I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of COIN HEIST. What a fun read! Four teens plot to rob the US Mint (for a noble purpose), and the schemI had the privilege of reading an advance copy of COIN HEIST. What a fun read! Four teens plot to rob the US Mint (for a noble purpose), and the scheme is so cleverly, and unpredictably, worked out. COIN HEIST is also full of intriguing tech details and US Mint lore -- you'll start looking twice at all the spare change in your pocket! Best of all is the ensemble cast of prep school outlaws, who take turns telling the story. They all have distinct motivations for getting involved in the heist and they forge new relationships with one another.
COIN HEIST plays with some recognizable conventions of heist novels, and would translate easily to the screen. But it also subverts some of the hallmarks of heist stories. There is a fascinating moral dilemma at the heart of the story; COIN HEIST really takes on ethical issues in a way I haven't seen much of in YA novels. And the characters are more complex, more real, than you find in typical heist stories. Elisa Ludwig's new novel is a fun, fast read that will leave you thinking. ...more
Mystery meets magical realism in this captivating new children's book by bestselling mystery/suspense novelist Peter Abrahams. 12-year-old Robbie ForeMystery meets magical realism in this captivating new children's book by bestselling mystery/suspense novelist Peter Abrahams. 12-year-old Robbie Forester receives a silver charm bracelet from a homeless woman. The charm comes with tremendous powers, which extend to Robbie's three friends and her dog. Figuring out the charm's powers -- how and when it works, and for whom -- is a big part of the mystery. But even more mystery and intrigue is in store for Robbie and her friends. The charm seems to lead them down the dangerous path of the corrupt real estate developer Sheldon Gunn, who is raising rents and ejecting tenants all over their Brooklyn neighborhood. Capitalizing on the charm's strange energy -- as well as their own strengths -- Robbie and her friends form their own modern-day band of outlaws, stealing from the rich to give to the poor.
If you've read Abrahams' YA mystery novels (such as the Echo Falls series, or Reality Check), which are grounded in reality from start to finish, the paranormal element in here might initially come as a jolt. There's a different vibe to this book. Succumb to it. It's a really fun ride. The various powers the "outlaws" enjoy are strange, frightening, even whimsical. (Wouldn't you love to cruise gently around New York with a friend, hovering three stories above the ground?) And while one could argue that these gutsy kids don't need superpowers -- they have plenty of street smarts and intelligence on their own -- there's something fascinating and deeper going on here with this blend of groundedness and imaginative flights of fancy. (In fact, Robbie's dad, a struggling novelist, is actually writing a book related to this topic). Since this book is the start of a series, I figure there's plenty of time for these kids, and readers, to reconcile their real-life strengths with this supernatural aid.
The writing is lovely throughout, and the descriptions of Brooklyn in the winter -- from a sludgy river to snowy streets -- are vividly described. If Mark Helprin had written The Winter's Tale for children (Helprin's novel also explores justice and magic, amidst a wintry New York skyline) it might have looked something like this. And at the heart of this novel you'll find classic Peter Abrahams writing: characters with emotional depth, an intricately plotted mystery, and heart-stopping suspense.