and alchemy. Like Duchamp’s installation, “mile of string,” I felt like the threads weaving theories and objects together in this novel were at times a jumble, but worthy of pursuing as my intrigued was piqued. Just as I was wondering what the point was, the last chapter tied together all the loose ends and I could see beyond the obvious exploring of abandoned buildings, and deciphering hidden meaning in art. And what I saw was a journey into the dark places within ourselves, and the danger inherit in losing oneself to greed and imposing roles upon others. All of this was strung together with themes of love, loss, and betrayal set in a sinister world of men determined to achieve the impossible. This story is humanity as seen through the small, blue glass bottle—Lee’s first stolen object—with something mysterious rattling inside.

I'm somewhat torn on this one - since to me it often reads as two books in one; the first, a social survival drama about a wrongfully accused teenage girl who escapes prison and is forced to survive nomadically; and the second, a Da Vinci Code/Ready Player One riff in which she is forced to decode the mystery left behind behind by a brilliant man. The issue for me is that the first book is so compelling and lived in - while the second is more esoteric and contrived, that the two "worlds" of it don't always mesh. The protagonist, Lee, is a character worth rooting for, and the unique ways in which she is able to survive and care for the baby growing inside her (which thankfully, is not the product of rape, as one might expect) give her a strong and empathetic P.O.V. It is only in the mystery storyline that she is forced to do less organic things to drive the plot. Ultimately, the greatest failing of these types of stories is that the McGuffin driving the plot can't REALLY result in the grand sweeping change to history or reality that is promised - and as it must - in the end only a few key players can be left aware of what almost happened. Perhaps it's that Lee is drawn in to the Duchamp mystery rather than being invested in it from the get-go - it makes it even harder to care about anything but the human cost of the story. Still some sharp writing and lovely character work in the A storyline.

Man, the way Rose stumbles clumsily through months and years of a character's life, filling us in on details that are interesting but fairly inconsequential, was not my cup of tea. He does a great job telling a story in a moment, however, and the twists and turns in the plot are so great, so complex, that they're almost too great and complex for the tiny space allotted to them. The book really only picks up and becomes what it is meant to be in the second half, and I think it would be a better novel (or more to my taste) if we had joined Lee's story once the main plot gets off its lumbering feet.

I read this in a single day. It is a compulsively readable book; once you start, be prepared to not pay attention to much else until you finish. The plot is completely bonkers, in the best way, and trying to describe it is an exercise in futility. It involves secret societies, hacking, quantum physics, some casual B &E, Marcel Duchamp, and even a little romance. It's a LOT for a single story but somehow all the various plot points are kept effortlessly in the air. A few negatives: the ending is...not great. It's leading to something incredible and then just sort of fizzles out, in a way that would be more suited to a short story. Also, I found the final confrontation in the Silo incredibly confusing, trying to figure out where everything and everyone was. Still, I enjoyed this very much. The characters are great and very, very real. 4/5 stars

Holy headspin, batman! Weird and wonderful, then weird and gruesome, then just weird, wait back to weird and wonderful. There were times when I felt that the author was pushing too hard, working at it too doggedly, but the effect was creepy and heartwarming at the same time. It's definitely in the down-the-rabbithole genre but a good story with a couple of characters I enjoyed spending time with. Lee and Tomi make a fascinating pair and I was rooting for them. Throw in some odd Duchamp art and questionable general relativity and quantum mechanics references (the science wasn't impressive, but also not too offensive), and there's a story worth the time. I got a copy to review from First to Read.

Artists can be some strange people, but in Augustus Rose's The Readymade Thief, Marcel Duchamp is portrayed as an incredibly enigmatic artist, leaving a legacy and body of work eagerly embraced and replicated by an odd group of men in the current day whose actions greatly impact the life of a teenage girl.  Lee is a seventeen year old girl with a knack for stealing things. After taking the fall for the only real friend she had she gets sent to juvenile detention, which she manages to escape from. On her own on the streets of Philadelphia, Lee finds ways to survive, one of which being a place called the Crystal Castle, where many homeless children reside. It's in the Crystal Castle that Lee is introduced to some men she begins to believe is responsible for the drugging and disappearances of children in the area. Having stolen a seemingly strange object she later learns is of keen interest to these men, Lee is rescued from them by Tomi, who shows her his art, the beauty of exploring abandoned buildings, and the secrets held beneath the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which both answers and raises questions about the item Lee stole and the men after her.  As someone who lives in Philadelphia, it was interesting to read about the city as it was presented within this story with its (accurately) vast differences from abandoned buildings to snug suburban homes. With a fair amount of intrigue built up around an intricate web of deceit and manipulation to drive Lee's actions, which was quickly devoured, there were a lot of seemingly coincidental, circumstantial events that were conspiring together to influence her in particular ways, which felt a bit forced for the sake of incorporating the various threads of plot in the development of the overarching plot. Overall, I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

A captivating, and thrilling read. This was so well written that the characters truly came alive and I could not get enough. Full of twists, conspiracy, and exploration, I found myself trying to solve the puzzles until the last page. Told from the perspective of Lee, who becomes a runaway after being betrayed by her best friend and sent to a juvenile lock-up, we meet a cast of underground society denizens. Lee must discover the truth behind disappearances, while confronting her own struggles of who to trust before she gets sucked in and it's too late. A fantastic novel.

