by Varian Johnson
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
8th grader Jackson Greene is done with getting in trouble – or is he? When his crush, Gaby, decides to run for student council president, she is challenged by slick Keith Sinclair. Jackson overhears Keith bribing the principal to rig the election in his favor and Jackson just has to step in.
One fellow book clubber agreed that this one was hard to get into, especially because there was clearly an entire (very interesting) back story about Jackson’s last heist. As a group, we agreed it might be more believable if the characters were high schoolers. So, reviews were mixed but we generally liked it (though we realized we were analyzing it on a grownup, pragmatic level). We thought kids would take it at face value and enjoy the adventure. Johnson counts Ocean’s Eleven as an inspiration and it definitely has that feel – you know (mostly) what the outcome will be but revealing the exact way it goes down is the real crux of the story. Good for Tech Club geeks who want to be the hero of the story for once, tech geek girls who need to hear that they can be popular too, and kids who can relate to the incompetence of the grownups in charge.