Brief Synopsis: “16-year-old Kia must learn the secret behind the magnificent diamond her father entrusted her with on his deathbed – without letting anyone know she has it.”
J. A. McLachlan has created a highly addictive, inspiring, and adventurous Young Adult/ Science fiction story with The Occasional Diamond Thief. The main character, Kia, is smart, stubborn, analytical; free willed, strong and 100% an independently thinking individual whom still exhibits truly the most moving moments of venerability as the result of an a strained relationship with her family, excluding her brother, Etin.
Despite all of this, the young, inquisitive minded teen still manages to make friends and gain a few trusted allies across the universe on a semi-technology backwards/basic planet called Malem, whose people openly reject and dis-trust foreigners. While unknowingly developing a truly heart-warming bond with a (unique) Select–Agatha—who fills the maternal absentness in Kia’s life she was not aware she needed.
Another thing I appreciated about this book was the fact that it not only revolves around a strong female protagonist of color, but that it equally balances differences in Culture/Languages, Social Standards and Religion with Morality, Identity, and Humanity without losing it’s comedic, adventurous and mystery elements. There are just so many quotable/memorable moments from this book that you can relive over and over again.
Itohan—his name means ‘mercy’. My father was Itohan Ugiagbe, I want to say to the Malemese hurrying about their business, ignoring me, a foreigner in their midst. He came here and suffered like you. I watched him die all the years of my childhood and I didn’t understand.
Every time I pass another death house, empty and boarded-up, I understand a little better my father’s long despair. What would he have been like if he hadn’t come to Malem? I never really knew him. Already his image is fading in my memory. I look around the dirty streets as I walk.
They stole him from me, but they might also be able to give a little of him back. If I can find out what happened to him here, I’ll know him in a way I never did. The Malemese diamond must be mixed up in it somehow.
“Tell me,” I whisper to the cold, gray streets. “Tell me who my father was.”
–Excerpt From: J. A. McLachlan. “The Occasional Diamond Thief.” iBooks.
It is one of best YA books I have read in a really long time and I wish I could have read a book like this when I was younger. As I followed Kia through this book and read her learn not only more about her a strained father’s past but learn to have more confidence in herself and trust in others, I found that I too was learning with her.
Besides the fact that I am sad that the book ended at all, I give this book 4.5 stars because we were not able to see any resolution between Kia and her family when she finally left Malem. (Unless that’ll be in the next book? *crosses fingers*)
“But at some fundamental human level where the fear of not being understood touches us all, Central Ang ties the human universe together.”—Excerpt From: J. A. McLachlan. “The Occasional Diamond Thief.” iBooks.
As a person who finds comfort in my studies and in moments of solitude when being around my family or friends feels like I am an outsider or a stranger, I recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t belong.
If it were not for sleep, eating and work I do not think I would have taken breaks reading this book. It is a true page-turner. I was fortunate enough to win this as a free e-book from Librarything.com, but I’ve purchased a hard copy of this book also to have on my bookshelf forever! Ms. McLachlan, if you see this please, please bring Kia back for another adventure :-) . I will wrap this up with one last quote from the book:
“Malem isn’t on the cyber link.”
“God doesn’t need the cyber link.”
I let that one lie. –Excerpt From: J. A. McLachlan. “The Occasional Diamond Thief.” iBooks.
Thanks for reading ^__^ (It feels good to be back). Until next time,