Monday 9 September 2013

REVIEW: Lawless by Jeffrey Salane.

Title: Lawless.
Author: Jeffrey Salane.
ISBN: 9781848123212.
Publisher: Piccadilly Press Ltd.
Genre: Middle Grade.
Year: 2013.


The Lawless School provides the right education for kids on the wrong side of the law. 

M Freeman has been homeschooled her entire life. So M has no idea just how unusual her education has been - not until she leaves home to attend the prestigious (and mysterious) Lawless School.

Suddenly, it's very clear to M that her tutors have been preparing her all along for a life of crime. She excels at escape tactics. She's a whiz at spotting forgeries. Her years of piano lessons pay off when picking pockets and cracking safes. 

M's newfound talent for criminal mischief soon brings her to the attention of the Masters, the secretive school's most secretive clique. M's interest in the Masters is personal - joining this international dishonour society is her best chance to learn the truth about her father's life . . . and his death. But when her first real-world heist goes wrong, M is left wondering: Is there truly honour among thieves? 


After reading the first couple of chapters of Lawless, I had high hopes for this book. Jeffrey Salane throws us right into the story as we start with M’s interview for Lawless; the school of criminals. It immersed me into thoughts of fast-paced action, betrayal and drama, but after finishing Lawless, I felt under-awed and a bit disappointed. 

With nothing but an empty envelope with her name on it and a painstakingly crafted, hand-written speech she’d never got to deliver, M sat as the limo pulled around to her front door. And of all the millions of questions she had about the Lawless School, only one came to mind in that instant: 

What am I going to tell Mom? 

Lawless was full of lots of little twists and turns, starting in Chapter 3 when there’s already doubts over who M should and shouldn’t trust. I loved all the unexpected happenings and how I was always left guessing at what M would discover next, but in truth, throughout most of the book, the twists were the only parts keeping me interested. 

I didn’t like how slow the book became. Of course, M was at a school of criminals, so the lessons were a vital part of Lawless but I felt there was just too much description and not enough action. For a book aimed at young people, I expected a lot more to happen. It took until the last few chapters of Lawless for all the quick, dramatic events to unfold. And that was the part I loved. 

Cars started furiously honking as they ripped past the small girl in the black parka. Lights flickered as the high-pitched squeal of swerving tires echoed in the night air. M was frozen in place, waiting to be struck by the oncoming traffic until one car pulled to her side and the passenger-side door flew open. 

‘Get in now!’ cried Zara. 

M leapt into the car and Zara put the pedal to the metal before the door had shut, leaving M’s mother and a team of angry Fulbrights behind in the proverbial dust. 

All it took was some quick movements and a few more twists to get this book going. Yes, the actions were exaggerated but Lawless was a criminal school; if a bunch of 12 year old kids are training to be law-breakers, you’re bound to see some ridiculous acts! 

Jeffrey Salane’s character portrayals were a stand out for me in this book. I liked how, despite how he made each character differentiate from the rest with their traits, I was still always trying to guess how maybe all wasn’t what it seemed. He also did a great job of making me hate Ms Watts, with her snide remarks and arrogance. 

All in all, I did like Lawless and its unpredictability. However, I was bored reading the middle section and whilst I did enjoy the over-the-top action at the end, I wanted more excitement and a more tied-up ending. I don’t actually think anything was resolved. 


  *I received a copy of this book to review for Readgig


Lawless is the first book in Jeffrey Salane’s series. The next installment is expected to be released in 2014.


  1. Eeeeekkk, when I saw the blurb for this, I couldn't not mark it as to-read on Goodreads. I'm sorry you didn't like it as much though but great job on the review! You justified your rating well. Thanks for the honest opinion! I might still check this out. Thanks, Sophie!

    1. Thanks Dianne! I hope you enjoy it if you do give it a go. The twists and turns were really fun, I just guess it wasn't really the book for me.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Anonymous19/4/24 02:47

    im looking to write a book review but idk how to start


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