I received an advanced copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program, and I'm so glad that I did. We first meet Lee, a young girl who has spent much of her youth stealing in order to make both friends and money. During her senior year of high school, two things happen that have a big impact on the next year of her life - she is invited to a party hosted by a secret society, and she is framed by a "friend" during a drug bust and ends up in a juvenile detention center. Lee escapes the facility, and soon finds herself in the middle of a mystery. Who are the strangers that always seem to be following her? Why are they so obsessed with Marcel Duchamp and his artwork? Lee ends up on the run with Tomi, one of my favorite characters that I've come across in recent reads. The book is fast-paced, and kept me up reading until all hours of the night. I can see the comparisons to Marisha Pessl's works, as well as Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and the daVinci Code. It was a great read and I would recommend it in a heartbeat.

I received an advance reader copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program. I really, really enjoyed this book. I thought the broken bird main character, Lee, was well realized, even if, at a certain point, you had to wonder how much bad luck could dog one person. Augustus Rose did an excellent job balancing the internal thoughts and feelings of the main character with plenty of action. The secondary characters were well painted and none of them felt overly cardboard, even the folks who were known, for the most part, only by their mysterious titles (the Undertaker, the Busboy, the Priest -- like some kind of professional wrestling circuit inspired by Marchel Duchamp (more on that in a sec)). The breakneck pace, the high stakes, and shadowy conspiracy all played well together without veering into being overbearing. I found this book was far, far better than a few of the comps it had been pitched as (Ready Player One, which was really good in its own right, and Mr Penumbra's, which wasn't). I'm not super familiar with Marcel Duchamp, the artist at the heart of this book's web, and while I found myself occasionally wanting to look certain pieces mentioned up to see if they were actual creations of his, I didn't ever feel like I was missing out on anything by not having any insider knowledge. All along it was a compelling read I kept coming back to and snuck time, whenever I could, to find out what happened next.

The story started so well, with strange disappearances, a teenage outcast being wrongly sent to jail, a mysterious yet omniscient society, a detailed enough treatise on burglary and squatting to make me feel *very* paranoid... but then it peters out, as if the author didn't know how to connect this exciting buildup to the crux of the story. You get the sense that what Duchamp has done to the characters in the big reveal, the author has likewise been doing to you. It's like a half-assed metaphysical DaVinci Code.

I don't know where the comparison to Ernest Cline came from but I did not see many similarities to his books at all. The plot and the characters started out fresh and fun, but about halfway through the book it really started to drag when the main character discovered a conspiracy. The puzzle, and conspiracies, and secret societies are get kind of convoluted and really confusing. But i guess rightfully so when you get to the payout. The story lines like the dark net and Lee learning to become a real thief were really interesting, but dropped as soon as they starting gaining steam. It was a decent book with good pace, but not nearly what is advertised above. Probably a poor mans davinci code would be a much better comparison.

Augustus Rose is an incredible author with a distinct style. His writing is quite dense but worth reading through. I was repeatedly challenged while reading. He mixes in multiple theories and a vast knowledge of art history about Marcel Duchamp. At times the plot is hard to follow and you don't know how the information fits into the context of the book. Even after finishing the book I am still trying to fit pieces together. Some of these pieces caused it to be stretched out further than it needed to be. I really enjoyed the book. I look forward to another Augustus Rose book, but hopefully next time it won't be so dense.

This is the kind of book that catches your attention from the very first line. The intriguing plot is so dense of content (from avant-gard to the deep web and the string theory) that I kept thinking that this would never be a good combination. I was so very whong :). And I'm glad for it, it's been a while since a book suprised me so much. The epilogue is fantastic, I don't know what else to say... I adored it and Augustus Rose is definitely a name I'll be searching for on bookstores,

This was a great fast paced story. If I could have, it would have been read in one go. I didn't want to put it down. I was particularly enchanted by the story because I was familiar with and had seen works by the artist mentioned in the story. This story is an inner connected web of lies and deceit that keep the story going until the very end. I especially liked Lee, the main character. She had to find her own way and personal truth in this story. I hope to read more stories by this author in the future.

A mysterious novel that is the darkest thing I have read in a while. While I knew from the synopsis that this wasn't going to be something like a light and fluffy contemporary, it still took me by surprise. Some of these dark aspects I did enjoy, others may have been a bit too much. Despite the fact that the topics throughout this book were unique and satisfying, the flow of everything wasn't the best. The ideas were spectacular and I enjoyed the aspect of decoding, although sometimes it was a little hard to follow. The one really amazing thing about this novel was that I refused to put it down because I was so invested in the plot. Rose has created a story unlike anything else and managed to take me into this dark and mysterious novel and never let go. So overall, it was a pretty good book.

A strange mixed up story of a smart young girl, but naïve and vulnerable drawn into intrigue about coded art, drugs which led into abusive relationships and situations. Crazy puzzles, twists and turns and Lee needy for attention and acceptance is betrayed by eccentric and sick people trying to decode an elusive message left by Duschamp. Hard to keep up with and understand the eclectic references, but the ending was sad but satisfying.

This story was really dark and almost a little disturbing. It does remind me a bit of The Da Vinci Code or a darker version of Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, with the theme of finding hidden meaning in art, literature, etc. I really like books with that kind of plotline. I did enjoy this story, but I'm not entirely sure I understand it. All of the references to Duchamp's art were really confusing, and I found myself having to re-read sections of this book to understand what was going on. All in all, I liked this story, I mostly liked how it ended, and I would definitely recommend giving it a shot. Just be aware that this is not a light, fluffy read - it requires your full attention to really understand the story, and readers should be prepared for quite a bit of darkness and some violence. Overall though, definitely a really interesting, unique story.

Overall a good book. I had to take a break at times because the storyline didn't really flow for me. It's hard to imagine all of that bad luck for one poor girl, but I'm glad at how it ended. Thanks for my chance to preview this novel First to Read!

 


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