Sting (Book #2)

Sting (Book #2)
by
Jude Watson

Blurb:
“Never do a favor for a friend. So why is March McQuin dangling upside-down twenty feet above a stone floor in the middle of the night, instead of tucked in bed like a regular kid? Along with his twin sister, Jules, he’s set on stealing a set of stunning diamonds. It should have been an easy job, in and out. Except another thief got there first. March and Jules are lucky to escape with their lives, and one measly stone. Now the botched heist has created a world of trouble. The stone they grabbed was the Morning Star, one of a trio of famous sapphires, and it’s cursed. The theft puts the twins and their friends in the crosshairs of Interpol, the FBI, and a vicious adult gang of criminals. And worst of all, the only way to break the curse and set everything to rights is by pulling off two more impossible heists…and stealing the other two sapphires in the set. Break out the black gloves. Lay out the masks. There’s a full moon coming, and jewel to steal…” 
My Review:
Well, the gang is back at it! So much for going straight… Once again, even though I don’t want to cheer for kids as they commit crimes, I found myself hoping they would make it. Geez! “But they’re just sweet kids,” the little devil on my shoulder says. Then the angel on my other shoulder is screaming, “But they’re breaking the law and stealing from rightful owners; they need to be caught and go to jail!” Yep, it’s wrong, but the book is so well written that you just can’t put it down, and you can’t find it in you to root against them. This book gets a little more into the roll of each character, and there’s more friction between the friends. I didn’t love that aspect of it, but they definitely learned some valuable life lessons as a consequence. They learned that they have to stick together, they need to be able to forgive and forget, and they need to be able to trust each other. I did like learning more about each of the characters; you definitely see more of their flaws, but that isn’t always a bad thing. There are more twists and turns in this book, and lots of surprises. A few new characters are introduced; some good and some not so good. Unfortunately, these kids are quite adept at their trade. (Hey Kids-don’t try this at home!!) If you enjoyed the first book, you will for sure like this one! I worry about second books sometimes, but this one did not disappoint!
Rating: PG (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy.” There is, however, some violence. There is fighting, police chases, car crashes, and of course the fact that these children are criminals.)
Recommendation: 4th grade and up (This is a great middle-grader and YA series!)

Loot (Book #1)

Loot (Book #1)
by
Jude Watson
Blurb:
“On a foggy night in Amsterdam, a man falls from a rooftop to the wet pavement below. It’s Alfie McQuin, the notorious cat burglar, and he’s dying. As sirens wail in the distance, Alfie manages to get out two last words to his young son, March: “Find jewels.” But March learns that his father is not talking about a stash of loot. He’s talking about Jules, the twin sister March never knew he had. No sooner than the two find each other, they’re picked up by the police and sent to the world’s worst orphanage. It’s not prison, but it feels like it. March and Jules have no intention of staying put. They know their father’s business inside and out, and they’re tired of being pushed around. Just one good heist, and they’ll live the life of riches and freedom most kids only dream about. Watch out! There are wild kids on the loose and a crime spree coming…

My Review:

I picked up this book, and book #2 Sting, at the library because my 11 year-old daughter wanted to read them. Of course, I had to read them first since my older boys hadn’t read them, and neither had I. I really didn’t know what to expect, but boy was I surprised! The writing style is easy to read, entertaining, and flows well. It’s narrated in third person, and is very well written. The characters jump off the pages because they’re realistic and have great personalities. March is a great character. He’s witty, smart, and a good leader. Jules is also a good character. She is talented and uses that talent to help her and her friends. Izzy and Darius are great secondary characters. They definitely fill in the gaps and add depth to the story line. The characters are not perfect, which is good. Mistakes are made and lessons are learned. There are twists and turns along the way, along with betrayal, success, failure, lies, and friendship. So yes, I actually really liked this book. My 15 year-old son enjoyed it also! There’s only one thing: they’re thieves. Yep! That’s the only thing I didn’t like. I hate it when you’re encouraged to root for the “bad guys,” like in the movie The Italian Job. Unfortunately, that is what happens here; to make it even worse, they’re kids. So you’re cheering for these kids to successfully steal things. Not allowing my kids to read these books definitely crossed my mind because I didn’t want them getting any ideas. Kid thieves = no bueno. But with that in mind, it’s a really good book. Darn! They got me! They sucked me in! Just make sure you have a little chat with your kids before they read it to tell them that what the kids in the book do is NOT ok. 🙂

Rating: PG (There’s no profanity or “intimacy.” There is some violence with the death of a character, some fighting, and a few chases. Also, these are children who are thieves.)

Recommendation: 4th grade and up (It’s a good middle-grader and YA book.)