The Compulsive Reader: The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

I have to work a little harder to find middle grade novels I enjoy, but when it came to The Great Greene Heist, I knew that I had found a winner. I fell in love on page 2. This book is my number one go-to when it comes to recommending middle grade books this holiday season.

Jackson Greene is a mostly reformed prankster and con artist still suffering the consequences of his last job going wrong—his best friend Gabriella will no longer talk to him. But when news that a corrupt student threatens Gabriella’s campaign for student council president, he slides back into his old ways to pull together a crew for his biggest, most complicated heist yet.

The Great Greene Heist is pure fun. The novel has a semi-serious tone that really works for the story, building suspense and mystery. The characters take their roles very seriously, but they’re also not afraid to have fun. One of Jackson’s rules, “If you’re going to pull a con, know how to pull a con in style” is felt on ever page, from the dramatic dialogue to the complicate maneuvering and surprise double-crossings. Johnson writes the nuances of middle school interactions and dramas well, and the emotional heart of the characters is what makes this far-fetched and hilarious book so easy and fun to read. The Great Greene Heist is an Ocean’s Eleven for the middle grade set, and one can only hope that it’s not the last heist Jackson will pull.

Cover Comments: I love this cover--very bright and it completely coveys the playful, sneaky, clever tone of the book.

Book borrowed from the library.

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