In Penelope Landlow's world, almost anything can be bought or sold. She's the daughter of one of the three crime families controlling the black market for organ transplants. Because of an autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise easily, Penny is considered too "delicate" to handle the family business, or even to step foot outside their estate.
All Penelope has ever wanted is independence-until she's suddenly thrust into the dangerous world all alone, forced to stay one step ahead of her family's enemies. As she struggles to survive the power plays of rival crime families, she learns dreams come with casualties, betrayal hurts worse than bruises, and there's nothing she won't risk for the people she loves.
Perfect for fans of Holly Black and Kimberly Derting, this first book in the stunning new Once Upon a Crime Family series from acclaimed author Tiffany Schmidt will leave readers breathless
3 Out Of 5 Stars
Penelope lives a very sheltered life due to her medical condition of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, causing her body to bruise and bleed at just the slightest touch. Penny feels so alone and isolated due to everyone's fears of touching her. Her family happens to run a Family, meaning that they are in charge of an illegal organ retrieval/assignment operation that not so secretly runs across the country. In a time where people are living longer and legal means of obtaining organs have become stricter, Families will pay for organs as well as distribute them if the price is right. Penny longs to have some freedom from her gilded cage, but she never thought the opportunity would arrive or that the price would be so high.
This was a very unique book,at least in my opinion. I have never read about any of the topics that the author used, be it the thrombocytopenic purpura, which is a real and awful medical condition, as well as a book set in a mafia-esque world with enforcers and power, and the idea of a legal buying/selling of peoples organs sanctioned by the authorities. Put them all together and an intriguing story is the result. I only gave the book 3 stars because while I really liked the idea of the book as well as the characters, I had a little bit of a struggle with the love almost-triangle that became a major part of the plot. I read that the author was a big fan of fairy-tales and this was her very far reaching take on the story of The Princess and the Pea. I am not sure I really agree with the connection to the tale, but whatever. I liked the whole idea of the Organ Act and how intertwined politics and the Families were. The author wove a medical idea, politics, mafia and romance together to create a complete story.
The book deals with things like growing up and realizing who you are as a person as well as what you want from a relationship. Penny finds herself when she has no choice but to survive, and I respected her as a character for growing. Penny has two potential love interests: Garret, her brother's best friend/body guard who Penny always had a crush on but he never treated her with anything but polite respect; and Char, the attractive secretive boy that she literally runs into while in New York. Both relationships have issues in my eyes. Penny and Garret don't really have anything real, more a fantasy on both their parts- Penny looking through rose colored glasses for her fairytale prince, and Garret looking to Penny as a means of working up the Family and out of guilt/responsibility. Not in the slightest good reasons for anyone to get together, but it is bittersweet when Penny comes to the same realization since 17 years of hope was built on it. The relationship with Char was built on lies from both sides, which means they know nothing real about the other. Personally, I don't understand how you can love someone when pretty much everything is based on falsehoods. Also, I thought Char's intensity was a little above and beyond, and totally stalkerish anyway you look at it. As a side note, I knew who he was from the moment the author described him, I did not need Maggie telling Penny to confirm it. I guess Char and Penny have more potential/opportunity to know each other so the relationship has room to grow. I was a little surprised how quickly Penny transferred her feelings between the boys, which made me doubt how deep those feelings were and think the relationships were more of a life raft for her to hang on to when her world was spinning.
The only relationship that I fully support is Penny and Maggie. I like that they have each other to grieve with and lean on. I can see the two of them becoming the best of friends in the future regardless of the past.
The book has a pretty satisfying ending, but I read somewhere that this is the first of a series, so I have no idea what will happen next. Maybe Garret will play a bigger role and fight for Penny, but that is just my speculative hope. I was invested enough in the characters and the world that I would read more if this is a new series. And even if there are no more books, I like the writing style of the author as well as the tales she can create.
I received this title from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.