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This book is not on our official short list for the Newbery this year, but it is a 2014 book and as I am always telling my book club members, any book from 2014 could win.
A middle school boy tries to buy the election for student council president. With the feel of a heist movie, Jackson Greene assembles a team of “experts” to steal the election from a fellow student who has paid off the principal to ensure a win. Such a clever and witty story. I enjoyed it thoroughly!
AR level: 4.6
Grade appropriate: 4th and up
Overall: 5/5-- With the characters constantly referring to stunts pulled in the past, I kept double checking to make sure this wasn’t a sequel. It’s not, but I still felt like I was missing something because I didn’t know about the previous events they referred to.
Creativity: 5/5-- I love the idea of a heist book that doesn’t actually have to do with stealing a physical thing. I’m a huge fan of Loot and The Gallagher Girls series, this had a different feel because it was much more realistic.
Characters: 5/5-- I loved having a character to root for (Jackson) and characters to hate (Keith and Mr. Kelsey.) All were well developed enough to inspire strong feelings.
Engrossing: 5/5-- It’s a book you want to keep coming back to.
Writing: 5/5-- I will say some of the Star Trek references were lost on me although it didn’t really detract from the story as much as the references to previous shenanigans did. Even after I was 100% sure that this was not a sequel I just kept thinking, “Surely there’s another book I missed!”
Appeal to kids: 5/5-- They’ll love it!
Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
Sexuality: mild-- the main character kisses a girl to make a fellow student mad. (nothing graphic, just a brush of lips) There is talk of dating and going to formals together but all very innocent and clean.