You Read What? Book Reviews: Wanted

Author: Heidi Ayarbe

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

  • Imprint: Balzer + Bray

Publishing Date: May 1, 2012

Format: Hardcover Print

Number of Pages: 400

Number of Days It Took Me to Read: 2

Source: Toronto Public Library

HEIDI AYARBE debuted with her novel, Freeze Frame, and followed it up with Compromised, Compulsion and her newest book, Wanted.



I like the cover. The dark background. The girl staring right at me. The red and faded word. What can I say? I gravitated towards it when it sat on the library shelves…



A one-word text message: That’s all Michal “Mike” Garcia needs to gather a crowd. Mike is a seventeen-year-old bookie, and Sanctuary is where she takes bets for anyone at Carson City High with enough cash. Her only rule: Never participate, never place a bet for herself.

Then Josh Ellison moves to town. He pushes Mike to live her life, to feel a rush of something–play the game, he urges, stop being a spectator.

So Mike breaks her one rule. She places a bet, feels the rush.

And loses.

In an act of desperation, she and Josh–who has a sordid past of his own–concoct a plan: The pair will steal from Carson City’s elite to pay back Mike’s debt. Then they’ll give the rest of their haul to those who need it most. How can burglary be wrong if they are making things right?

“Wanted” will thrust readers into the gritty underbelly of Carson City, where worth is determined by a score, power is derived from threat, and the greatest feat is surviving it all


I LOVED the story. This is one of those stories that give readers a look into the real life dramas that surrounds us but often goes unnoticed. It doesn’t have to be an extreme case of living in a war torn country because there are individual wars that we deal with as well as the wars waged within our “first world nations” such as class, race and etc. It’s a young adult novel that is not only an entertaining read but a story that brings up questions such as the United States’ policy on immigration.

What I really like about the book is the question of whether or not the means justifies the ends. I don’t agree with some of the actions of this book but I understand the reasons behind it. The ending is probably one of the saddest things I’ve ever read and because of that, I won’t say much more.


Ayarbe’s writing is beautiful. It switches depending on the type of person Mike (short for Michal) embodies at the time. When Mike is under the guise of “Mike the Bookie” the sentences are bit more to the point and precise. When Mike is just…Mike, she’s more reflective. There is a great use of metaphors and descriptions.


I think you’ll fall in love with some of the characters and have searing hate for others. I’m not sure if there really is a middle ground unless they’re for really minor characters. My heart ached for Mike, Moch and Mrs. Mendez. I adored Seth and Josh. I despised Nim and Trinity.

Did I already say that I love Seth? Because I really do.

Memorable/Forgettable?: Memorable for sure. I recommend this book to everyone because I feel like it’s a book that really discusses the issues of our time despite whether or not you live in the US.

Rating: I give it 5 copies of “The Gamblers” out of 5

A. A. Omer

The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.

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