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Loot: How To Steal a Fortune

by Jude  Watson

Published by Scholastic Press, 2014
272 pages
ISBN: 978-0545468022

Ages 8-12

Twelve-year-old March is the son of international jewel thief Alfie McQuin. When Alfie falls from a rooftop during a heist, he lives long enough to give March a cryptic message and a moonstone, the jewel he was stealing. March knows how to make a quick getaway and he knows how to run a good con. But nothing prepares him for the discovery that he has a twin sister, Jules, until he encounters her while following his father’s mysterious clues. March and Jules try to figure out whether they can trust each other while joining forces with two other kids, Darius and Izzy. The foursome decides to complete the job they realize Alfie was working on: recover all seven moonstones that were part of a heist he was involved in years before—the heist that led to their family unraveling. Alfie believed the stones were cursed with a deadly prophecy that he was trying to outsmart to save his children—a prophecy that suggests March and Jules’ lives are in danger as their thirteenth birthday approaches. Meanwhile the stones’ original owner, Carlotta Grimstone, offers the kids $7 million for the gems’ return. The bad guys are drawn with broad strokes and the four kids are skilled beyond belief in Jude Watson’s novel, but it’s all in good fun. Reminiscent of Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Millions, the quick-paced, highly entertaining heist story also offers surprising depth in the midst of all the action as it movingly reflects on grief, loss, and what makes a family. These small, meaningful moments are wonderfully woven into the larger adventure penned by Watson, a pen name of author Judy Blundell.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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