cover image The Great Greene Heist

The Great Greene Heist

Varian Johnson. Scholastic/Levine, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-545-52552-7

Jackson Greene, 13, has exhibited “four months of model behavior,” an amazing feat considering that he naturally tends toward scheming, pranking, and dreaming (it runs in the family). After a kissing incident that’s been dubbed “Mid-Day PDA,” Jackson’s friend Gabriela de la Cruz isn’t speaking to him. Now Gaby’s friends have nominated her for school president, and conniving classmate Keith Sinclair is determined to win the election by any means necessary. Without a second thought, Jackson rounds up computer whiz Hashemi, Gaby’s newspaper editor brother Charlie, and several others in an attempt to revive his friendship (and maybe more?) with Gaby and save school clubs that could be cut if Keith is elected. Johnson (Saving Maddie) delivers an exciting Ocean’s Eleven–style caper for the middle-school crowd, with third-person narration jumping between the various plotters, who concoct an impressive seven schemes in less than three weeks. While in the big picture, the stakes are low, it’s easy to get swept up in the exploits of Johnson’s entertaining and diverse crew. Ages 10–14. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (June)