Praise for One Good Hustle:

“You must read Billie Livingston. She is the sort of writer who rejects pomp, instead dealing out the plain story in language that is undecorated by attempts to be an artiste, and which conjures place and character seamlessly. And she makes Dickens look like Little Mary Sunshine. “   -- Globe and Mail

Billie Livingston has the knack of portraying teenage life in a way that is unerring and intimate.  --Toronto Star

“A wondrous tour-de-force of teenage dissension...” -- Vancouver Sun

“First rate storytelling...Livingston’s other prose volumes displayed her superb ear for dialogue and a piercing ability to mix tenderness with tenacity, effortlessly revealing her characters’ brawling hearts. This remains true of One Good Hustle.”   -- The Georgia Straight

“One good tale...invariably fascinating. Livingston portrays Sammie’s internal conflict with devastating precision. Great storytelling.” --NOW (Toronto) NNNN

“Charming and breezy. Sammie’s voice is lovely. She's tough and precocious but hardly jaded. This is a book about real people living real lives.”

— Canadian Literature

“Livingston has a talent for the defining element...Throughout, the writing is deftly observational.”

-- Calgary Herald

“...But even with all of its celebrated and award-winning predecessors, Livingston’s fourth book, One Good Hustle, may be the best of the bunch thus far. One Good Hustle is sharp and sweet and Sammie Bell proves to be one of those memorable characters readers are searching for every time they open a book.” -- January Magazine

Livingston is a master of dialogue, delivering snappy, realistic teen-age conversations, laugh-out-loud sarcastic comments, and heart-breaking subtext, sometimes all at once.”  — Prism International

“Billie Livingston is deservedly one of Canada's most prominent writers...One Good Hustle warrants a wide readership.” -- Montreal Gazette

“Livingston has once again given us a stellar novel about people we see every day on the street but rarely ever know...a humorous gritty tale set in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby in the mid-80s that is both gripping and realistic.” --Rover Arts

"The novel takes a lighthearted approach to its dark terrain; leaves you smiling, liking the characters. Each has flaws but a charm or redeeming trait to make them feel perfectly rendered and perfectly human. It’s funny, it’s sad, and it’s written in a way that draws you in, well-paced, and laced with unforgettable characters....It’s on Salty Ink’s Best Books of 2012 List. The Giller jury got that much right this year."  --Salty Ink

“You really get into Sammie’s head...It’s a good story that’s beautifully written, one of those laugh-through-your-tears books that would probably make a good movie.” YAM Magazine

“(Livingston) creates engaging characters who talk as we understand teenagers do but, unlike the mean girls we may have known when young, Livingston allows her fictional teens to find kindness among their peers even when life seems really low. “  --Hamilton Spectator

“Pages flip. What will become of Sammie, which way will she jump? It's a good read. And Sammie's wit, her sharp observations and acid tongue, lend the novel the same quirky, edgy appeal evident in Livingston's other novels. “       -- Winnipeg Free Press

“Sammie is tough, sweet and insecure. It’s an interesting combination, and one that works thanks to Livingston’s skills as a writer...She has a particular talent for letting her characters speak and creating characters that seem like real, fully-fleshed out people.” --Daily Herald Tribune

“Entertaining, thoughtful & perfectly crass from page 1, character is steady & strong — Written feverishly: a primal scream.”  --The One Line Review

“Characters are nuanced and multi-dimensional...with Sammie’s voice – alternately tough, sensitive, sarcastic, and sweet – lingering after the story is through... an enjoyably fast-paced summer read.” -- Quill and Quire

"Stuck in a rough hustle, the sensitive daughter of two con artists uses badass honesty and wit to survive.  Funny, sharp and tender, One Good Hustle delivers a gritty page-turner about what happens when love and loyalty collide with self-preservation." -- Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach & Blood Sports

"What a joy to read a work so brave and unsettling. Billie Livingston holds nothing back: the terrors of teenage life; the charm of criminals; and the innocence and anger of girls on the run. Sammie Bell is Holden Caulfield, if he was born on the wrong side of the tracks and wandering through Vancouver streets."                                       --Rebecca Godfrey, author of The Torn Skirt & Under the Bridge

“In One Good Hustle, Billie Livingston once again masterfully deploys her edgy wit to create a perfectly pitched adolescent voice, an unforgettable heroine whose scam artist toughness is matched only by her yearning for authenticity. A great read from start to finish.  --Lilian Nattel, author of Web of Angels

From award-winning writer Billie Livingston, an unsparing novel of loyalty and survival that is fierce, sharp and funny even when it's breaking your heart.


The child of 2 con artists, 16-year-old Sammie Bell always prided herself on knowing the score. But now she finds herself backed into a corner. After a hustle gone dangerously wrong, her mother, Marlene, is sliding into an abyss of alcoholic depression, spending her days fantasizing aloud about death--a goal Sammie is tempted to help her accomplish. Horrified by the appeal of this, Sammie packs a bag and leaves her mother to her own devices.


With her father missing in action, she has nowhere else to go but the home of a friend with 2 parents who seem to actually love their daughter and each other--and who awkwardly try to extend some semblance of family to Sammie. Throughout a long summer of crisis among the normals, Sammie is torn between her longing for the approval of the con-man father she was named for and her desire for the "weird, spearmint-fresh feeling" of life in the straight world. Sammie wants to be normal but fears that where she comes from makes that beyond the realm of possibility.


One Good Hustle chronicles 2 months in Sammie Bell's struggle with her dread that she is somehow doomed genetically to be just another hustler.

Long-listed for 2012 Giller Prize

Short-listed for CLA’s Young Adult book of the year

Globe and Mail “Best Book” Selection

Now Magazine Top 10 Book Selection

January Magazine Best Book Selection

Salty Ink Best Novel Selection

CBC Canada Reads Top Ten Pick for BC and the Yukon